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How young and old connect in a cyber-powered world

In a recent column, parenting guru John Rosemond takes issue with some parenting advice dispensed via the Wall Street Journal by Mind and Matter columnist, Alison Gopnik, who in a March column advanced the point of view that the devices are simply tools that will develop brains just as traditional books have done. Rosemond expresses concern that the impact of smart devices and internet connectivity on children should not be minimized. A read of Gopnik’s column presents an acceptance of the device because all innovations across human history, from the first books to the printing press and the internet, have always been and will always be transformative experiences for humanity.

 “We want our youth to feel at ease being in the company of adults – making connections that enable them to showcase their talents." - Natalie Pholey, Auburn Hip Hop Congress
Joanna Jullien

These points of view expressed by Gopnik and Rosemond about the impact of technology on young brains and hearts and minds are the main thread of concern for the modern parent and child. How do we make connections in a cyber-powered world where the device – ever present like a pair of shoes - is seducing us into states of isolation, much like becoming enthralled with reading a good book? And in an internet-enabled world that poses tremendous risks for kids without guidance on moderation and proper training, is the device making it easier or harder for the parent to impart wisdom?

The fundamental question remains: What does it really mean to connect as one human being to another, young and old?

Natalie Pholey is the Executive Director of the Hip Hop Congress of Auburn, devoted to helping youth find ways to connect with adults. Their mission is to help youth find acceptance for how their childhoods are informing them on and off-line. Through their programs, youth learn how to express their musical, literary and artistic talents as valued members of the larger community.

“We want our youth to feel at ease being in the company of adults – making connections that showcase their talents,” she said. According to Pholey, the AHHC offers training and classes on film, music, story writing and art. “Our young people are teaching classes to the very young, and participating in community events as volunteers and as paid staff at conferences,” she said.

Last month, AHHC members provided staff support to a community fundraiser held at Morgan Creek Country Club in Roseville for Kids First, a non-profit dedicated to helping children and families in crisis. The AHHC members served as waiters, performed their music, and produced artwork using drawings supplied by the event attendees.(See thumbnail photo in video above).

See more of Auburn Hip Hop Congress videos.

The advent of the internet and mobile connectivity has indeed introduced a digital divide - a power crisis that also conditions youth for authenticity, which cannot be replaced by devices. AHHC provides a model for the open-minded way in which young and old can exchange perspectives and learn from one another.


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