Thursday, February 14, 2013

New Adult Fiction - YA Lit + Sex?

The Telegraph has an interesting article this week called Sex in Young Adult fiction – a rising trend?  It examines the growning tread of books being identified/published as New Adult Fiction, which is as far as I can tell means YA fiction with sex in it.

One theory is that adult readers of YA books are not satisfied with the chastity of the average YA read:

Pearson explains the impact of the age gap between teen fiction’s intended and actual markets. “Two things happen,” she says, “one is that the older audience are less likely to be satisfied by the omission of detail regarding sex, another is that it changes the gateposts for publishers and booksellers.” 

It seems to me that these throngs of adult readers are being drawn to YA lit for a variety of reasons, and it is very likely that many adult like the lack of smut in them.  Not trying to judge here...I think there is a time and place for smut and I'm proud to work for a library system that does a very good job of answering our patrons demand for it.  But really, why are the publishers trying to change a good thing to cater to an audience that was drawn to it in the first place?

If there is a place for sex in YA lit, I certainly don't think it should be for titillating an adult market, which is why I suppose this New Adult category is being produced.  What sex in YA lit, if it is to be included at all, should be about providing healthy role models for teens, and encouraging them to make their sexual decisions based on the best information and what is right for them as individuals, not subject to peer pressure or societal expectations.

According to Dr Lucy Pearson, a lecturer in children’s literature at Newcastle University, it’s nothing new: “Sex has always been an issue in Young Adult fiction, but historically a problematic one,” she tells me. A turning point came, Pearson says, with Forever by Judy Blume. Forever, published in 1975, “is noticeable as a book which tells of teens who want to have sex and do have sex and nothing bad happens”. Pearson continues: “It’s still rare in that aspect – there aren’t many Young Adult novels out there which feature healthy sexual relationships.” 

I feel we do teens a disservice if we completely ignore their hormones and pretend the are completely asexual being.  But how do we preserve and give example to strong boundary setting, while respecting privacy, religious upbringing, and individual and parental rights?  I guess the same as we always have, by collecting books that answer these needs and hope our patrons find them.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

How Common is Cheating? Can We Help?

The New York Times has a rather depressing article this week that really makes you think:

Studies Find More Students Cheating, With High Achievers No Exception 

Studies of student behavior and attitudes show that a majority of students violate standards of academic integrity to some degree, and that high achievers are just as likely to do it as others. Moreover, there is evidence that the problem has worsened over the last few decades. 

Experts say the reasons are relatively simple: Cheating has become easier and more widely tolerated, and both schools and parents have failed to give students strong, repetitive messages about what is allowed and what is prohibited. 

The article goes on to make some pretty clear points about why this might be happening, but I'm afraid the fact is cheaters are rewarded more than punished in our society.  Sure sometimes we will hear about CEOs or bad traders getting caught, but the risk factor still doesn't seem that bad (one can assume most of their spoils have been squirrel off shore by the time they serve a jail term).

Librarians can educate teens on what plagiarism is and how to avoid it when writing, but how can we, educate about integrity and the less tangible rewards it brings to a society?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Showing Milennials What's in It For Them

I thought this was a pretty interesting article on getting Millennials to interact with your brand and bring customer loyalty to a new level:

Canadian Millennial Generation Redefining Customer Loyalty - Millennials willing to engage with marketers but want to know what's in it for them

  • 83% of Millennials participate in loyalty programs, compared to 89% of older Canadians 
  • 63% of Millennials say the top reason to join a rewards program is that it's free, compared to only 37% of non-Millennials 
  • 48% of Millennials surveyed agree that they're more likely to share personal details with a brand that offers loyalty and reward incentives 
How could we apply this to libraries?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Cyndi Lauper, Homeless Teens, and Libraries

I've been meaning to share this interesting article with you that School Library Journal featured:  Cyndi Lauper's Youth Homelessness Awareness Project Reaches Out to Librarians.

