Teens info-swamped too

A head school librarian suggests that our digitally literate teens are no different from any of us as we slog through our collective information overload. "These kids manage to survive by bushwhacking through the muddle – while seamlessly dealing with an email, a Word document, or a 50-page PDF from the scholarly database JSTOR," writes Thomas Washington of the Potomac School in McLean, Va., in the Christian Science Monitor. "It's taken them just a few years to arrive at the same conclusion that I've reached after a lifetime of sustained reading: The pursuit of knowledge in the age of information overload is less about a process of acquisition than about proficiency in tossing stuff out." In other words, we're all reading less in-depth and filtering more. This is good in some ways – because, if Mr. Washington's right, teens are quite naturally, or by necessity, developing the critical thinking that will not only help them cope with the info flood, but also to maintain a safe skepticism not only about what's communicated to them online, but what they choose to communicate and upload themselves. Let's help them consciously cultivate that filtering capability!

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