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Tech Tools Fostering "Mini Generation Gaps"

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the you-way-twitter-i-say-facebook dept.

Education 322

Hugh Pickens writes "The NY Times has an interesting report on the iGeneration, born in the '90s and this decade, comparing them to the Net Generation, born in the 1980s. The Net Generation spend two hours a day talking on the phone and still use e-mail frequently while the iGeneration — conceivably their younger siblings — spends considerably more time texting than talking on the phone, pays less attention to television than the older group, and tends to communicate more over instant-messenger networks. 'People two, three or four years apart are having completely different experiences with technology,' says Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project. 'College students scratch their heads at what their high school siblings are doing, and they scratch their heads at their younger siblings. It has sped up generational differences.' Dr. Larry Rosen, a professor of psychology at California State University, says that the iGeneration, unlike their older peers, expect an instant response from everyone they communicate with, and don't have the patience for anything less. 'They'll want their teachers and professors to respond to them immediately, and they will expect instantaneous access to everyone, because after all, that is the experience they have growing up,' says Rosen." Read below for another intra-generational wrinkle.
Another intra-generational gap is the iGeneration comfort in multi-tasking. Studies show that 16- to 18-year-olds perform seven tasks, on average, in their free time — like texting on the phone, sending instant messages, and checking Facebook while sitting in front of the television; while people in their early 20s can handle only six, and those in their 30s about five and a half. "That versatility is great when they're killing time, but will a younger generation be as focused at school and work as their forebears?" writes Brad Smith. "I worry that young people won't be able to summon the capacity to focus and concentrate when they need to," says Vicky Rideout, a vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation.

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And Now, a Joke (FROSTY PISS!) (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30716168)

What's the difference between black pussy and a bowling ball? If you really HAD TO, you could eat the bowling ball.

NIGGERS

Instantly communcation indeed (-1, Troll)

arndawg (1468629) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716210)

FIRST instant POST!

Re:Instantly communcation indeed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30716244)

FAIL

Re:Instantly communcation indeed (2, Funny)

Mikkeles (698461) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716538)

'They'll want their teachers and professors to respond to them immediately, and they will expect instantaneous access to everyone, because after all, that is the experience they have growing up,' says Rosen.

Well, aren't we special!

Bullshit level: High - Storm likely. (4, Insightful)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716214)

I guess I'm Net generation. Except that doesn't sound right for anyone I know of my age group.
Furthermore, I've always adopted the best tools for the job, and ignored blatant fads such as twitter.

As for multi-tasking; Again, not a generation issue, as task switching just interrupts. Texting and facebook updating is a leisure activity, and doesn't mix with work at all.

Re:Bullshit level: High - Storm likely. (4, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716308)

Furthermore, I've always adopted the best tools for the job, and ignored blatant fads such as twitter.

Exactly. I was born in the early 1970s and I've used the Net and electronic communications in general since the early-to-mid 1980s. I use text messages. I used to pay much more attention to the TV than I do now.

These distinctions, I think, are artificial at best, and at worst, stereotyping.

Re:Bullshit level: High - Storm likely. (5, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716548)

...You are on Slashdot. You are not the norm. The fact you are even on this site shows that you are more inclined to use a computer than other people your age.

As for TV, the quality of programming has gone downhill, even news shows are nothing more than glorified tabloids. Networks that used to have interesting programming has shifted to more crap. Discovery is more about blowing stuff up than explaining science, the History channel seems to be nothing more than WWII and explosions.

Re:Bullshit level: High - Storm likely. (5, Funny)

fast turtle (1118037) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716416)

Get Off My Lawn Kids

Having been classified as ADHD in the early 70's it's so nice to finally get my revenge now that everyone has been infected with the damn Attention Deficit Syndrome. Those who don't learn to focus and develop short term memory are bound to fail and I can sincerely state "Welcome to my World" - sukkers.

Re:Bullshit level: High - Storm likely. (3, Insightful)

c_forq (924234) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716426)

I've always adopted the best tools for the job, and ignored blatant fads such as twitter

What? Sometimes twitter is the best tool for the job. I was born in the mid-80's, and have found twitter to be a great tool for meeting friends at the pub. It is more effective than a facebook update or mass text.

Re:Bullshit level: High - Storm likely. (4, Insightful)

RobertM1968 (951074) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716462)

Agreed... my own experience is this article is nonsense and not indicative of such as a whole.

I've been using computers since 1979 (at the schools I went to), started programming in BASIC back then, worked my way up. I'd been using BBS's since the first computer I owned - which was an IBM PC Portable (an IBM XT in a suitcase sized case with amber screen). I was in the first bunch of people to actually use the Internet (I used OS/2 almost exclusively, and we had actual Internet access long before Windows - while Windows users were suckered... I mean stuck with AOL or NetCom). Nowadays, besides the "Net Generation" stuff, I regularly text, IM, use Facebook, read blogs, etc - along with all of the other "iGeneration" stuff. And accessing all my stuff from my phone (TMo G1) when I am not in front of the computer... email, visual voicemail, IM, chat, text messaging, web, Facebook, etc.

So, if this "old dog can learn new tricks" and my friends have as well... I doubt there is any real divide as indicated by the article. But I could be wrong... most of my friends are very tech savvy - but even so, I doubt the "divide" is anything to speak of. Even my mom text messages and such.

Re:Bullshit level: High - Storm likely. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30716524)

Texting and facebook updating is a leisure activity, and doesn't mix with work at all.

Work? They do that while driving on your side of the road.

Re:Bullshit level: High - Storm likely. (5, Interesting)

icebike (68054) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716554)

I guess I'm Net generation. Except that doesn't sound right for anyone I know of my age group.
Furthermore, I've always adopted the best tools for the job, and ignored blatant fads such as twitter.

