Fiona Griswold EPSY 430 June 21, 2009 Social Effects of Technology on Young Adults: Presentation NotesI. Adolescents and Social NetworkingAiding Development or Putting Teens in Danger?The “horror” stories about teen use of social networking and other Internet sites like MySpace and Facebook aregenerally well publicized and are enough to cause any parent or educator to worry about adolescents’ use of thesetypes of sites. Case of Megan Meier who committed suicide after mother of classmate harassed her through aMySpace page.Most recent flurry of articles and research concerning cyber bullying and “sexting” (which can also lead to cyberbullying). Obviously, both are problems that should be addressed by parents, schools, and law enforcement--insome respects, technology moving faster than adults can keep up, but another way to look at these developmentsis that they are ongoing problems faced by adolescents, taken to the next level. Bullying to cyberspace, grantingsexual favors or engaging in other types of sex play to win approval leading to ruined reputations, etc--now easierfor word (and evidence) to spread…Recent research and some reassuring (and surprising) findings….1. Pew Internet project data from nationally representative sample of 935 teens (ages 12 to 17) and their parents.Telephone interviews conducted in October and November 2006. (Highly recommend anyone interested in thissubject review the full report (easy to read) but some interesting highlights) 93% of teens (ages 12-17) are internet users and 61% use it daily. Of the teens online, 64% report that they “create content” and more than 2/3 of creators engage in more than one kind of content creating. Girls more likely to create content than boys and younger teens (12-14) contribute nearly half of created content. Teens who are most active online are also highly active offline (no compelling evidence that online activity causes users to abandon other pursuits, in fact the opposite is often true). Teens restrict access to posted photos (at least some of the time) more often than adults Telephone is still the most frequently used form of communication when teens interact with friends.2. MacArthur Foundation : Digital Youth Project: 3-year, $50 million dollar study--800 teens and parents.Multiple parts, sub-studies. Age ranged from 8-20, used mixed methods approach to collect data. Concluded that time spent online is IMPORTANT FOR TEEN DEVELOPMENT. Youth use online media to extend friendships and interests. Engage in peer-based, self-directed learning. (summarize recommendations for parents/educators from MacArthur).How to allow teens to benefit from Internet sites while minimizing risks:Requires education, attention and open communication--the answer should not be to restrict access (Tynes article)because that would be preventing teens from receiving the benefits of Internet use and social networking…Tynes’ article nicely summarizes both the benefits and approaches that can/should be used to help minimizedrisks (real and perceived).
2. Teens and Video GamesAgain, video games have been much maligned in the press and with various parent and educator groups. Manynews stories that reach the general public focus on negative findings related to children and teens playing videogames (usually the focus of these articles is on violence in these games). Not to invalidate this concern, but theremight be more to the story:Again, back to Pew and a September 16, 2008 report (funded by MacArthur) which used a sample of 1,102teens ages 12 to 17 and a parent or guardian. Telephone survey conducted Nov 2007-Feb 2008. 97% of respondents played video games (99% of boys and 94% of girls) using consoles (like Wii), computers, handhelds (like Nintendo DS) or cellphone. Younger boys most likely to play, older girls least likely. Genres of games vary widely--top 5 genres (in order): Racing, Puzzle, Sports, Action, Adventure. Boys more likely than girls to play M-rated games. Usually a social activity (either together in person or together online) and half of online game players play with offline friends. Most parents engage in monitoring of the games their children play at least some of the time, more than half reported always checking the rating of a game before their child played, and most parents surveyed didn’t feel that the games had any affect on their kids. Most interestingly, study found that some “particular qualities of game play have a strong and consistent positive relationship to a range of civic outcomes”. (6) “Characteristics of game play and contexts in which teens play are strongly related to teens’ interest and engagement in civic and political activities” (7) Also, researchers questioned teens about civic experiences during game play such as guiding other player, having to make moral or ethical decisions, and learning about problems in society and social issues.While the survey did confirm some concerns about gaming (such as some teens--mostly boys--playing violentgames meant for adults) it goes a long way to debunk the long-held stereotype of the games as a social misfit,withdrawn from the real world and unconcerned with the day-to-day occurrences in or problems of the offlineworld.Other areas in which video gaming might be positive for adolescents: Therapeutic applications Instructional applications