While reading Totally Wired: What Teens and Tweens are Really Doing Online by Anastasia Goodstein, I noticed an interesting dichotomy within teens' online presence. Through blogs, LiveJournals, and social media sites, teens post about their personal feelings and experiences - there is an element of wanting to be noticed or acknowledged. On the flip side, many teens do not want strangers reading and/or commenting on their blogs. Goodstein points out that, "The irony is that because these spaces exist online, teens' most personal thoughts can be discovered and read by the world - whether that world is other students outside of their group of friends at school, students at other schools, their friends' parents, school administrators, or strangers."
Goodstein suggests that, "not much has really changed about being a teenager," which I find true. Teens are still going to grapple with self-identity, physical and emotional changes, and a myriad of other issues, but the manner in which they encounter such issues changes over time. For example, rather than worrying about bullying, parents may now have to gain knowledge of cyber-bullying. This is not to discount any issues teens face, but to refocus our attention on how they face the issues. I hope the focus also shifts to address how any web presence can affect their professional lives as well. Teens should be educated early in life that much of what is posted online can be traced back and used as criteria by potential employers. Although it's occasionally hard to "censor" what I put up online, I want to make sure my web presence is appropriate for a range of audiences.
*On a completely unrelated note, we gathered for the Zombie Prom this weekend at the Urbana Free Library. I decided to share my grotesque makeup with you, so please beware.