For work issues, I don't even answer email immediately, because I have no intention of serving as a brain trust for people who will not think. I let them age. The more I get from a single source the more I let them age.

For recreational use, I still prefer an email for anything other than the "What time will you arrive" question via text.

Thinking carefully, I can not come up with a single person I care to follow on twitter, but it is nice for breaking news issues if you are a news junkie.

I think we are breeding the first generation of the BORG. People who can't think and can't act without first checking in with the collective.

Re:Bullshit level: High - Storm likely. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30716718)

mod parent up. seriously, since when has the necessity of ones actions depended on someone else's opinion?

Re:Bullshit level: High - Storm likely. (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716818)

I don't even answer email immediately, because I have no intention of serving as a brain trust for people who will not think.

I don't know what your job is, but exactly what kind of emails are you getting that leads you to this attitude? Don't you get any other kind of email at work? The bulk of the work email that I get is about setting up meetings, asking for feedback on projects, information about new policies and procedures. I can't think of the last time I got an email as a "substitute for thinking," whatever that means.

Re:Bullshit level: High - Storm likely. (5, Interesting)

RDW (41497) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716734)

'Texting and facebook updating is a leisure activity, and doesn't mix with work at all.'

I wonder how many of the other supposed differences are really down to the younger generation being, well, younger? A text message is probably cheaper than a voice call, which is handy if you're on a limited budget with a PAYG phone. A school or college age kid may have a wider social network than an older person in a full-time job, so online networking tools could be more useful. There be may less tendency to veg out in front of passive TV entertainment like an exhausted wage slave if you're out enjoying yourself all the time. Multitasking could be less difficult for a younger brain, etc. Of course, these are just the senile ramblings of an ageing mind, so take them with a pinch of salt. And get off my lawn.

Re:Bullshit level: High - Storm likely. (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716742)

Exactly what I thought: BULLSHIT of the highest grade.

I was born in ’78, and I communicate preferably with an IM client, via phone or by meeting someone. Just like friends of mine who are 10 years younger, and sometimes 10 years older.
And I already did this in ’96 right when ICQ came out, with many young people of my age. A time when that pseudo-article suggests ICQ users were just about to be born.

Yeah right.
You know what? I’m from ’78, and I use EPIC FAIL, to describe this farticle.

I’m the norm, not the exception. And I got all of Facebook to prove it.
Maybe the author just missed time by some decades, is unable to keep up with the times, yet still assumes he can speak for us all.

Let me get out my violin... (5, Funny)

Pluvius (734915) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716220)

They'll want their teachers and professors to respond to them immediately, and they will expect instantaneous access to everyone

And they're going to be quickly disappointed.

Rob

Re:Let me get out my violin... (1)

xmundt (415364) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716342)

Greetings and Salutations...
          Yea...the message on my cell phone says "I am busy solving someone ELSE's problem right now...leave info and I will solve YOURs as soon as I can". Folks tend to forget that I carry the cellphone for MY convenience, not the world's. Since nobody is going to die if i do not answer for a bit, I see no particular urgency in dropping the task I am doing to answer a call.
          Now...I find that the person who I am focusing my attention on loves this. Everyone else hates it. As a wise person said one time "make one person happy, make another person mad...".
          Regards
          Dave Mundt

Re:Let me get out my violin... (1)

boaworm (180781) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716400)

Exactly, sounds like this generation is going to have a lot of fun when they start entering the real world. Applying for a job and giving up after 10 minutes, or even worse resending the application like that :-)

When I grew up *cough*...

Nostalgia simply isn't what it used to be!

Re:Let me get out my violin... (4, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716584)

A failure to out grow the "Are We There Yet" syndrome.

Re:Let me get out my violin... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30716678)

They'll want their teachers and professors to respond to them immediately, and they will expect instantaneous access to everyone

And they're going to be quickly disappointed.

Rob

Dammit, we are tired of waiting for quick disappointment! We demand INSTANT disappointment!

Not even sure this is true (4, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716682)

The article makes a couple of leaps and doesn't seem to understand tech.

First off, the number of tasks in front of the tv. Is this a generation difference OR an age difference? They seem to claim that young people do more tasks because they are exposed to more modern technology at a younger age. HOWEVER this would ONLY be valid if they KEEP doing this as they get older. Else the conclusion must be that as you get older, you do fewer things at the same time.

And then they claim that instant messaging results in an instant reply. But SMS is NOT instant, voice is. So, if they want an instant reply, why do they send an SMS?

I think the author of the article tries to hard to make connections.

Re:Let me get out my violin... (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716794)

They'll want their teachers and professors to respond to them immediately, and they will expect instantaneous access to everyone

And they're going to be quickly disappointed.

Rob

You got that right. The communications technology I pay for is for my benefit, and I'll respond if and when I feel I need to. It's called "prioritization", and only small children think so highly of themselves as to always expect instant gratification. Adults learn very quickly that they're not automatically at the top of everyone else's list.

Re:Let me get out my violin... (5, Insightful)

sohp (22984) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716888)

That's OK, they'll get their comeuppance when they go into the workforce and find management also expects instantaneous access to them -- 24/7/365.

Concentration used to be good. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30716224)

"I worry that young people won't be able to summon the capacity to focus and concentrate when they need to," says Vicky Rideout, a vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation.

I once read a story about Einstein. He was walking and thinking about one of his problems and didn't even notice a minor earthquake while he was walking.

Having the ability to concentrate at one time was considered to be an excellent character trait. Now, being able to "multitask" is considered to be a valuable trait. And we all know what the quality of work is of one who flits their attention between multiple activities - crap.

One _chooses_ to stagnate, in large part (3, Insightful)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716240)

I'm from the beginning of the 80s...and not only that, I'm from a country that was under Soviet influence. Meaning "radio, telephone and TV" for a few decades; few generations knew nothing else. Till the first half of 90s I knew nothing else.