Cyndi Lauper has started a new organization to help educate folks about the very serious problem about LGBTQ homeless teens.  Why this group?  Because "while LGBT kids make up an estimated three to five percent of the general population, they account for as much as 40 percent of the homeless youth population. The reason? Because families often abuse, neglect, and reject gay and transgender teens due to their sexual orientation or gender identity."

School and public librarians are not only in the perfect position to educate and get the word out about this problem—but they also offer LGBT teens a safe haven, says Greg Lewis, executive director of the True Colors Fund, which seeks to advance LGBT equality and was cofounded by Lauper. "There is much that the public and those who work directly with kids can do, especially librarians," he says. "For many young people who find themselves homeless, the local library is the only place where they can search the Internet for information and resources. For this very reason, libraries and librarians can play a major role in dispersing effective, sometimes life-saving information for homeless or at risk gay and transgender youth looking for help." Lewis says he encourages all librarians to familiarize themselves with the information and resources available on the Forty to None Project website, and to "urge any homeless or at risk gay and transgender youth who may visit their local or school library to seek help."

I encourage you to read through this site and be prepared for when you encounter this challenge in your community.  Odds are, some of your teens may already be in this situation.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Is It Better to Be a Geek in High School?

I came across this article a while ago and have been meaning to share it:

Why it’s good to be a high school loser 
Screw being popular -- an expert explains why geeks grow up to be more successful adults
By Adele Melander-Dayton

Risky Teen Behavior: Inappropriate Texting

A great article from YPulse:

Texting While Driving: How Millennials Weigh Risky Behavior

 We all do it: shift our attention from working, talking, or walking to our cell phone when it buzzes, beeps, or otherwise alerts us of an incoming communication. But depending on where we are and what we’re doing, the costs of such a shift can have serious consequences — many of which we experience time and time again. Walking and texting? You might bump shoulders with a pedestrian coming towards you. Talking and texting? You might experience the psychological phenomenon known as “insertion,” accidentally typing the word you’re saying or saying aloud the sentence you’re typing. We multitask constantly with technology. How does it benefit — and how does it impair — the lives of teens to be continuously shifting attentional focus to a technological interruption?

Great stuff to think about, and talk with teens about.  Do you ever catch yourself texting at bad times?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

How The Hunger Games Was Marketed

YPulse has been reporting on talks at the Millennial Mega Mashup, and while some of it seems eyerolling obvious (guys 18-34 like humor?) some bits are pretty interesting.  David Levithan VP Editorial Director for Scholastic (and awesome author) did a presentation on how Scholastic marketed The Hunger Games.

The success of “The Hunger Games” would have happened without “Harry Potter” and “Twilight” going before it. The notion of fandom was key — the fans of those series wanted something new to latch on to. Within weeks of the book coming out, teens were acting out scenes from the film and talking non-stop about “The Hunger Games.”
Fandom is the backbone around which everything can be made.

How can we help bring fans together more in our libraries?   We've done our Hunger Games programs...what is next?  What are your teens getting ravenous about now?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Geek Stars Bring Board Games to TV

Do you like games? I don't know about you, but I really enjoy playing board games with my friends. If somebody knows how it works, and is willing to teach everyone, and can promise me it will be a great time. As much as I like board/card/video games in theory, I find I have little patience for figuring them out for myself. So how am I supposed to discover new games to share with my teens and build inter-generational gaming communities in my libraries?

Happily, uber-geek celebrities Felicity Day and Will Wheaton have come together to create a new YouTube show called Tabletop on her new premium YouTube channel, Geek and Sundry, where they will play a different game each week with their friends. While it should be good silly entertainment, it is also an awesome opportunity for us to learn about how games are played and why they should be fun.

Here is a preview:

Which board games would you want to see played?

Monday, March 5, 2012

Do you speak Millennial?

MTV has released a study called "What Millennials Are Just Sayin'", where according to this article "advises that if marketers take the time to understand the everyday language of their target audience, they can speak to them more effectively."  In the vernacular of my youth: DUH.  Still, there is some stuff of interest here:

OMG: Want to Reach Millennials? You Have to, Like, Speak Their Language

 The study says marketers should draw on what millennial lingo reveals about them, namely:
  1. The desire to be seen as smart and funny; and appreciation for clever and quick wit
  2. Originality and authenticity
  3. A heightened sense of drama about their own lives
  4. Optimism over rebellion
How can this apply to libraries?

