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July 28, 2010

Young’uns over-rely on Google

Eszter Hargittai and her team have done research that shows that digital youngsters are not as savvy as we would like them to be, over-relying on Google’s rank ordering of results, etc.

It’s important to have actual data to look at — thanks, Eszter! — even though it confirms what we should all probably know by now: When it comes to information, we’re a lazy, sloppy species that vastly over-estimates its own wisdom.

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July 4, 2010

Who’s cool?

Has the word “cool” flipped its meaning?

It’s been a slang word for an extraordinarily long time — itself a cool outsider, leaning against a wall, hanging back from the world. To be cool was to be unexcited by what doesn’t matter, which meant you were alienated from the mainstream, conformist culture that was constantly being urged to a phony enthusiasm by the broadcast media.

Now, I’m told by reliable sources, the cool kids are the popular ones within the mainstream culture, not the rebels — the cheerleaders, not the hipsters. In fact, I’m told that the hipsters are not what they used to be.

So, what is the archetype of the cool rebel these days? Who is today’s James Dean? Or has mainstream youth culture become so tribalized and alienated that there isn’t a mainstream to rebel against?


June 26, 2010

Youth, risky behavior, and the Net

The Risky Behaviors and Online Safety track of the Youth and Media Policy Working Group at Berkman omg, with a nested title like that the Center seems so big! has released four essays. From an email from danah boyd:

These four essays provide crucial background information for understanding the challenges of implementing education and public health interventions in the area of online safety. I hope you will read them because they are truly mind-expanding pieces. Please feel free to share these with anyone you see fit!

“Moving Beyond One Size Fits All With Digital Citizenship” by Matt Levinson and Deb Socia link This essay addresses some of the challenges that educators face when trying to address online safety and digital citizenship in the classroom.

“Evaluating Online Safety Programs” by Tobit Emmens and Andy Phippen link This essay talks about the importance of evaluating interventions that are implemented so as to not face dangerous unintended consequences, using work in suicide prevention as a backdrop.

“The Future of Internet Safety Education: Critical Lessons from Four Decades of Youth Drug Abuse Prevention” by Lisa M. Jones link This essay contextualizes contemporary internet safety programs in light of work done in the drug abuse prevention domain to highlight best practices to implementing interventions.

“Online Safety: Why Research is Important” by David Finkelhor, Janis Wolak, and Kimberly J. Mitchell link This essay examines the role that research can and should play in shaping policy.

The next day, two more reports came out from an email from Seth Young:

The first addresses “sexting,” including its legal implications, and was prepared by our Cyberlaw Clinic assistant director Dena Sacco, with a crack team of clinical students: link.

The second is a draft literature review on online safety that builds on the one danah and Andrew Schrock previously prepared for the Internet Safety Technical Task Force: link

So, there goes your weekend.


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