And yet, when reading TFS, I have a strong impression its description of people born in the 90s and 00s fits nicely to me. I guess in large part because I fully realize "our times were better" is only BS meant to make oneself feel better about youth that has passed or is passing away. And it causes harm by unreasonably valuing the past above present, which is almost universally better. You only have to embrace it (well, I do pick what I want; but the time of introduction doesn't play big role)

Re:One _chooses_ to stagnate, in large part (3, Informative)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716310)

Some people keep learning and changing as they get older. The vast majority do not... they stick with what they learned when they were kids, habits and so on, and that's that. You're an aberration ;)

Re:One _chooses_ to stagnate, in large part (3, Insightful)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716352)

Same here. Born in the USSR in mid-80s, and I've first seen a PC (which was also the first programmable computer to me) in 1995. Cellphones came a lot later, too - I've only got a personal one in 2000. Internet? Don't recall now, but it was late 90s, and even then it was dial-up, payed per-minute, with rather insane prices, which effectively rules out many things (e.g. IM).

And yet, I don't watch TV, I prefer SMS to voice calls (both sending and receiving), and I use IM more often than email.

Then again, my motivation is different than the one claimed in TFA ("expecting immediate response"); for SMS, for example, it's quite the opposite - it doesn't require the person receiving them to pay immediate attention, but lets them respond at leisure. I appreciate when people are considerate of my time like that, and try to be considerate of theirs. And with IM, it's just more convenient, UI-wise, for short messages on no particular topic, compared to email, but also doesn't require immediate reply (as evidenced by the fact that any decent IM network these days lets one send messages to offline users; hey, even MSN/Live learned that trick!).

I also agree with your reasoning as to why you prefer all those things in general. Progress is good; why wouldn't I embrace it?

Instant response? I don't think so. (5, Insightful)

hackwrench (573697) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716246)

Dr. Larry Rosen, a professor of psychology at California State University, says that the iGeneration, unlike their older peers, expect an instant response from everyone they communicate with, and don't have the patience for anything less.

I thought that one of the benefits of texting was that you don't have to have a response immediately, or even read it immediately.

Re:Instant response? I don't think so. (2, Funny)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716448)

Indeed. What do they think phone calls are? Speak into the phone and get a reply 5 minutes later?

Voice mail (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716630)

What do they think phone calls are? Speak into the phone and get a reply 5 minutes later?

You've accurately characterized the voice mail practice of a lot of the people I communicate with.

Patience (4, Insightful)

Kell Bengal (711123) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716248)

Which all sounds like a polite way of saying that kids these days have been spoiled. Instant gratification, be it through next-day felivery net-based purchases, simplistic video games or instantly downloaded media, means they have no patience.

Younger people scratch their heads in amazement at the things people of my generation and older have done that required supreme patience, whether learning a complex skill or finely crafting a model. This comes right on the heels of lacking discipline. If you can't see the value or take the time to perfect anything, how will you ever get good at anything except the trivial?

Oh, and get off my lawn.

Re:Patience (1)

Kell Bengal (711123) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716270)

Oop, spotted a typo. Must be that stitch in my side acting up and distracting my careful editing. Don't worry about it too much - I'll go have a cup of tea and a lie down.

Re:Patience (2, Insightful)

Jean-Luc Picard (1525351) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716312)

Cool broad assumption and generalizations, bro

Re:Patience (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716344)

simplistic video games or instantly downloaded media,

Yeah, because today's video games are so simplistic and lacking in complexity compared to yesterday's intellectually stimulating classics such as Pong, Space In vaders and Pac Man.

Re:Patience (2, Funny)

greg1104 (461138) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716470)

Playing Pac-Man well requires intense concentration, memory [nrchapman.com] , and plain old fashioned stamina. If you don't find that intellectually stimulating, you have failed to understand the game.

Re:Patience (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716572)

Playing Pac-Man well requires intense concentration, memory [nrchapman.com], and plain old fashioned stamina. If you don't find that intellectually stimulating, you have failed to understand the game.

If you think that's what "intellectually stimulating" means, then you have failed to understand the meaning of common phrases. And just because it requires concentration and stamina, doesn't stop it from being simplistic - many simplistic tasks require these things, such as working on an assembly line.

Anyway, modern games require just as much concentration and stamina, yet tend to be much more complex.

Re:Patience (1)

barv (1382797) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716394)

Pizza delivery is better than sliced bread. You think WOW is "simplistic"? Copyright laws (blech) require some skill and patience to circumvent.

Horse was better than foot, car better than horse. Do I lack self discipline because I use a car? Because I would rather learn the skill of flying the model aeroplane before spending hours learning the skill of construction?

Scientists wouldn't know a problem if it bit them.

Re:Patience (2, Insightful)

lgw (121541) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716460)

Wait, you don't think WoW is simplistic? I thought everyone was mocking WoW these days ...

And, yes, not being willing to learn the skill of building the model airplane before having fun with it pretty much means "lack of self-discipline", except that's sort of a bad example because there's no actual need to build it yourself these days.

Re:Patience (2, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716644)

You think WOW is "simplistic"?

Play an old text-based RPG sometime and you'll appreciate being able to just click on something to interact with your environment.

Copyright laws (blech) require some skill and patience to circumvent.

They require the skill and patience of one person to break whatever copy protection exists. After that, everyone else can click an HTTP link to a .torrent file.

Horse was better than foot, car better than horse. Do I lack self discipline because I use a car?

Assuming you are able-bodied, you certainly would lack discipline if you used your car to travel 200 feet. This directly compares to people who get all impatient and bent out of shape over not instantly receiving an item or a piece of information that's not really urgent.

Scientists wouldn't know a problem if it bit them.

