Monday, December 01, 2008

Taking your picture for my phone

“Why are you wasting time reading that book when you could be checking your Facebook?” I bet you don’t imagine yourself asking that question! Trying to control your teen’s seemingly endless opportunities to chat, IM, text, call or email is mission impossible. And now for the good news, maybe it’s ok that they can text faster than you will ever type.

According to a recent article in the Chronicle of Philanthropy “Teenagers who spend hours online socializing are sharpening their ability to handle 21st-century communications”, based on a new study by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, in Chicago.

“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,” said Mizuko Ito, who led the study of 800 young Web users for MacArthur. “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.”

Let that sink in...shortly afer our seniors in high school were born practicallly everyone had cell phones, before DVD’s, CD players in cars, a computer in almost every home or wifi / internet in coffee shops! The shocking pace of technological changes is normal to them.

In their reality--you don’t have to memorize anyone’s phone, that’s what caller ID is for. You can watch what you want, when you want with TiVo, DVD’s and 24 hour cable. To them, life without cable is like a combination of child abuse and lack of indoor plumbing--cruel and untenable (parents MUST be lying when they say that they only had 3 networks growing up and that their parents got to choose what the family watched on their one TV).

So, next time you tell them “you spend too much texting/surfing/emailing” go ahead and add “and don’t make that face, it will freeze that way”-- even though neither may be true you’ll be upholding a long tradition in parenting.

(Article written for the PTA newsletter, TAG High School)

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