Tuesday, April 21, 2009

In Class Project

I think that teenagers are able to use other sites like youtube to get out their thoughts and put their homemade videos. However, unlike listen up, youtube isn't completely devoted to teenagers. By having listen up teens can easily go and find other work done by their peers. It is also sponsored by people who appreciate and realize that teenagers have voices that need to be heard. Also on the site there are links to other projects that are being done to raise awareness about teen issues through media.

Monday, April 20, 2009

10. Listen Up

So I didn't really like this site or find any interesting videos. Being the raging homo that I am, the first thing I searched for was "gay", but alas I didn;t really find anything interesting there. There was a documentary about a center for GLBT teens in Minneapolis which wasn't bad. I did find one that completely relates to Prensky though, it's called We Are Digital Natives and they probably did it after reading Prensky's piece.

I understand the "talking back" part because these kids use this site and their videos to get their messages out and voice their opinions about whatever they want.

Monday, April 6, 2009

9. Henry Jenkins Interview and "Testing Horace Mann"

In his interview, Henry Jenkins talks about Myspace and why kids use it, the appeal behind it and he also discusses the controversy surrounding it. He says there are some educational benefits for kids who are on social networking sites, and teachers who realize this are starting to integrate technology into their classrooms more. Also, he talks about the dangers associated with it and how parents can learn to use it and protect their kids from pedophiles and predators.

The Testing Horace Mann article was about a Facebook scandal at a private school, where students were using Facebook to slam their teachers and when the teachers found out, they wanted the students punished. However, it was hard because the parents of these students were all very prominent, and many served on the board and had a lot of weight. As a result of this, they wanted teachers that were named on Facebook fired, because they accessed the students' pages, but their own children did not get punished for writing the obscene material.

I didn't understand why the teachers were getting in so much trouble for looking at the students' Facebook pages. The pages were public and the teachers have every right to be on the site; it is open to everyone after all.

Both articles relate to Prensky's "Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants". Teenagers are the majority of users on myspace and Facebook and this is because they are the digital natives Prensky talks about. Also, in "Testing Horace Mann" the teachers had to go to a meeting where they were taught by someone from the technology department about how to access Facebook and make their own accounts. The teachers are the digital immigrants.

I find it really funny that in the almost 3 years since the Henry Jenkins' interview, some of his answers are no longer applicable. Danah said, "MySpace has over 78 million registered accounts while Facebook has approximately 8 million. While over 85% of college students participate on Facebook if it exists on their campus" however it doesn't matter anymore if you're in college or what to be on Facebook. I remember it was a big thing my senior year of high school when Facebook started letting high schoolers on and it was awesome for me because a bunch of my friends were in college. Actually, at the time this was posted high schoolers were being allowed to use it, and had been for at least a few months.

I also found it funny that they say "young people feel more comfortable sharing aspects of their lives (for example, their sexual identities) that previous generations would have kept secret" in regards to Myspace. I was the same way for Facebook at least, once I changed my interested in to women it was like whatever I don't care who knows, and i first did that while I was still attending my Catholic college and basically no one was out. Also by doing that, other family members (like cousins and such) could see it, but I didn't care anymore. I have told all of my immediate family, except for my brother who I never really see or talk to, but hey, he has Facebook too so he can see it.

The "Testing Horace Mann" article reminds me of my own hometown, where the police troll Facebook pages and groups and then people complain about what is being said online and the pictures that are up in the town newspaper because that is apparently the only thing newsworthy in Barrington. On the one hand I understand why they're all so upset about what i being said online, and I think the kids are stupid when they put up pictures that can clearly get them into trouble, but at the same time they still need an outlet to vent, and sites like Facebook are the places they do that.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

8. News Articles

1. Teenagers’ Internet Socializing Not a Bad Thing
This article, written by Tamar Lewin, says that teens may spend a lot of time on their computers and phones, but this behavior isn't bad, like parents think. Mizuko Izo, lead researcher on the study, “Living and Learning With New Media" say, “It may look as though kids are wasting a lot of time hanging out with new media, whether it’s on MySpace or sending instant messages...But their participation is giving them the technological skills and literacy they need to succeed in the contemporary world. They’re learning how to get along with others, how to manage a public identity, how to create a home page.”

This article relates to the Prensky piece, "Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants" because it talks about how teenagers are the digital natives and they are on their computers all the time, instant messaging, and texting but they also use the computer to learn how to do things for themselves. According to Prensky, "the single biggest problem facing education today is that our Digital immigrant instructors, who speak an outdated language (that of a pre-digital age), are struggling to teach a population that speaks an entirely new language" (Prensky 2). Lewin wrote "“New media allow for a degree of freedom and autonomy for youth that is less apparent in a classroom setting,” the study said. “Youth respect one another’s authority online, and they are often more motivated to learn from peers than from adults". Teenagers are turning to their peers to learn more, especially about computers and technology, because adults are less likely to know how to do it.

2. Column: Cell phones a hazard for teen drivers only? Yeah, right
This piece by Ric Anderson is his attempt to denounce the laws that prohibit only teen drivers from using phones and other technology while driving. In it he is driving while talking on the phone and getting distracted by all these other gadgets he has. He does it to show that to say that all teens are reckless, unskilled drivers and that all adults are capable of driving while talking on their phones is ridiculous. He says, "Anyway, I'm sure some people will say the lawmakers were gutless and should have made it illegal for drivers of any age to use cell phones. But everybody knows that once you reach a certain age, you become a safe and responsible driver with the ability to handle all sorts of electronic gadgetry and drive at the same time. I mean, duh."