The article read more like an editorial to me, like someone's opinion. It did not seem to be a scientific work. If it was supposed to be scientific, they omitted a great deal of data and mentioned nothing of experiments or peer review.

I am not saying you are a particular example of it, but I am amazed at the black-and-white view people are revealing here. The observation that patience and self-discipline are virtues is not a rejection of technology. Keep your car because it is indeed better than a horse or your feet, but recognize that discipline is a good thing whether or not you have to walk 20 miles. Likewise, it's possible to have high technology and instant-nearly-everything without getting upset about having to occasionally wait for something.

What this boils down to is that many people are lazy and immature. Because of that, they won't cultivate a strong character or patient endurance unless the situations of their lives force them to do so. If they are deprived of anything, it's the ability to willingly value such things for their own sake and not just for immediately pragmatic reasons. It makes them little more than products of their environment with little self-determination. Some of us recognize that a human being can be quite a bit more than this and lament the way this realization is underappreciated.

Re:Patience (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30716836)

The researcher is a psychology professor - hardly what one would call a scientist.

And the list of things, and gradual improvements, you state are 100% grounded in science.

Some Slashdot commentators wouldn't know a fact if it bit them.

Re:Patience (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716412)

Maybe or maybe it is one more case where the newer generation expects older generations to be proficient at newer technologies. Today, we can communicate instantly with one another and the youngest generation has embraced the technology that allows this degree of communication and expects older generations/peers to be able to catch up to them to some degree. SO it may not be so much a character flaw in the newest generation as it is a failure of the older generations to adapt to and utilize new technology along with their younger peers.

Re:Patience (2, Insightful)

instagib (879544) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716710)

No patience and no discipline - although I agree with you, this is the same thing our parents remarked about us, and their parents about them. But here's another issue: the cheapness, speed and simplicity of obtaining a prefabricated meal, toy, and most other objects means that learning to DIY seems superfluous. Therefore, the deep gratification of being able to consume or use something you created yourself - in a physical sense - has been lost. IMO these are the first years of human society shifting the search for personal gratification into the "virtual reality" - an old and abused expression, but somehow appropriate. Nerds already did find it there - they are creative in it. But the rest of people - how will it be?

Re:Patience (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716712)

My mom refused to let me watch Sesame Street when I was a kid because she swore the constant changing from topic to topic gave kids ADD (although they didn't call it ADD in those days). With constantly changing stimulus everywhere, there is no need for kids these days to learn how to focus. I know of no studies addressing the topic, but I do know a lot of college students I talk to these days need music or noise going on or they can't focus on studying.

In any case, more important than focusing I think is the ability to keep trying even when life hits you in the head. When you realize your formula is wrong and you need to start from scratch, or when you realize math is hard but you keep working to learn it anyway; these things can really impair your development if you don't handle them correctly. Everyone goes through difficult experiences like these, and it is essential to keep on going.

Re:Patience (1)

Mr680x0 (1116783) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716778)

Way to make a huge generalization. Sure, many kids act like that, but it doesn't mean all of them do. Many things I choose to do require quite a bit of patience. You're basing your assumptions off of the lowest common denominator, everything looks bad when you do that.

Re:Patience (2, Funny)

sootman (158191) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716852)

I'll get off your lawn when my brother gets off mine.

Re:Patience (1)

sohp (22984) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716864)

Spoiled and demanding instant gratification they may be, but the management at their corporate overlords will just LOVE them, especially if they go into IT. No more of the grousing our generation does about being on 15-minute response call 24/7/365! Their managers will exploit this to make them feel guilty about taking more than 5 minutes to get to fixing something.

No Need to (2, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716260)

I worry that young people won't be able to summon the capacity to focus and concentrate when they need to

Doesn't -every- older generation say that? First it was that comic books were killing novels, next it was MTV killing attention spans, now it is multitasking.

The thing is, most young people have no real need to focus and concentrate. With the increased importance placed on education, both high schools and colleges are passing more students because you need a degree to be successful. Just think, a hundred years ago a high school education was all most people needed and people could still be successful without it. Today most people need at least some college or vocational training to do almost anything.

With jobs, it is collective blame, no one person takes the fall usually a small team will take it. There are few occasions where young people really need to focus.

Re:No Need to (1)

level_headed_midwest (888889) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716354)

If you think there are few occasions where young people really need to focus, you are forgetting one huge important one: driving. Driving requires sustained focus not only for your own sake but for others' as well. A lot of people are hurt or killed because they are distracted or inattentive while driving. Not surprisingly, motor vehicle crashes are one of the biggest causes of mortality of young adults.

Changing Expectations (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30716262)

I suspect their expectations will change once they start communicating about things that can't be answered with OMG LOL.

Regards,
Jason

It was better in the old days... (4, Insightful)

Baron_Yam (643147) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716264)

When I was a child, there was no public Internet. In my late teens we had dial-up web sites that would pass messages back and forth with each other as far as a local call would go.

I don't miss those days - I think information should be available more or less instantly 24/7 if possible.

However, the current constant phone texting, Facebook, etc crap is just that, crap. It's electronic substitution for true socializing, and I can't help but feel that when a bunch of people stand around unable to interact with the people in their immediate vicinity because they're texting with someone who couldn't be bothered to actually show up... well, I think there's something wrong with that.

Sometimes the younger generations ARE wrong. I think the problem is these technologies are fad technologies and the people making them popular haven't outgrown them yet.

Call me if the text-aholics of today are still rabidly texting when they're 30.

Re:It was better in the old days... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30716318)

RING RING, My mother is 54 and texting all day,

I see no reason why the children of today would give up texting in favor of?? ... Phone calls? What? Just because they get older? Strange indeed...

