Sunday, October 28, 2012

Week 9 (Technology and Information Literacy)

          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.


  1. I was just thinking about this, actually. I am frequently grateful for the fact that the social media boom did not start until I was in my last year of high school. Every time I try to envision middle school me on Facebook, I can't help but think that it would have been some kind of disaster. Remember the Honesty Box application? I wouldn't have been the kind of girl who used it to write mean things to other people, but I can see myself sitting at the computer and AGONIZING about the fact that no one had used it to confess that they had a secret crush on me. The cyber-bullying thing is a whole other issue. Theoretically, online communication is just another form of communication, which means the same social rules apply--i.e. don't bully people. But the anonymity of the internet either blurs those rules or does not hold people accountable for breaking them. I think one of the more unsettling trends is people who film themselves bullying people in order to become famous on the internet. I think it's symptomatic of the fact that the digital age is "new"--there are still aspects of society (legislation, social norms) that are trying to catch up.

  2. I am happy you posted this because I deal with this all the time. At the school library I work at, we have an open policy about technology. Students are allowed to have their cell phones out and can text or email if they wish. They are not allowed to actually talk on the phone. The reason I say this is because we see quite a lot of "eActivity" in our library in addition to the computer work students do and it's amazing how much of their lives revolve around these devices from such a young age. It's almost a given that many will be posting things to Facebook, Tumblr, or some other social networking site without much thought as to what they're writing, who's reading it, or what effect it will have on a reader.

    In fact, yesterday there was a class working on a project that incorporates Google Docs/Drive and students will be sharing work online. The teacher of the class was warning students during her presentation that they should be careful of what they post on their documents because it is viewable by the teacher. She unfortunately has had the "pleasure" of reading past posts by students who did not realize how many people can see what they are doing online in Google Docs. Teens often aren't considering these things when they do something silly like post a rude comment. They don't have the full understanding of consequences for actions that they take. This is where we as librarians and teachers need to remind them of both their rights and responsibilities as online users. Glad you posted this!