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appgenerationSmartphone apps can be really useful. They give us spot-on directions, recommend great places to eat and offer access to a plethora of information, among other tasks.

But a new book called ‘The App Generation‘ shows the detrimental effects of these apps, specifically for today’s youth that are using these digital tools every day.

Written by Katie Davis, a digital media professor at the University of Washington, and Howard Gardner, a Harvard psychologist, the book looks at three areas of adolescent life: identity, intimacy and imagination.

With hundreds of interviews with children, several focus groups and a comparison of drawings and stories produced by children before and after the “digital age,” Davis and Gardner analyze how exactly the app environment has helped and hurt the way today’s children think.

The book argues that children today are becoming “app-dependent,” due to the nature of how apps are designed and how we use them. Many apps today, the authors say, are too “prescribed,” and force a false sense of identity, less empathy and a “narrow dependence” for the people who use them.

But they also suggest that apps have the ability to encourage people to be “app-enabled” —  the kind that are more open-ended, spur creativity and offer opportunities for deeper relationships. The book recommends that we find ways to develop more apps like this, especially as digital media becomes more prevalent in the classroom.

The App Generation is available on Amazon now. Find out more about the book here.

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