Re:It was better in the old days... (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716520)

RING RING, My mother is 54 and texting all day

Some people just have those kind of personalities. I once dated a girl who put on makeup in the mirror, changed radio station, and changed lanes all at the same time while driving. She wrecked her car every 2 years on average. A dead dick can't be a happy dick, so I bailed.

Re:It was better in the old days... (1)

pengin9 (1595865) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716546)

I agree phone calls are often less informative than a good email or text. As phone calls often are intrusive and interrupt a person train of thought to discuss your topic, and an email or text can be a thought out response. If I don't have the time to call a person or create a conference of course I send out a email which has all the appropriate people CCed. I don't think kids texting is any different than the memo sending of the last generations other than it's slightly faster. and as far as kids not socializing, I would blame the raised cost of living. Video games are cheap and take up lots of time, but going to the malt shop to hang out costs $5-$10. If people have so many issues with kids not going out side to socialize they should throw some money into outdoor activies... but frankly thanks to teamspeak I think kids can socialize very well on line without ever meeting a person face to face. not to mention the options to meet people from other cites, states, or countries.

Re:It was better in the old days... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30716418)

Let "true socializing" mean socializing with uninteresting people in your local neighborhood and "false socializing" mean socializing within boundaryless global pools of people who share your interests.

My brother has met all kinds of people to go off-roading with in his larger than local sphere. That kind of possibility simply wasn't there before instant messaging made everyone seem closer to their shared interests. I'm certainly no authority on socializing, but I don't believe that there's any social sense of being a human being that's lost when you socialize over a text medium vs in person. If anything, it allows us to socialize with more people than ever before.

Only thing that's not great about it is that we are likely to be more exposed to social networks we do not agree with, which may cause larger conflicts vs smaller isolated instances of ostracization. But that's inherent in the risks of globalization as a whole.

Re:It was better in the old days... (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716560)

In my late teens we had dial-up web sites that would pass messages back and forth with each other as far as a local call would go.

You called them "web sites?" Really? We had these things called BBS's, which did something very similar to what you describe -- but you had actual web sites! Wow!

Re:It was better in the old days... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30716580)

Interesting that you use Facebook as an example. Bebo used to be the only game in town until Facebook came along. There is quite a distinct difference in users.

Re:It was better in the old days... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30716638)

"It's electronic substitution for true socializing,"

people have been saying that since i was 12 with my first win95comp(probably in ~98)

I met a girl over the internet, from germany, who came to stay with me. Electronic Socialization = Socializing. Really you old people are so diluted.

this is coming from someone who rarely text and hasn't been logged into myspace(never got into other sites) for ~4 years now.

But I sure as hell will disagree about your bullshit socializing bs

Re:It was better in the old days... (1)

mlts (1038732) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716842)

I'd say it is a change that is not going away post 30. I've seen people start texting when it came available and still do today, because it has become easier than a voice call in a number of situations, and that text messages almost always get through. Plus, it beats voice mail especially for a very short note such as "we arrived at the pub."

The main technology that was replaced by texting is the pager. A lot of pagers will miss the signal being set out by the broadcast station, especially in a server room. So one used to work in a data center, come out, then get your manager telling you about angry people in other departments who say they have been paging you for hours repeatedly because of something. Since most pagers were one-way, the paging service could only send out a single paging notification. Now, as soon as one steps out of the data center, a text message gets received. This way one can reply "call the helldesk because IT is not allowed to work on items without a trouble ticket. If you don't like that, please have your department manager call IT's so the proper time is credited. [1]" Of course, some two-way pagers would have services which would resend until the pager acknowledged that it got the page, but those were few and far between.

Before SMS, it also took some effort to send something more than just a phone number to a pager. You either had to have a terminal or two-way pager, or in some cases, call the paging service's operator and dictate a text.

Eventually cellphones got some sort of paging feature where you could leave a message, or hit "5" on the voice mail and leave a text page. This was good because the phone, being a two way device, would eventually pick up the notification.

Compared to the catch-as-catch-can system of one way pagers, and even two way pagers which required spending time calling voice mail, SMS is a lot nicer. It doesn't matter what network someone is on for cellphone service, you can reach them. And if more details are needed, one can just fire up a voice call. You also don't need to be paying for a paging service on top of your cellphone service (and paging services got expensive, easily $100-$200 a month if you have a two way pager that allowed you to reply.) Finally, with device convergence, one only needs a single device, perhaps two (home/work phones) on the belt. Gone are the days of a sysadmin having to have a Batman-esque belt with a pager, a PDA, and a cellphone at all times at work, and when on call.

Of course, MMS gives some advantages. If you don't have someone's E-mail, you can send them a copy of the Excel document they have been wanting to their phone.

[1]: In medium to large businesses, having everything documented on trouble tickets means the difference between getting additional admins to handle tasks come the next FY, versus losing headcount because of the perception that IT is not doing anything. If you don't have it documented on a trouble ticket, it didn't happen.

Too true (5, Insightful)

Icarium (1109647) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716276)

I'm in my early thirties and I avoid multitasking like the plague. My younger colleagues and siblings seem to have no problems with doing several things at once - but the flip side is they end up doing many things twice simply because they sacrifice focus for versatility. They're so busy trying to do too many things at once that they rarely get anything done properly.

As for being always in contact, I couldn't care less. I'll usually answer as soon as possible, but I have no qualms when it comes to ignoring calls or messages if I'm busy with something, or simply don't feel like talking to someone. I don't expect people to be available on my schedule and see no reason why I am obligated to be always available when it suits them.

Re:Too true (1)

indiechild (541156) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716806)

Multitasking for the most part is a myth. It's a rare person who can do several discrete working tasks at the same time and actually be good at it.

This is especially evident when I sit in someone else's car as a passenger. The number of people who can't talk and drive a car at the same time (and often they don't realise it) astounds me.