Friday, February 10, 2012

Young Adult Unemployment at 64 Year High

Terry forwarded me this info, from the latest Pew Research Center report Young, Underemployed and Optimistic Coming of Age, Slowly, in a Tough Economy:

"Young adults hit hard by the recession. A plurality of the public (41%) believes young adults, rather than middle-aged or older adults, are having the toughest time in today’s economy. An analysis of government economic data suggests that this perception is correct. The recent indicators on the nation’s labor market show a decline in the unemployment rate. Nonetheless, since 2010, the share of young adults ages 18 to 24 currently employed (54%) has been its lowest since the government began collecting these data in 1948. And the gap in employment between the young and all working-age adults—roughly 15 percentage points—is the widest in recorded history. In addition, young adults employed full time have experienced a greater drop in weekly earnings (down 6%) than any other age group over the past five years." 

We've definitely been seeing this in our libraries.  What can we do to help this group?  Job training programs and resume classes don't cut it when jobs simply do not exist.  What can libraries do?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

GLBTQ Film Festival - This Weekend

This Sunday, January 29, 2012 the SnoGLOBE Equality Alliance is presenting their 2012 Winter Film Festival: An Afternoon of Inspiring LGBTQ Stories at the Everett PUD Theatre.  It looks to be a wonderful afternoon.

The first film they are showing at 2pm is Inlaws & Outlaws (which you can also check out from Sno-Isle Libraries) which will include a special introduction and Q&A with the filmmaker Drew Emery.

Marriage from the inside-- and out. This film weaves together the true stories of couples and singles, both gay and straight, into a collective narrative that is, at once, hilarious, heartbreaking and inspiring.   

At 4:45pm they will be showing Out in America, a documentary that recently premiered on PBS (and is not yet in our libraries).  You can see a trailer here:

If you have any teens who are Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered or Questioning, or have family members who are GLBTQ, I highly recommend encouraging them to attend this event.  Doors open at 1pm for a social and concession sales.  Tickets are $10.  For more info click on the image of the flyer below.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Plan to Geek Out @ the Library - All Year Long

Teen Tech Week is coming up, or Teen Tech Month as we celebrate it here at Sno-Isle.  The theme this year is Geek Out @ Your Library.  What do you think?  Will this alienate teens, or appeal to their nerd pride?

Looking for program ideas?   Check out the Teen Tech Week blog YALSA has put up. They have a nice starter list of event and activity ideas.

Also, don't limit yourself to March for planning geeky programs.  Teens (and the rest of us) geek out on something because we feel absurdly passionate about it.  Here is an awesome calendar of upcoming geek events for 2012 from CNN's Geek Out blog.

What do you personally geek out about?  How could we make that into a teen program?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Librarian Role in Kids' Searching Skills

There has been quite a bit of buzz this month about Clive Thompson's November 1, 2011 Wired article Why Kids Can’t Search.  Mostly it seems to be a great argument for school librarians:

Consider the efforts of Frances Harris, librarian at the magnet University Laboratory High School in Urbana, Illinois. (Librarians are our national leaders in this fight; they’re the main ones trying to teach search skills to kids today.) Harris educates eighth and ninth graders in how to format nuanced queries using Boolean logic and advanced settings. She steers them away from raw Google searches and has them use academic and news databases, too.

Works great if you get classloads of kids visiting your library regularly, but what can those of us in public libraries do to help kids master “crap detection 101?”

Monday, November 14, 2011

Should Ghosts Own the Night?

Came across this great little article from last month on

Ghosts Are the New Vampires by Mary H. K. Choi  

Think about it: Ghosts are just extra-emo versions of us. They are forlorn and lousy with issues—attention whores, the lot of them, caught up in personal dramas and pining for an audience...Ghosts are the millennials of the monster pantheon. They need to get it together, be more self-sufficient, stop seeming desperate for so much workshopping. They’re constantly trying to outsource their dirty work—make the living talk to their loved ones, avenge their untimely deaths, move out of their house (no matter how underwater the mortgage). Rattle your chains off my lawn...

