Under 18: Blogs, Wikis and Online Social Networks for Youth

Official SXSW writeup for Under 18: Blogs, Wikis and Online Social Networks for Youth
Under 18 Blogs, Wikis and Online Social Networks for YouthEach panelist gave a longish introduction on themselves and I wondered when they’d actually start talking about the topic itself. The discussion began very much with a US-centric perspective, using statistics from the Pew Internet reports. Panelists discussed cyberbullying and a disparity in tech-savviness among teachers themselves. However later on their discussion broadened up and was applicable to youths anywhere in the world.
The key theme running through the discussions was that technology is only a tool. Instead of banning children and youths from visiting certain websites, they should be educated on how to deal with it. [This is pretty what I said during my HP Alumni talk in January, too] They should be able to discern between having meaningful online chat with a total stranger on political issues, versus having a conversation with a total stranger who wants sex from them. Some children know how to apply a filter, but some don’t, and that’s where the focus should be.
Other good points were that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach for youths, because what works for a 10-year old child may not work for an 18-year old, and vice versa.
One panelist noted there are youths who were shy in real life but very outgoing in Second Life and other forms of online chat. Adults don’t understand why teens use such tools, but to teens it’s another medium to communicate through.
My rating: 4/5. Woman of the match: Danah Boyd from USC Annenberg for making honest, good points that I can actually remember and will probably apply in my own work.
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