Re:Too true (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30716856)

self proclaimed "good" multi-taskers tend to think busy==productive.
self proclaimed "bad" multi-taskers tend to think busy!=productive.

Constant communication when you are younger tends to be a combination of the search for identity and lack of nuance. As you get more mature and have your identity as well as a mature relationship with someone (like a spouse), communication appears to be less, but it is just more targeted and subtle (Note: it is important that I try to link apparent reduced communication with maturity and not age).

Re:Too true (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716866)

I'm in my early thirties and I avoid multitasking like the plague.

I'm in my late forties and I feel the same way. Well, I'm also a software developer and multitasking doesn't really help much there ... a little concentration helps get the job done. An old girlfriend once called me "completion oriented", and I would drive her nuts because I would rather finish something right rather than do it halfway and skip to the next thing, and then try to come back to the first thing having forgotten what the hell I was trying to do. I've also found that the majority of multitaskers are nowhere near as good at it as they think they are. Fact is, the human brain has certain limitations, and no amount of shifting mental gears can overcome that, and unless you're performing trivial tasks multitasking doesn't really buy you anything.

I thought multi-tasking didn't really work (2, Interesting)

zz5555 (998945) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716284)

Seems to me there was a study recently that showed that people were pretty bad at multi-tasking, due to the time lost in context switching. This would seem to indicate that the "iGeneration" would, in general, be poorer workers than their older brethren. Or have the new kids gotten better at the context switching somehow? (Maybe added cores to their brains? :)

Re:I thought multi-tasking didn't really work (1)

mrsmiggs (1013037) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716662)

Perhaps it's an experience thing, rather than any sort of trend. I guess I count as part of the so called 'net generation' and I used to multi-task a lot; instant messaging, blogging, playing games, studying etc all at the same time. Around the time I was at university my behaviour changed, I think mainly because I didn't want to screw up my degree. To me some of the observations made in the original article sound like the naivety of youth rather than anything actually heavy weight. They demand instant responses because they are impatient and immature, they use instant messaging because they want instant responses.

It would be interesting to see what previous studies on information behaviour has found, I'm pretty sure I read studies with similar results but they were focused on the 'Net generation'.

Re:I thought multi-tasking didn't really work (1)

Icarium (1109647) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716886)

Multitasking, in and of itself is not the problem. It's an inability to separate the professional from the personal and to prioritise activities that causes many frustrations.

Re:I thought multi-tasking didn't really work (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716820)

This is anecdotal evidence, but I am certain multi-tasking is something that can be improved with practice.

Part of it is just technique, like leaving all your necessary windows open on different virtual desktops for quick switching, and some of it is keeping your mind awake.

I used to work for a consulting firm where I was doing work for three different clients at the same time. At first it was hard mentally, but pretty soon I got really fast at it. In fact, I felt like multi-tasking was more productive because in the down-time for one project, I had another project I could work on, so there was no down-time.

From a mental perspective, it felt a lot like switching languages. Some people initially have a lot of trouble in an room where people are speaking Spanish and English mixed, for example, even if they speak both languages; but if they spend much time in such rooms, they will quickly get the hang of it. In that case it's mostly a matter of turning on the switch in your mind that reminds you to switch to Spanish mode when you hear Spanish or English mode when you hear English.

The lack of attention span is certainly true! (2, Interesting)

level_headed_midwest (888889) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716288)

The instant-gratification bit in the article regarding messages is certainly true, but it goes much further than that. Many of these people born in the 1990s feel that the entire world should instantly respond to them and they get extremely impatient when it doesn't. They also tend to have the attention span of a gnat. I see a lot of people in this age range at work and I swear that most of them can't sit still for more than 30 seconds before the phone comes out and they're texting away. Some will even just start texting right in the middle of a conversation.

There are really two big problems with their behavior. One is that they are extremely impatient and rush through everything, acting like huge spoiled brats in the process ("what do you mean I have to wait two days for this package to get here! I want it nooooooooooowwwwwwwwww!!!!"). The second is that their tiny attention spans and easy distractability are recipes for disaster if they are ever in a potentially hazardous situation that requires their full attention, such as driving or operating equipment or machinery. I think that their parents had an "epic fail" in allowing them to grow up in this manner.

Re:The lack of attention span is certainly true! (5, Insightful)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716396)

Many of these people born in the 1990s feel that the entire world should instantly respond to them and they get extremely impatient when it doesn't.

Sounds like how teenagers have always been.

Re:The lack of attention span is certainly true! (1)

level_headed_midwest (888889) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716540)

That's true and maybe being on the other side of that period of time has given me a little bit of a different perspective. But, and this is a big BUT, I can tell you that several things that some of the teenagers do today would have been completely unacceptable in the past. I don't know how old you are, but if we'd try to do something like text message during class, the cell phone would have been confiscated and we'd have gotten in a lot of trouble (that's what happened when people passed notes or tried to listen to Walkmans in class.) Today it's business as usual if somebody texts in class.

Re:The lack of attention span is certainly true! (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716660)

I don't know how old you are, but if we'd try to do something like text message during class, the cell phone would have been confiscated and we'd have gotten in a lot of trouble

I'm in my mid thirties. In the situation you describe, it depended on the teacher and the school. We didn't have mobile phones - but we tended to be quite mischievous, pulling pranks and whatnot. Sometimes we got in a lot of trouble, sometimes not. Sometimes we just broke the teacher's brain.

Re:The lack of attention span is certainly true! (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716880)

Many of these people born in the 1990s feel that the entire world should instantly respond to them and they get extremely impatient when it doesn't.

Sounds like how teenagers have always been.

Yes, but when that behavior holds over into adulthood you have a problem (or rather, people are going to have a big problem with you.)

Or is this simply young people, of every generatio (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716876)

I think this might not be so much a generation difference as an age difference. As you get older, you mellow out. The urgency of your teen years seems silly in retrospect and you realize that not everything has to happen now and that you won't just die if xxx.

