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February 18, 2018

High schoolers in the streets

My generation was mobilized politically by the threat of being sent to kill and die in Vietnam.

The new generation is being mobilized by the threat of being killed in their classrooms.

It would of course be foolish to assume that the political path of the new generation will follow that of the 1960s generation. There are so many differences. Here are two that seem to me to matter:

First, the draft was an institutionalized, bureaucratic mechanism that every male faced, by law, on his eighteenth birthday. A choice was forced on each young man. But school shootings are random, unpredictable.

Second, because the draft and the war it served were caused by the government, we knew whom to protest against and what had to be done. The way to end mass murders in schools isn’t as conveniently obvious. Yet there are some steps that a high school movement can and will focus on, beginning with making it harder to get a gun than to hack your parents’ Netflix account.

But those differences will not matter if this movement is indeed an expression of the outrage the high school generation feels. They are facing so much that I can’t even begin to list the issues — not that I need to since they are the issues++ that my generation faced, addressed, and in some cases made worse. Our children’s fear of being murdered in their schools is, horrifyingly, simply the identifiable face of the unfair world we are leaving them.

Hearing these young people speak out even before they have buried their friends brings me the saddest hope imaginable. At such an age to stand so strong together…they are fierce and beautiful and I will laugh and cry with joy as they change the world.

Of course I stand with them. Or, more exactly, I stand a respectful and supportive distance behind them. And not just on March 24:

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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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October 7, 2009

Ethanz on Don Tapscott on the passing of the couch potato

Ethan Zuckerman reports — and he’s the best live-blogger there is — on Don Tapscott‘s stories at the BIF-5 conference.

Here’s a snippet of Ethan reporting on Don:

“If you spend 24 hours a week being a passive participant, consuming tv – as Baby Boomers did – you get a certain sort of brain.” If you spend those hours searching, researching and building connections, you get a very different brain.

Tapscott wants to refute the idea that the internet is making kids dumb. There’s no data to support this, he tells us. Instead, we’re seeing radical societal change, especially around the structure of the family. Kids and parents get along as friends, and sometimes they move back in after graduation. He wonders, “is this the first time in history that we can learn from young people and their new culture of work and learning?”

By the way, Ethan told me the topics he was planning on covering in his own 20-minute BIF story. Fabulous. I hope he blogs that as well.