Zhang d lis 560 assignment 1


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Zhang d lis 560 assignment 1

  1. 1. Zhang, 1Di ZhangInstructor: Lorraine BruceLIS 560 A24 January, 2011 The Information Behavior of Parent of Teenagers It is commonly said that being a parent is the most difficult job in the world. Parents ofteenagersface an especially difficult assignment, for the adolescent years are a period of rapidgrowth during which parents must expect the unexpected: the teenage mood swings, theoccasional inability of teens to foresee the consequences of theiractions, and the verbaloutbursts including the classic “I hate you, Mom/Dad!” This, according to Dr. Giedd of theNational Institute of Mental Health, is because just before puberty there is an over-productionof cells in an area of the brain called the frontal cortex, a “second wave” of over-production(Spinks, 2002).1The frontal cortex is the “all-important part of the brain” that sits behind theforehead and is responsible for planning and decision-making. Dr. Giedd uses the analogy of atree—the over-production of extra “branches” during adolescence necessitates pruning, andthat pruning determines the future wiring of the adolescent’s brain. This pruning is an ongoingprocess that is directed by the adolescent’s activities (or lack thereof), their informationenvironment, and the parental supervision, guidance, and support they receive. Parents todayare working more hours to support their families compared to previous generations. As a result,many teensfind themselves with more free unsupervised time during a period in their liveswhen they are most likely to experiment with risky behaviors (APA, 2002).2This dilemmamakes1The “first wave” begins in the womb and ends during infancy.2APA stands for American Psychological Association[Type text]
  2. 2. Zhang, 2raising a teen a complex and difficult balancing act. Parents of young adults thus have a diverseset of needs that require a similarly diverse set of information literacy skills, several of which Iaddress in this paper.A Note on the Literature Review and the direction of this paper: In this paper, I will be primarily focused on the needs and behaviors of teens inexplaining the information needs of parents.3The reasoning for this is two-fold: firstly, parentsare defined by their relationships with their children. Their information behavior is inextricablylinked to and often dependent upon the behavior of their children, who are undergoing rapidphysical, cognitive, and emotional development under their care and guidance. Secondly, whilethere have been numerous studies on parents, surprisingly few of them have focused on theinformation seeking, needs, and behavior of parents. Case (2008), in his textbook oninformation seeking, needs, and behavior, cites only studies that are centered on parenting.One of the studies is about homeless parents while the other is primarily concerned with theinformation behavior of children (p. 303). Case also notes that teenagers are anotherunderstudied group (p. 304). For this reason, I have chosen to rely primarily on research doneby organizations such as the American Psychological Association (APA) and library professionalswho serve young adults rather than scholarly information behavior research.General Needs: In 2003, Shenton and Dixon set out to create a comprehensive typology of teens’information needs, arriving at eleven major types: advice, personal information, affective3 In this paper, the terms “teens” and “adolescents” will be used interchangeably.[Type text]
  3. 3. Zhang, 3support, empathetic understanding, support for skill development, school-related subjectinformation, inter-driven information, consumer information, self-development information,reinterpretations and supplementations of information, and verification information. All ofthese needs, with perhaps the exception of consumer information,are greatly facilitated byparental guidance. For instance, parents can help their children feel emotionally supported bylistening as much as possibleand showing acceptance, forgiveness, encouragement, andunconditional love. These skills could be improved by seeking information from guidancecounselors, pastors, as well as more experienced parents. Moreover, parents often underestimate the importance of validating and reinterpreting(putting their stamp on, so to speak) the information their children receive. Teens receive largeamounts of information from myriad sources, whether serendipitously, through independentsearches prompted by curiosity, being told by someone, or other ways. Parents need to be ableto monitor, filter, reinterpret, and determine the validity of this information. For example,Pattee (2006) found that teens desire more information about sex whether or not they aresexually active. She also found that while teens get a great deal of information about sex frommedia, they also seek supplementary information and critiques of media messages fromparents and friends, who are more trusted sources. Finally, according to the APA (2002), most adults agree about what kinds of things adultsshould do with young people— “encourage success in school, set boundaries, teach sharedvalues, teach respect for cultural differences, guide decision making, give financial guidance,and so on” (p. 7). However, when it comes to actually acting on these beliefs, most adults fall[Type text]
  4. 4. Zhang, 4short in giving young people the support they need. This may be due to the fact that thenumberof parental responsibilities has remained high while the amount time parents theyspend with their kids has decreased in recent generations. Parents may simply feel toooverwhelmed to over all the bases.The ability to identifying specific barriers to carrying outone’s full parental responsibilities and to find resources to lessen those barriers is highlyimportant.Risky behaviors: The APA considers the greatest factors to adolescent drug abuse to be “lack ofsupervision of youth, unclear expectations of youth behavior, and no (or only rare) rewarding ofpositive behavior” (p. 32). During the teenage years, the brain has not matured to the point atwhich it can optimally make decisions and foresee the consequences of those decisions. Thus,teens can sometimes overestimate their ability to handle new situations and new problems,especially since they are under significantly less supervision compared to previous generations.Parents need to monitor the whereabouts of their children to make sure that they are in safeenvironments and within reach of a trusted adult who can help them. Parents also need to beable to set clear expectations, boundaries, and consequences for the behaviors of their children.Lastly, the APA article argues that there is too much emphasis on the negatives of adolescenceand not enough rewards for good behavior. Parents must understand that risk-taking is anunavoidable andnecessary partofadolescent development, or “shaping identities” as APA calls it(p. 32). They need to guide and challenge adolescents in positive ways rather than focusing on[Type text]