As you get a bit older, and see more then one younger generation, you will realize this. Or if you remember yourself a bit better.

About the only problem happens if a person doesn't grow up. If someone stays a teen to long, then they run into problem in the work place where adult behavior is expected. But teens being teens is not a problem.

If you watch young kids, they can jump from one topic to another faster then any adult can follow, but they are in fact doing 1 thing, talking to you. They just aren't very good yet at moderating their enthusiasms. A kid that plays with a dozen toys is doing 1 task: playing. A kid that talks about a dozen subjects, is doing 1 task: talking.

You can see children concentrate often enough, on say drawing with an intensity that is almost scary. You can call them and they don't ignore you because no child ignores a call for candy, they just are lost in their own universe, lost one doing on task really focused.

Teens have the same capability but when they are NOT focused on one task, they are struggling with a world that is full of new things and trying to find their role in it. How is a teen supposed to know what it wants to do later, if it doesn't try everything? A teens role is NOT to do one task very well, but to learn and you learn by trying lots of different things. And all the hormones rushing around make everything seem very urgent. A child has no concept of time because it doesn't happen to it, an adult knows its time is limited but so what? But to a teen, death is new and makes everything have to happen now.

And frankly, if you watch different generations and read accounts of teens far older then you, you realize that this sense of urgency and impatience with slow adults is universal.

Mind you, bitching about the youth of today is also universal.

The only problems occur if we start seeing teen behavior as desirable in an adult. Teens that don't grow up are the real problem.

Bogus (2, Interesting)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716304)

Firstly, I think the designation of birth decades is completely bogus. Somebody who was born in 1980 is likely to have had a very different technology experience to someone born after 1985, but they are all lumped together. Someone born in 1980 would be 18 by the time the internet started to see mass adoption and computers started to become cheap, while someone born in 1985 would only be 13, and have their formative high-school years ahead of them.

And talking about the tech habits of people born in the 00s? They aren't old enough to have any entrenched tech habits yet! It will be the next decade that shapes them, not the past one.

!Generations (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30716322)

Generations keep getting shorter and shorter somehow. This is because they're favoured by journalists who can't think of a better way to seem significant, so they have to keep finding more.

"iGeneration"? "Net Generation"? Come on, give some to...
  - the Latte Generation
  - the 9/11 Generation
  - the Keyless Entry Generation
  - the LOLcat Generation
  - the "Juno" Generation
  - the "Ima Let you Finish" Generation

Re:!Generations (1)

argent (18001) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716512)

the LOLcat Generation

iVote for this one.

Multi-tasking? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Cowar (1608865) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716326)

They're still doing one thing concurrently with X others. Just because they all have iphones and can switch back and forth between facebook, texting, and music doesn't mean that they've magically gained the ability to do 3 things when we just used to "talk on the phone" with the radio on. They're still using the phone.

Maybe I'm wierd, but if I am talking to someone, it uses 100% of my wetware. I have to turn off the TV, ignore the computer, and stop having IM conversations. However, I can routinely have IRC open with a flowing conversation, several IM windows open, browse the net, read slashdot, and be watching discovery channel, as long as the vocalization center of my brain is not engaged. That may account for the rise in "multi-tasking" seen across generations as speaking is such an inefficient (in terms of resource usage per task) means of conveying information.

I don't have time to read this... (4, Funny)

erroneus (253617) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716348)

... would someone just FAX it to me and I'll read it while I'm on the toilet?

Multifunction fax (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716664)

Nowadays, inkjet fax machines can also act as computer printers. So just print the article and read it while on the toilet.

I hate predictions (1)

PatTheGreat (956344) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716368)

I think these guys have a point that different technologies affect the way we interact with people. I will fully agree that it is far easier to keep in touch with your grandmother when you can call her at night and fly cross-country to see her than it was back in the "day" when you had to send a letter in order to communicate with anyone at a distance and you had to take a stage coach cross-country. However, I always think such researchers begin to sound old and crotchety when they start making predictions that "the kids of tomorrow will have no attention span!" and whatnot. Tech changes, people change, but it's not always BAD.

Calling BS (5, Insightful)

clinko (232501) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716370)

I would like to add this one:

As a member of the "Net Generation", I feel we have tuned ourselves to calling out Bullshit...
We have an ability to figure out that some stuff is the result of marketing vs. actual Buzz. That's why fake "viral videos" are so painful to watch.

Examples:
- Cyber Monday (We know this WAS fake, but stores use it to market now)
- MySpace Buzz (We knew this was dead years ago)
- CNN trying to be "hip" (We saw this from a mile away)
- The ACTUAL relevancy of Twitter vs. what is said on TV (Regis has a twitter account, it's officially uncool)
- 3DTV (A new one from this week due to CES. Seriously, I/We're not feeling it)

Now we can easily add the phrases "iGeneration" and "Net Generation"

We know these phrases are bullshit, but get ready to hear more about it.

Re:Calling BS (4, Insightful)

lgw (121541) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716566)

But that's true of every generation. Just as each generation thinks it invented sex, each generation thinks it invented the sophistication to call bullshit to marketing techniques.

The truth is, pitch tuning is a fine art, and most intelligent people see the bullshit in a sales pitch tuned for someone else. The teenagers wonder why their parents fall for X, while the parents watch their kids fall for why. Urban mocks rural for falling for Z, rural scoffs at urban for falling for W. Everyone thinks they are the one independent thinker in a herd of sheep.

Whippersnappers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30716376)

Get off my lawn!