With next summer's teen reading them being Own the Night, what better focus that GHOSTS! Some much fun non-fiction and great fiction out there. What are your favorite ghost books for teens?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Getting Involved With YALSA

In my years as a librarian, one thing that has really helped me gain experience, community and reinvigorated me is my involvement in YALSA.  As you probably know, YALSA is the Young Adult Library Services Association.  Through YALSA I have participated in exciting committees, met awesome authors, and traveled to cool places for conferences.  More importantly it has helped me become an articulate and confident speaker, and given me ample opportunities to give back to the profession I love.

If you are interested in finding out how to get involved with YALSA, they have a website show you how to get involved, including a free webinar you can check out.

If you have any questions about YALSA involvement, and how to get started, please feel free to let me know!  I've been on Popular Paperbacks, the Margaret A. Edwards Award committee, Great Graphic Novels, and the YALSA Board.  Currently I'm serving on the Nomination Committee.  Even if you aren't ready to go to conferences, there are many virtual ways to get involved!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Should Libraries Offer Programs on Hacking?

School Library Journal has an interesting article posted this week about organized educational efforts, including conference workshops, to introduce kids to hacking:

License to Hack: Kids are getting into hacking in a whole new way. And that’s a good thing.

Workshops covered picking locks—the school locker variety—Google hacking, and coding in Scratch, a programming language for children. In a session entitled “Meet the Feds,” kids were invited to press the flesh with agents from the Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency and chat with them about “intelligence gathering, cyber weapons, war strategy, and more.”

It’s an interesting convergence, with the global exploits of hardcore hacker groups Anonymous and Lulzsec in the background, but hacking—in various forms—is another way in which kids are engaging technology and one that’s evolving.

What do you think? Is this the sort of thing libraries should be dipping our toes in? Is this how we get teens truly interested in new technologies, or is this getting into ethically dodgy ground?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Teen Slang - Know It (But Maybe Avoid Trying to Use It) has a great list of slang taken from MTV's new show Awkward:

Should You Offish Add These New Abbrevs & Slang Words to Your Vocab?

How many of them have you heard used by real live teens? What new slang have you heard recently your peers might want to know about?

I would seriously hesitate before deliberately incorporating any of these in conversations with teens if you are trying to look cool...because that stuff always backfires! But knowing what they are saying is a good advantage to have, both so you can be understanding, and have a bit more of a clue as to what really is going on around you ;)

Other teen slang sources:

Friday, September 23, 2011

National Geographic Covers Teenage Brains

The October National Geographic magazine's cover story is on Teenage Brains. Online you can read a great article called Beautiful Brains:

A few researchers began to view recent brain and genetic findings in a brighter, more flattering light, one distinctly colored by evolutionary theory. The resulting account of the adolescent brain—call it the adaptive-adolescent story—casts the teen less as a rough draft than as an exquisitely sensitive, highly adaptable creature wired almost perfectly for the job of moving from the safety of home into the complicated world outside.

Be sure to check out the wonderful photo gallery that goes with the article!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Making Things at the Library Helps Build Skills

Wired has a terrific article about the value of kids making things and getting creative, and how this gives them advantages going into the future. The article focuses on Maker Faire a celebration of creativity and ingenuity that takes place in San Mateo, California.

Want Kids to Win the Future? Turn Them Into Makers — and Sci-Fi Fans
By Angela Watercutter
“If you look at [Steve] Jobs and [Steve] Wozniak, they were makers,” Bushnell said in a phone interview with “The more we can turn the nation into a nation of makers, they will be smarter, they’ll be better problem-solvers, and they’ll be more equipped for the problems of tomorrow.” ... “When I hired engineers and people on the creative side, I never looked at their grades,” he said, referring to the teams he built at Atari and beyond. “I interviewed them strictly on their hobbies, and if they did not have a hobby in technology I wouldn’t hire them….

