I am not optimistic regarding our abilities to effectively separate the caustic effects of digital media from the benign. The task before us calls for creativity to harness the contributions offered by new technologies and discipline for regulating their threats. We should begin developing required assignments whereby students can demonstrate how Internet access, for example, enhances their international experience in ways that were unthinkable in the days of old media.
Likewise, we should adopt policies that check computer and cellphone uses that we know undermine cross-cultural growth and understanding. Just as some academic programs enforce "language pledges" that forbid students to speak English while abroad, we should institute "media pledges" that prohibit television reruns, instant messaging, and music libraries. We should then dismiss from the program those who violate the pledge.