Summary of The App Generation

How Today’s Youth Navigate Identity, Intimacy, and Imagination in a Digital World

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The App Generation book summary
Ubiquitous digital media may affect young people’s psychological development, but they’ve never been without it.


7 Overall

6 Importance

8 Innovation

7 Style


Today’s young people have never known a world without ubiquitous digital media. Education scholars Howard Gardner – the prolific multiple-intelligences expert – and Katie Davis argue that the constant access to software applications – “apps” – and to online information and communities changes how young people approach the psychological challenges of “identity, intimacy and creativity.” Some of their conclusions seem mundane, but many of their findings offer substantial and surprising insights into evolving adolescent psychology. getAbstract recommends this study to anyone marketing to youth, to parents and educators, to software developers, and to young people themselves, whether they read it on paper or online (we’ve got an app for that).

In this summary, you will learn

  • How the “apps” on mobile devices affect young people’s psychological development,
  • How youth craft their identities to be appealing online,
  • How young people use digital communication to lessen the discomfort of human interaction and
  • How arts-oriented apps allow more people to participate in creative expression.


“Digital Natives”
Today’s young people are “digital natives” – they’ve spent their whole lives in a world of digital media and can barely imagine life without mobile phones or the Internet. Has growing up in a digital world affected their “thought processes, personalities, imaginations...
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About the Authors

Howard Gardner, the Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, directs the Harvard Project Zero research program. Co-author Katie Davis is an assistant professor at the University of Washington.

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