PEW Report on Teen Use of Social Media: http://www.pewinternet.org/PPF/r/230/report_display.asp
I was catching up on listening to my “Future Tense” podcasts when I ran across a report on one of the latest PEW research studies on Internet use. It looks like girls seem to dominate in use of social media while boys are more likely to post online videos. More, it appears that many girls have taken on the ability to super communicate through various technology.
Some noteworthy statistics from the report:
- 27% of teens polled maintained a personal webpage
- 39% of teens shared their own artistic creations online
- 26% re-mix content online
It makes sense that boys will tend to create videos that feature themselves; adolescent girls tend to be a self-conscious of their own appearance. However, this idea that their children have a presence visible to strangers must be more than unnerving for many parents. This is a given. The media certainly does their part in freaking out people even more by only highlighting what can go wrong when people’s children have a web-presence. I’m not saying that the dangers are not there, I guess I’m just a little weary of people taking the fearful approach to things rather than looking at what’s positive about the situation and then tackling the problematic and unsafe nature of things.
I’m just incredibly excited that these kids enjoy creating content and putting it online. They are for all intensive purposes, taking in what they see, re-interpreting it and then creating a product from their understanding. I’ve seen countless examples of Anime Music Videos (AMV) online that attest to this. Also, I ran across a wiki created by fans of the Avatar t.v. cartoon. The fans that create the content on this wiki are basically conducting some form of character and plot analysis when they post information. Fans that participate in the wiki content creation, young and old alike, demonstrate how engaged they are in the content. Why else would they be moved to do the work? It reminds me of my own childhood when I collected Star Wars bubblegum cards (geez, I must sound like a geezer). I had to go to the library and newstands to read more about the characters. There were countless comic books and pulp novels. I remember we used to lay the cards down on the floor and arrange them according to how the the characters were related to each other or when they appeared in the plot. When we played with the cards we used to have discussions about what we thought would happen to Han Solo after being captured by Jabba or whether or not Han and Leia would get together and have kids. Of course, as I write this I realize that I’m probably embarrassing myself.
Still, even though it’s pop culture it still doesn’t mean that it’s beneath us. If we can recognize that we’re interpreting what we see in the pop stuff fluff or not and then scaffold into understanding other literature and art then that can’t be a bad thing can it. Maybe just we old stogies need to open up a little bit and look at how children and teens interpret the world through the media they see with clearer eyes.