Trends in digital discipleship

Earlier today my attention was drawn to an article on the cognitive effects of hyperconnectivity on young adults. In other words – will those who have grown up as digital natives end up thinking differently to their parents because of it? Some of the conclusions drawn in the article are encouraging:

  • They will have active brains and great multitasking abilities..
  • They will settle for quick choices and count on the Internet as their external brain.
  • Their effective on-line searching strategies will be well developed.
  • They will be able to discern the quality and veracity of on-line information.
  • Their ability to communicate findings and digital literacy will be high.
  • Synthesizing data from many sources will be easy for them.
  • They will easily discern relevant information from masses of data.
  • Overall, they will be strategically future-minded

Others, though, are not so positive:

  • More obvious traits will be a lack of patience and need for instant gratification.
  • Lack of deep-thinking ability will be apparent due to “fast-twitch wiring.”

There are digital and learning experts in abundance who can drill down into what all this really means for those who are growing up in this hyper-connected age.

However, my questions relate to our spirituality.

  • Will they be more or less inclined to step aside from external stimuli and seek time with God?
  • Will their hyper-connectivity make them better prayers, on account of more information, or worse prayers on account of less time?
  • Will the internet function not only as their ‘external brain’ (see above) but also as their external soul – where spiritual experiences become increasingly digitized?

In an old,old pre printing and pre e-ink book, King Solomon said that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”. How does that translate in the Digital age, I wonder?