New York Times columnist, Thomas Friedman declared the modern age in which we live as the ’age of distraction’ in 2006. The basis of his argument was that technology has changed the ways in which our minds function and our capacity to dedicate ourselves to any particular task. Others assert that our attention spans and ability to learn have been changed and that the use of media devices has become essential to many people’s daily lives and indeed the impulse to use technology is harder to resist than unwanted urges for eating, alcohol or sex.
This book seeks to portray the see-saw like relationship that we have with technology and how that relationship impacts upon our lived lives. Drawing on a range of theoretical perspectives that cross traditional subject boundaries we examine the ways in which we both react to and are, to an extent, shaped by the technologies we interact with and how we construct the relationships with others that we facilitate via the use of Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) be it as discreet online only relationships or the blending of ICTs enabled communication with real life co present interactions.
This impressive collection shows us how digital media have become embedded in nearly every aspect of society, and how people engage with these technologies at different stages of life. These lively and interesting studies reveal how engagement with ICTs is shaping the way we live and die, give birth, establish social relationships, handle mental health issues, deal with aging, and conduct politics. This is a valuable sourcebook for the field.
Lance Bennett, University of Washington, Seattle, USA
Contents: Introduction - an introduction to digital media usage across the life course, Paul.G.Nixon, Rajash.Rawal and Andreas Funk; The internet through the ages, William H. Dutton and Bianca C. Reisdorf; Singularity: a double bind?, Rajash Rawal and Paul G. Nixon; Citizenship in the virtual public sphere - reasonableness as a modus vivendi for life online, Andreas Funk; Birth through the digital womb: visualizing prenatal life online, Yukari Seko and Katrin Tiidenberg; Digital by default: growing into your digital footprint, Vanessa P. Dennen; ‘That’s so unfair!’ Navigating the teenage online experience, Abby Philips; Living social: comparing social media use in your 20s and 30s, Natalie Pennington; Blurring boundaries: social media and boundary maintenance at midlife, Kelly Quinn; Retrospective narratives about life with anxiety: considering the role of the internet for sufferers, Catherine Brookes; Older adults and social media: foreshadowing challenges of the digital future?, Kelly Quinn; Googling grannies: how technology use can improve health and wealth in aging populations, Elizabeth Yost, Vicki Winstead, Ronald W. Berkowsky, and Shelia R. Cotton; Physical death in the digital age, Stine Gotved; On deathcasting: alone together on the edge of death, Yukari Seko; Index.