And you have to contrast this with (1)

blackdropbear (554444) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716386)

the number of articles being spewed out on how this same generation is ready and able to take over the running of the corporations and countries before they have even turned thirty. Since all the articles tend to be written by the baby boomer generation (who in their eyes are infallible) I await the results of all their predictions and their tendencies to mollycoddle their children and it's effects with interest.

iScrew this! (2, Funny)

NoSleepDemon (1521253) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716420)

iSwear, iF iHear another God-damn iPhrase iM going to kill everyone of those iFreaks. It's NOT a podcast, it's a SOUND CLIP you DOWNLOADED onto your MP3 PLAYER. People have jumped onto the iBandWagon the same way Businesses started calling all their services 'Solutions'... So yeah, definitely not a member of the iGeneration, oh how I hate that letter.

Where does this leave old Gen-X farts like me? (3, Interesting)

multiplexo (27356) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716458)

I'm 44. I can remember rotary phones, black and white televisions and when it was a big deal when televisions became solid state (with the exception of the CRT) in the mid 1970s, tube testers at grocery and drug stores and going to the library to do research using card catalogs and the Reader's Periodical Guide. Christ, I'm probably going to be processed into Soylent Green soon. Either that or the Sandmen are going to come and get me.

Running Facebook and Twitter so they are reliable (2, Informative)

xzvf (924443) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716628)

Gen X is in its peak earning years. 40 somethings are the people maintaining the infrastructure most of this runs on. Corralling the 20 and 30 something worker-bees. We're the ones that started working for the startups of the 80's after they became big and have the institutional knowledge to do things the correct way. Sure there are plenty of hot shot young-uns, but most of the economy is managed and maintained by people in 40's and 50's.

Re:Where does this leave old Gen-X farts like me? (2, Interesting)

BrianRoach (614397) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716646)

Wow. Thanks for making me feel old.

The tube-tester-at-the-grocery part really got me, I totally remember those. Imagine asking someone today to open their television or stereo, remove a component, and go test it.

TLDR (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30716508)

2 long didnt reed

I'm teaching Freshman Comp.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30716550)

...and I find this experience to be accurate. I am teaching kids in this age range, and they will expect me to answer their emails near instantly and get frustrated if I take more than a few hours to answer them.

Unfortunately, the experience doesn't work both ways: While I'm expected to be available 24/7, I can't expect the same from them. Even though it should be a two way street, I can, for example, send them an email telling them to print something and bring it to class and half of the class won't do it and say "I didn't check my email before class."

But as far as that goes, it's good to be a college instructor, because those things are dictated on my terms. I can dock points from kids who don't come prepared for class, or use Facebook on their phone instead of paying attention.

A posted above hit the nail on the head - these kids are in for a reality check when they enter the "real world."

Re:I'm teaching Freshman Comp.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30716844)

Don't forget, the majority of your students are each paying you (by way of the college you work for) huge sums of money to teach them.

You should be available to answer their questions rapidly and consistently, as that's what they're paying you to do.

Research needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30716570)

Sounds like this would make some great Phd research projects: "Generation Usage Patterns in Technology"

Sorry, sounds a bit "get off my lawn" ish (1)

BrianRoach (614397) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716588)

To say that you can't separate work/school behaviour from leisure behaviour is silly. I can be incredibly focused on singular tasks while working, and be rapidly task switching when that level of attention is not necessary. The article says nothing about the younger generations' ability to focus on work/school other than a supposition at the end based on their leisure time activites.

For whatever reason, I'm a "Net generation" that ... kept up with the times, I guess. I hate the phone (I think I have 8000 roll over minutes at the moment and only have a VOIP line at home because my wife likes having it), and I've noticed in the last year the only consistent use I have for email is online shopping (receipts & advertising) and bills/confirmations (mortgage got paid, lights will be on next week, etc ).

Texting/IM/Facebook have really become my main forms of personal communication, unless it's someone who ... erm, still uses email. And honestly that's few and far between - even my Mom stalks me on facebook these days, I don't know that we've exchanged an email in over a year.

Work? That's a different matter. If you're updating facebook every 5 minutes, you're obviously not focused. Email is king as the primary form of communication, with the occasional IM (which usually is asking if I'd read an email ... or if I could come over to their physical location to discuss something ... ).

And yes, the last part above should be enclosed in a sarcasm tag. But at the same time ... I find no harm in having IM up and running while I'm working on code. If I'm deep into it, I ignore the IM until later. When I come out of the code trance, I'll often take a little 5 minute break and check facebook and maybe respond to a text or IM. I might even check slashdot. It's healthy.

The younger (mid 20's), junior engineers I've worked with over the last couple years exhibit the same behaviours, so I'm going to call Shenanigans.

Stop the worries - it's pathetic (2, Interesting)

el_jake (22335) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716618)

For the last 1000 years old farts like myself have had there worries about the youngsters and new technology. Please stop the worries, there is no need to be worried about our fine young generation. Every generation will go one step further up the evolution ladder, and old farts like my self should stop the we-are-so-worried-because-they-do-things-differently crap and go back to our chess boards, old Spiderman magazines or Commodore 64 emulators and just STFU.

Youngsters. (1)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716786)

Another difference that I've noticed is that they changes accounts far more frequently than I do. I have had the same email address for 10 years. My young friends are constantly changing the email addresses and IM names.

LK

1 2 3 4 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30716796)

"Studies show that 16- to 18-year-olds perform seven tasks, on average, in their free time — like texting on the phone, sending instant messages, and checking Facebook while sitting in front of the television;"
I count only 4 tasks not seven. The writer's generation fails to imagine more than 4 tasks.

To summarize: (1)

horigath (649078) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716862)

Wow! Grade school kids and university/college students and grads have different interests and different social behaviors. Who knew?

Translation (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716874)

... 'They'll want their teachers and professors to respond to them immediately, and they will expect instantaneous access to everyone, because after all, that is the experience they have growing up,' says Rosen."

Translation: They're a bunch of spoiled little brat.

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