How can we introduce teens to new interests and hobbies? Alas, there is not such a fair for the Seattle area yet (there is a mini-one in Kitsap County today...with some good ideas to borrow too), but this is something libraries definitely be able to provide for kids and teens.

I love the idea of stealing many of their program ideas and doing them in our libraries. Already our kids librarians are doing more with Legos. Should the their be Teen sets too? Would teens come to a program on LED projects beyond throwies? What about musical bots? A modified Xbox360 controller? Or maybe an Extreme Marshmallow Cannon? For more ideas, check out the Makers Faire program guide here.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Line Betweem Dependence and Addiction?

Some interesting and not terribly surprising statistics were revealed in this article, summarizing a recent study:

Digital Dependence of Today's College Students Revealed in New Study from CourseSmart™

Findings show college students feel helpless without technology—checking their devices at least every 10 minutes and foregoing face time for Facebook.

There are so many alarmist reports out about youth's dire need for technology (don't you love the dark image above, found by the image search "facebook addiction"...there are some doozies!). Clearly many youth feel totally dependent on it now. When does that become addiction? Were we saying the same thing about teens and telephones in the 1980s?

I often find myself of two minds. One one hand, I know how good I feel after I'm unplugged for a weekend, as I was a few days ago to go camping. Time slows down. Conversations happen. Exercise occurs naturally. I even read a few books. On the other hand, I believe technology is just how our species is evolving, no good or bad about it, it simply is. That is very easy to see M.T. Anderson's Feed becoming a reality all too soon. What do you think? Are teens ready to be plugged in full time? And what are the risks we face with this step?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

More Social Networking Stuff

I find social networking and the ways young people and adults utilize things like Facebook, Twitter, etc. to be extremely interesting and I think services like these provide 'instant windows' into our culture in a real-time manner that hasn't been previously possible. Much like your Fred Meyer card allows the store to collect information useful for marketing and sales much faster than was ever possible in the past, Facebook and its clones allow us to look at our relationships, how people interact with others, and observe how certain societal mores change or develop at nearly the same speed that Freddy's can see that you prefer Tostitos over Santitas. I saw a couple of articles today on about dealing with 'online haters' and about Facebook trends that made me remember the article Dawn shared on 'Facebook Depression', so I thought I would share these as well for other people interested in this kind of thing. There is some good advice in the 'haters' articles and some interesting information about how 'Facebooking' has influenced, or at least given us an easier way to observe, how young people interact with each other. The stories aren't necessarily teen-centered, but I think they have a lot of relevant information in them.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Video Engagement, Beyond the Flip

Some of our libraries purchased Flip cameras to create promotions with teens. Use up till now is still limited, but I would love to see programs and projects developed around this idea. However, the Flip is no longer going to be produced, which is too bad, as it is super easy to use. But happily there are plenty of other tech tools waiting in the wings. PC Magazine has a great article covering this topic: Ten Top-Notch Flip Video Camera Alternatives.

So what sorts of things can libraries do with a video camera to promote all things teen? Social Media Examiner has a great article with lots of ideas that we can use: 26 Ways to Engage With Customers Using Video.

How can you see some of these ideas being used with teens at your library?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Social Networking Impact on Health Explored

Terry found this very interesting article, that I think is worth taking a look at:

"Pediatricians are adding another topic to their list of questions for visits with school-aged and adolescent patients: Are you on Facebook? Recognizing the increasing importance of all types of media in their young patients’ lives, pediatricians often hear from parents who are concerned about their children’s engagement with social media. To help address the many effects—both positive and negative—that social media use has on youth and families, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has issued a new clinical report, The Impact of Social Media Use on Children, Adolescents and Families in the April issue of Pediatrics (published online March 28). The report offers background on the latest research in this area, and recommendations on how pediatricians, parents and youth can successfully navigate this new mode of communication."

I like that it spells out benefits in addition to more worrying issues. Seems like sleep deprivation is becoming a national problem, eh? First time I've heard of "Facebook depression".