This article relates to Prensky as well, but instead of saying that only adolescents use technology and it interferes with their driving, Anderson points out that adults have many forms of entertainment and communication that they too use while driving, and being adults does not mean they can handle it any better or are better drivers and can therefore multitask.

3. VINELAND: Police, SPCA file charges against teenager who drowned friend's kitten
A 16 year old girl is getting charged after stealing and killing her friend's 1-month old kitten. The friend called the police after the 16 y.o. left and when they went to her foster parent's house they found the dead kitten in the front yard. SPCA officers took the kitten away. The girl wouldn't tell why she did it, but did say that she drowned it in the bathroom sink. DCYF also showed up and the girl was going to be evaluated. She also said she didn't want to return to her foster parents.

Monday, March 30, 2009

7. Greenfield: Fast Forward

Lauren Greenfield's photos for Fast Forward capture kids and teenagers in L.A. and though these photos Greenfield shows "the early loss of innocence in a media-saturated society and how kids are affected by the culture of materialism, the cult of celebrity, and the emphasis on image". The phenomenon that is most seen in these photos is "getting older younger"; her photos show young girls obsessed with their weight and appearances. The young boys seem to only care about women, and have posters of half naked women on their walls, even thought they're ten.

She contrasts the rich, white kids with the poorer, ethnic ones and while these photos show how these teenagers are different, they can also be used to show the similarities between all different types of kids, no matter the age, class, or race. She says in her artist statement, "thanks to programs like Sex and the City and its widespread popularity among teenagers, one doesn’t have to grow up in Beverly Hills to know Prada and Jimmy Choo and desire them. Versace and DKNY are worn in the inner-city of South Central L.A. Starbucks, Gap, Puff Daddy and J-Lo unite Kansas City and Edina, Minnesota, rich and poor".

I understand that kids want to be older and everything, but I don't get why parents give in and let their kids dress (or not dress as it seems) in clothes that are revealing and inappropriate for ten year olds and give their kids whatever they want. This is just one of many subjects that makes me really upset.

Greenfield's artist statement relates to the third assumption, that media matters and popular culture is not just a form of entertainment; "Film, television, music, advertising, fashion and other forms of popular culture shape the daily lives of all Americans whether we celebrate or resist the influence". Greenfield says, "By the time I was done, this body of work had become about something that went beyond L.A.; the early loss of innocence in a media-saturated society and how kids are affected by the culture of materialism, the cult of celebrity, and the emphasis on image".

I thought it was disturbing how focused on weight the little girls were and especially in that one photo, how the parents seem to go along with it.

Sunday, March 29, 2009


So I saw a commercial for multivitamins for teens, it was like the his and her KY but with vitamins. I tried to find the actual commercial online, but instead I found this, which is someone else ranting about it.

Also this person goes off on it, and even references the actual site.

Monday, March 2, 2009

6. Sittenfeld: "Prep"

Curtis Sittenfeld's Prep starts a month into Lee's first year at Ault, a boarding school in Massachusetts. Lee is a poor girl from Indiana on scholarship surrounded by rich kids; talking to Cross, she says "So you always knew you would go to boarding school?" to which he replies, "Pretty much" (53). Lee struggles to fit in and find friends. In the beginning, she also has a little struggle with her sexuality, over her obsession with Gates.

Lee says, "All of this was still in the beginning of the year, the beginning of my time at Ault, when I was exhausted all the time by both my vigilance and my wish to be inconspicuous. At soccer practice, I worried that I would miss the ball, when we boarded the bus for games at other schools, I worried that I would take a seat by someone who didn't want to sit next to me, in class I worried I would say a wrong or foolish thing. I worried that I took too much food at meals, or that I did not disdain the food you were supposed to disdain-Tater Tots, key lime pie-and at night, I worried that Dede or Sin-Jun would hear me snore. I always worried someone would notice me, and then when no one did, I felt lonely" (15). I feel bad for her because she is so far from home, and it sucks to be in that situation even if you are at a public school close to home.

I don't understand why Lee's parents aren't more supportive of her, or if she's so lonely why she doesn't call home more often.

This relates to Hine's The Rise and Fall of the American Teenager; in the chapter "The Teenage Mystique", Hine talked about how after WWII there "was the assumption that all young people, regardless of their class, location, or ethnicity, should have essentially the same experience, spent with people exactly their age, in an environment defined by high school and pop culture" (Hine 11). Prep shows that this is not true. These students go to the same school but do not have the same experiences. The students at Ault are separated by rich and poor. Dede does not have the same experience as Gates and Lee certainly doesn't. Even Sin-Jun and Lee have different experiences, even though they both have few friends.

I think after spending the holiday with Cross and his friends, Lee sees that boys are easier to get along with and are not judgmental like all the girls in her dorm. They hung out with her and were able to joke around and not care that she was not all done up and rich. I was also a little disappointed when Lee's interest in Gates faded and then after the day trip she started to like Cross (and he possibly liked her too). It was interesting, but I would've liked it better if it had a lesbian romance or even had Lee turn out to be gay.