Jan 25, 2018 in Analysis

The App World by Howard Gardner and Katie Davis

In the book "The App Generation: How Today's Youth Navigate Identity, Intimacy, and Imagination in a Digital World," Howard Gardner and Katie Davis analyze the effect modern technologies have and the way they influence the young generation nowadays. The personal development is the main focus, whereas the shared experiences with an app mentality not only define, but also shape the perception of the surrounding world of young people. In this regard, apps are designed to be effective technological tools that help in solving different problems or satisfying certain demands.

This paper is aimed at analyzing the argument of Gardner and Davis In a thorough manner

According to Ahn, "The App Generation: How Today's Youth Navigate Identity, Intimacy, and Imagination in a Digital World" is a unique book that consists of solid data used by the authors in their research (314). In particular, the necessity to understand young people involves communication that has been performed in diverse forms, such as focus groups comprising of young people, interviews, a thorough analysis and evaluation of their writing and various creative works. Furthermore, a profound assessment can be complete when different sides and points of view are taken into consideration. Hence, adults are also involved in the research, namely therapists and educators of the young generation. 

In their book "The App Generation: How Today's Youth Navigate Identity, Intimacy, and Imagination in a Digital World," Gardner and Davis focus on giving an absolute and complete definition of the term generation. They argue that the emergence of modern technologies has influenced the overall concept and its perception. "Specifically, the emergence of digital technology in general—and of apps in particular—has produced a unique generation: wrought by technology, fundamentally different in consciousness from its predecessors, and, just possibly, ushering in a series of ever shorter, technologically defined generations" (Gardner & Davis 38).

In this regard, it is crucial to note that Gardner and Davis offer a certain framework within the scope of the developmental psychology. Various needs of young people, including social and learning ones, are being highlighted in this regard. The development of a young individual is influenced by a number of factors. Familial, social, cultural and educational spheres become the competing factors that shape one's personality. Each life stage forms a certain period that altogether present a gradual development of an individual. The author of the book emphasize that the role of modern technologies is of paramount significance in this respect (Ahn 315). However, according to Gardner and Davis, the identity, imagination and intimacy of a young person are essential in terms of the development and also form a basis for the latter (3).

Gardner and Davis state that after the introduction of diverse digital technologies along with various apps, the life of the young generations has changed to a considerable degree. Throughout the book, the authors argue whether the abovementioned changes are good or bad. It is essential to highlight that the researchers examine the character of shifts in terms of the world, namely whether it is app-enabling or app-dependent. Thus, the emergence of various technologies along with apps contribute towards a substantial number of opportunities that become available to anybody; meanwhile, it can also cause a hindrance in terms of the overall progress, whereas people tend to become dependent on certain things and instruments. Moreover, the ability to make choices, set goals and perform becomes limited to a considerable degree (Brunck 1). In their book, Gardner and Davis highlight several characteristics of young people in terms of the developmental framework, namely the ability of young individuals to form a sense of self, the interpersonal relationships as well as the ability to imagine (Gardner & Davis). The abovementioned aspects are not only highlighted, but also analyzed by the authors of the book.

In this regard, it becomes evident that young people's reliance on technologies is becoming a dependence

Indeed, it becomes helpful to a considerable degree in terms of various situations that emerge in the modern world. However, it leads to young people not being able to solve certain issues on their own without the help of apps. Modern technologies provide numerous opportunities and enhance the developmental process, but they also make people helpless in certain ways. Furthermore, the identification of young people can be harmed to a considerable degree.

Ahn (315) illustrates the distinct influence of social media in terms of the formation of young people's identity. According to the authors of the book, such identification leads to a considerably packaged sense of self that is "multifaceted, highly personalized, outward-facing, and constrained by the programming decisions of the app designer" (Gardner & Davis 60). During this stage, the representatives of the young generation tend to experiment with their identities. In terms of the developmental psychology, it is completely normal for a young individual to look for his or her place in the world as well as identification by conducting such experiments. However, it may result in them forgetting about the core essence of the experiment, namely developing a sense of self. Young people can pretend to be other, distinct or even better versions of themselves. It is helpful when one is trying to adjust his or her life accordingly in order to make those improvements real. Nonetheless, some people focus on developing a certain image which has nothing in common with the real life. Furthermore, modern people tend to compare themselves and their lives in various social media platforms with those of others. It has recently become a severe issue that results in awful consequences. Young people represent the most vulnerable group in this regard. Therefore, they should be reminded not to perceive all the information they find in the Internet to be undeniably true, since it can be false in many cases.

Another critical point highlighted by Gardner and Davis is the seeming availability and connection that exist between people. Indeed, modern technologies allow people to connect via different means and communicate at any time they want. However, this feature not only contributes towards the improvement of communication, but also worsening of relationships between people. The reason for this is that they no longer have the necessity to develop and work on relationships. Young people have hundreds of friends in various social media platforms, but this number amounts to only several persons in their real life. The abovementioned availability has affected the manner, in which modern people develop close relationships. Young people tend to avoid taking risks or build any intimate ties. This leads to the increased level of isolation of human beings (Ahn 315).

According to Brunck, communicating with the help of technologies is less risky and vulnerable, but creating and maintaining relationships should involve certain levels of vulnerability (3). Online contacts allow one to feel a sense of belonging, but at the same time they contribute towards one's isolation. Furthermore, the evident warmth of the relationships is absent in the virtual communication.

In terms of the privacy issue, the research conducted by the authors of the book shows an unexpected picture

Young people tend to take their privacy seriously to a substantial degree, unlike some of the adults do. Thus, they limit access to their personal data and share the information only with those they want to. However, it also contributes towards certain isolation. On the other hand, the representatives of the young generations may not want to share their personal information, thoughts and photos with their parents or older relatives who have their profile in social media platforms, as well.  

The evolution of the human society is approached in different manners in the books by Gardner and Davis as well as in the one written by Steven Pinker. In "The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined," the human history is thoroughly analyzed. Numerous cases of deaths, tortures and assassinations are described in order to present a complete picture of the gradual human evolution. Meanwhile, as the millennium turned, a number of improvements that enhance the human life have been introduced. in this regard, modern technologies also play a vital role. Gardner and Davis present a number of advantages and disadvantages that young people are faced with when using these technologies. The overall lifestyle has been shaped to a considerable degree. However, it is essential to balance and control the presence of digital technologies in young people's life in order for them to be more efficient, able to solve various issues without the help of different apps. Indeed, the modern life has become more convenient due to the presence of these technologies, but a number of issues that hinder the overall developmental process have appeared. In order to deal with them, there is a necessity to learn how to use the new technologies in the everyday life without getting accustomed and heavily relying on them accordingly. Their mission is enhancing the human's life, not making people dependable and limited in their freedom.


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