2014 Hope: No More Misunderstandings

Dec 20, 2013 2:45 PM ET

2014 Hope: No More Misunderstandings

Apple recently released a 1 and a half minute video named “Misunderstood”, showing a family convening at the home of the grandparents for the holidays.  The star of the short film is a teenage boy who for most of the video is lost in his iPhone.

Without divulging too much here for those who have yet to see it, I wanted to respond to a Forbes article written by Jennifer Rooney, CMO Network editor for the publication.  In her piece, she bashes the video and laments Apple’s glorification and encouragement of voyeurism and disconnectedness, in place of living and personally relating with loved ones, without the interference of a screen.

As many already commented on her piece, I disagree with Ms. Rooney’s position.  I don’t disagree with the need for our society to figure out how to balance time online and offline.   But it’s not an age-specific problem, and we older ones should know better and lead by example.

In my opinion, as the title suggests, this video was a beautifully communicated statement about the younger generation, and how they are learning to give and to connect in ways we adults never knew and therefore do not understand.  The fact that Ms. Rooney missed this only further proves their point.

Having been in the online safety, media literacy, and digital citizenship world for a while now, I believe that those of us raising and teaching young people should work under the assumption that kids don’t start out intending to do bad things, cause harm, reveal too much, cheat or steal the moment we hand them something with a screen and a connection to the Internet.  And with our involvement, guidance, examples, and encouragement, they can do great things with it – for others and for themselves.

My wish for the coming year is that we begin to remove these biases so we can be freed up to do the important work of raising a safe, responsible, and successful generation of technology enthusiasts who will one day improve our world by realizing and capitalizing on all the possibilities technology might bring.

Kudos to Apple for this video.  Honestly, I’ve watched it a couple of times but could not tell you which specific iPhone product(s) they are promoting, so it was not an overt sales pitch, which I appreciate even more.

Watch this and tell me you aren’t deeply moved by it.  And more importantly, hopeful for the future.

With best wishes for the new year,