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Teens Want to Geek Out @ the Library

Next year's Teen Tech Week (or for the more ambitious of us Teen Tech MONTH) theme has been decided. Teens voted on the theme through YALSA's website and picked Geek Out @ Your Library.

I'm perfectly happy with this as a self professed book and comics geek, but then again I've never had a problem with the image issues a lot of people seem to feel libraries should be fighting. Maybe it is time that we not only embrace our Marian the Geek image, but really market it? A few years ago at one of our Teen Project meetings with our Marketing folks as guest speakers then mentioned that we gear our marketing toward the overachievers, those kids in honor society, sports, plus an elective getting them into college, with the idea that if they come to the library, others will follow. Perhaps this might be a good strategy for database promotions and volunteer recruitment, but for getting teens to attend programs and develop a real library fan base? I question this.

Perhaps it is really time to reach out to our fellow, younger geeks. To say do you love books, knowledge, and individual thinking? do we!

Having just read Into the Wild Nerd Yonder by Julie Halpern, I can't help but think that the nerd and geeks have always been our most loyal, if quiet, users and need to be embraced and celebrated. And admitting our love for them shouldn't be hard, but like Marian the Librarian, worrying about other people's perspective hangs us up (though really, she is a kick-butt librarian). Perhaps by admitting, yes hanging out at the library can be a mega-geeky hobby, we can revitalize our fellowship, and give it the place in this glorified golden age of geek culture it deserves.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Another Pro-Gaming Article

Video Games Boost Brain Power, Multitasking Skills
December 20, 2010

I forgot to post this article when it came out, on some recent studies praising video games for youth.

"...studies show that video gamers show improved skills in vision, attention and certain aspects of cognition. And these skills are not just gaming skills, but real-world skills. They perform better than non-gamers on certain tests of attention, speed, accuracy, vision and multitasking".

Something to share with concerned parents and patrons?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

How Much Do Teen Lie? And Why?

Recently I read a very interesting chapter in Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman's book Nurture Shock: New Thinking about Children. I had heard about this from a library school class I was guest speaking at and knew I had to read it. The chapter on specifically on rethinking teen behavior is entitled The Science of Teen Rebellion and explores the struggle parents have with trying to give teens the correct amount of discipline so that they can have an honest open relationship. Apparently this is a nearly impossible feat, and the authors argue that to some degree it can't be helped.

Things I found particularly interesting:

  • Parents who are extremely strict risk having kids that are obedient, but depressed.
  • Parents who accept anything their kids do are seen as not actually caring.
  • Teens aren't likely to seek out their parents for help on difficult matters, as that means admitting they aren't mature enough to handle it themselves...something no teen wants.
  • Arguing, while stressful for parents, is actually very healthy for teens, particularly if they are able to negotiate some control of their lives, while still receiving healthy boundaries.
  • Overbooked teens are often just doing stuff because their parents want them to, and because they have very little free time, they don't know how to occupy themselves constructively when they do have the opportunity.
How can these lessons apply to libraries? This is what I hope to discuss at our next Teen Contacts Meeting. I have some ideas, but would love to hear more.

Have you read this passage? What are your thoughts?

How does this apply to libraries?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Help Teens Set Good Internet Boundaries

This week I attended a training on teens and cyberstalkers, online bullying and other internet safety issues. I was struck by the fact that we do a lot to warn teens to watch out, but most feel they can deal with whatever comes their way online and are likely to disregard words of caution. Personally I feel that we should not just tell them to watch out, but empower them by educating them to know their options if they are approached or harassed online.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children along with the US Department of Justice have created a solid info site for teens called Don't Believe the Type to help teens make wise decisions online. These pages are an excellent resource for parents and youth services professionals for starting conversations with teens, and helping them keep others safe too. The website gives great sets of guidelines for what to watch out for in different online situations, and when to report dubious behavior to the Cyber Tip Line. The tip line is connected to a national database that tracks bad behavior to stop creeps from hurting kids. By reporting creeps teens are practicing setting good boundaries (important for their emotional development), and help prevent creeps from victimizing less savvy youth.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Libraries as Innovative Learning Spaces

Here is a very interesting article from The Huffington Post on teens and education:

When Youth Own the Public Education Agenda
Mimi Ito

As a parent and educator who is also an anthropologist committed to appreciating youth perspectives, I stand at the cusp of two different learning cultures--one that is about youth-driven social engagement and sharing, and the other that is embodied in educational institutions' adult-driven agendas. My biggest challenge has been to find what it would take to get alignment between the energy that kids bring to video games, text messaging, and social network sites and the learning that parents and educators care about.

