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What Teens Are Really Doing Online

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Tony pointed out this interesting book and interview about the current generation of students and their online habits. Here's a clip, every youth worker should probably get the book, no?
  1. Question: Why are MySpace and the like so popular?

    Answer: Teens put the “social” in social networking. Being a teen is all about individuating from your parents and spending more time with peers. We did this by hanging out in malls, parks and parking lots. Today’s teens are much more scheduled and structured, and today’s parents are more reluctant to let teens hang out unsupervised.

    MySpace and other social networks have become virtual hangouts where teens can socialize without parental supervision. Teens also love decorating their MySpace pages as a way to tell the world who they are (at this week!) and find other teens who may be interested in the same things: for example, cars, video games, animal rights, and goth fashion.

    Teens love being able to communicate to all of their friends with a bulletin and getting feedback through comments. Plus we all know high school is all about social status—now it can be quantified, exaggerated or minimized with the number of friends on your MySpace profile.

  2. Question: Is banning MySpace and other social networks by schools a smart thing?

    Answer: I advocate educating as opposed to legislating. Schools should bust teens for using MySpace when they shouldn’t be but don’t block it. Educators have a role to play in teaching teens when it’s appropriate to be on MySpace and when it isn’t, as well as what is kosher to post and what isn’t—and what it means to maintain a public profile.

    Blocking technology doesn’t teach teens how to use technology safely and ethically or how to think critically about the sites they visit. For many low income teens who still may not have computers or access to the internet at home, a school library, public library or federally funded after school program are often the only places they can participate in Web 2.0 at all. If we block and ban these sites, a whole population will miss out on what their peers have access to at home.


posted by Joshua Griffin @ 4:19 PM |

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