  5. 5. Zhang, 5the negatives. Parents need to understand the benefits of positive reinforcement as a strategyof steering adolescents away from dangerous behaviors and toward more healthy behaviors.4Conclusion: Children often mention their parents when asked whom they admire. As one teen putsit: “I think you can put more trust in your mom than you can in anybody else” (Spinks, 2002).Parents are in a unique position to apply their information literacy skills in raising teens, firstlyto monitor and shape the information behavior of teens and secondly to locate, evaluate, anduse information for parenting. To summarize my earlier points, here are some important needs and skills that parentsof teens face as an information user group: Need:Supporting children emotionally. Skill: The ability to process and respond to affective information. Need: Monitoring and verifying information. Skill: The ability to evaluate information sources for value, reliability, and accuracy.4 A Note on Parental Information Behavior McDonough’s (2007) study is the only research that I found on specific information behaviors of parents.The study focused on the parents of young children. I hypothesize that similar results would be found if thesubjects were parents of teenagers. McDonough’s study found 5 general information needs by parents: 1) health-related information; 2.) product information; 3) school information; 4)child development information; 5) career-related information. Trends that the study found include: information needs are frequent and predictable, andoften oriented around family needs. McDonough also found that the internet was used as a primary informationsource, although family and friends were also important sources. Lastly, library usage was low in general and wasvirtually a nonfactor in information searches. McDonough’s findings were helpful in formulate the surveyquestions for my user group.[Type text]
  6. 6. Zhang, 6 Need:Acting on personal ideals of parenting. Skill: The ability to identifying information needs and to find and use the appropriate resources when facing specific barriers. Need: Making sure that children are supervised and knowing their whereabouts. Skill: The ability to track and store up-to-date information. Need: Setting expectations, boundaries, and consequences for teen’s behavior. Skill: The ability to record, store, and retrieve information. Need: Implement positive reinforcement in interactions with children. Skill: The ability to utilize qualitative information to develop strategies of action.[Type text]
  7. 7. Zhang, 7 ReferencesCase, D.O. (2008).Looking for Information: A Survey of Research on Information Seeking, Needs, and Behavior (2nd ed.). UK: Emerald Group Publishing Limited.Developing Adolescents: A Reference for Professionals. American Psychological Association. (2008). Retrieved from APA Web site: http://apa.org/pi/families/resources/develop.pdfMcDonough, H. (2007). “Dragging a Three-Year-Old to a Library”: The Information Behavior of Parents of Young Chidren. Southern Connecticut State University. Retrieved from: http://myriadeyes.com/MLSCapstonePortfolio/CoursesTaken/McDonough_ILS537_Gro up_Information_Behavior.htmPattee, A. (2006). The secret source: Sexually explicit young adult literature as an information source. Young Adult Library Services, 4, 30-38.A. Shanton and P. Dixon. Just what do they want? What do they need? A study of the information needs of children, Children and Libraries 1 (2003), pp. 36-42.Spinks, S. (2002). Frontline: Inside the Teenage Brain. Retrieved from PBS Web site: http://pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/teenbrain/etc/script.html[Type text]
  8. 8. Zhang, 8Survey: 1. What is your age range? a. 20-29 b. 30-39 c. 40-49 d. 50-59 e. 60-69 f. 70 or over 2. How many children do you have? 3. What are the ages of your children? 4. Which of the following types of information do you commonly need? a. health-related information b. product information c. school information d. child development information e. career-related information f. other information 5. If you answered “other” in the previous question, please specify. 6. How often do you use the Internet to seek information? a. several times a day b. once a day c. once or more per week d. once or more per month e. rarely f. never 7. How often do you seek information from family members? a. several times a day b. once a day c. once or more per week d. once or more per month e. rarely f. never 8. How often do you seek information from other parents? a. several times a day b. once a day c. once or more per week d. once or more per month[Type text]
  9. 9. Zhang, 9 e. rarely f. never 9. How often do you seek information from your child’s school? a. several times a day b. once a day c. once or more per week d. once or more per month e. rarely f. never 10. How often do you seek information from a library? a. several times a day b. once a day c. once or more per week d. once or more per month e. rarely f. never 11. Please briefly list a few examples of information that you found yourself needing or searching for in the past 3 weeks. 12. What sources of information did you use to search for this information? 13. Where these sources helpful? Why or why not? 14. What, if anything, could have improved your search? 15. If you can, please describe an incident in which you needed information quickly. Briefly describe how you went about searching for the information and how successful you were in finding it. 16. If you can, please describe an incident in which you had to give information to someone. Briefly describe the situation, including whether you were successful in giving the information. Survey URL: https://catalyst.uw.edu/webq/survey/zhangdi/122879[Type text]