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21 Ohio State Journal on Dispute Resolution 629 (2006)


Technology is changing the way that children are communicating (particularly elementary and pre-school aged children), and these changes have significant implications for alternative dispute resolution processes and practices. Although ADR practitioners and theorists are not ignoring technology, we have focused almost exclusively on the question of how we can use technology to enhance our existing practices. We are not paying sufficient attention to the fact that young children are communicating differently than we communicate. Insufficient energy is being dedicated to the question of how those differences in communication inevitably influence the way that those children resolve disputes.

The article analyzes social science research that describes and documents how technology is changing the ways in which children are communicating. The successes of software and hardware developers are coming so quickly that it is difficult for those of us outside the technology fields to stay informed. Dispute resolvers are not asking how new technologies, technologies of which we may not even be aware (or at least not fully understand), are changing the way that our children are communicating. We also are not asking how those changes affect alternative dispute resolution.

The article suggests ways in which ADR will change as a result of the ways children are communicating. It also discusses the future of current theories and approaches to ADR, such as "mindfulness meditation" (frequently discussed by Professor Leonard Riskin, among others).