She particularly likes what Chicago Public is doing at their main library:

YouMedia is all about fulfilling the traditional goals of education, but through innovative means keyed to today's networked and digital media environment.

Here is a video:

Can we get this at the Monroe Library? Pretty please?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

How Distracted Can Teens Get and Still Function?

Early this week David shared this New York Times article with me, which is definitely worth discussion:

Growing Up Digital, Wired for Distraction
Published: November 21, 2010

As a distractable (yet pretty productive) person myself, I found this article very interesting.

Sam Crocker, Vishal’s closest friend, who has straight A’s but lower SAT scores than he would like, blames the Internet’s distractions for his inability to finish either of his two summer reading books. “I know I can read a book, but then I’m up and checking Facebook,” he says, adding: “Facebook is amazing because it feels like you’re doing something and you’re not doing anything. It’s the absence of doing something, but you feel gratified anyway.” He concludes: “My attention span is getting worse.”

And its not just the busy that seems to be the problem, but the effects of not getting true rest:

In that vein, recent imaging studies of people have found that major cross sections of the brain become surprisingly active during downtime. These brain studies suggest to researchers that periods of rest are critical in allowing the brain to synthesize information, make connections between ideas and even develop the sense of self. Researchers say these studies have particular implications for young people, whose brains have more trouble focusing and setting priorities. “Downtime is to the brain what sleep is to the body,” said Dr. Rich of Harvard Medical School. “But kids are in a constant mode of stimulation.”

If you want to see a great visual representation of how wired in teens are, watch the movie Easy A (I caught it at the Crest last night and thought it was the best teen movie I've seen in ages)...the gossip scene are a wonderful embodiment of the way teens have not just become wired in, but to each other.

Can they disconnect when they need to? Can you?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

New Article on Teen Bullying

A new article out this week on how teens perceive bullying in their lives:

"Bullying" Has Little Resonance with Teenagers
By Danah Boyd - November 15, 2010

The cultural logic underpinning bullying is far more complex than most adults realize. And technology is not radically changing what's happening; it's simply making what's happening far more visible. If we want to combat bullying, we need to start by understanding the underlying dynamics. And we need to approach interventions with an evaluation-based mindset. ... here's what makes bullying so difficult to address. So often, one person thinks that they're not at fault and that they're simply a victim of bullying. But those who are engaged in the bullying see it entirely differently. They blame the person and see what they're doing as retaliation. None of this is communicated, of course, so things can quickly spiral out of control without anyone really knowing where it all began.

I think the book Jumped by Rita Williams-Garcia captures this beautifully, and heartbreakingly. Lack of empathy and a self-righteous sense of justification are a dangerous combination. I like to think that books and reading can be of help, but who is to say? But it can't hurt to try. Here are some bullying books for middle school kids.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Top Myths About Marketing to Teens

An interesting article from MediaPost's Engage:Teens blog.

9 Myths You Thought Were True
by David Trahan

There are some myths about marketing to teens that every marketer can learn from.

Myth #1: All teens want smartphones
Myth #2: Texting is the way in
Myth #3: Teens use Facebook the way we use Facebook
Myth #4: Teens are going to join Twitter
Myth #5: If you build it, teens will come
Myth #6: Teens are online all the time
Myth #7: Teens don't watch TV
Myth #8: Teen word-of-mouth happens online
Myth #9: Teens love online video

I found the article interesting for breaking down some "common knowledge" about teens, but also it is the first article I've seen separating teens from Millennials! I wonder what the generation following Millennials will be called?