Social Media, Social Life: A New Common Sense Media Report

Common Sense Media has released a 2018 report on teens and their social media habits, called Social Media, Social Life: Teens Reveal Their Experiences, an update of a report originally produced in 2012. You will need to create a free account in order to access the full report, but you can read this article, written by Caroline Knorr, aimed at parents without logging in: “What teens really think about their social media lives.” In particular, this article points out eight different strategies for parents who want to support their teens as they navigate the omnipresence of social media in their lives.

Here are some key take-aways from the full report:

• 81% of teens use social media, with 70% saying they use it multiple times a day, up from 34% in 2012. And 89% have their own smartphone, more than doubling since 2012.

• The proportion of teens who prefer in-person interaction has dropped from 49% in 2012 to 32% in 2018. Texting is now the favorite mode of communication.

• 57% of teens using social media say that it distracts them when they should be doing homework.

• 29% of teen smartphone users have been woken up by their phones during the night by a call, text or notification.

• 33% of teens say they wish their parents would spend less time on their devices, up from 21% in 2012.

Educators may want to read this article by Jeff Knutson: “What new research on teens and social media means for teachers.”

Lisa Damour’s Next Book

Lisa Damour, author of Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood, has a new book coming out in February 2019 called Under Pressure: Confronting the Epidemic Of Stress And Anxiety In Girls. Here’s some info from Random House:

Though anxiety has risen among teens and young adults overall, studies confirm that it has skyrocketed in girls. Research finds that the number of girls who said that they often felt nervous, worried, or fearful jumped 55 percent from 2009 to 2014 while the comparable number for adolescent boys has remained unchanged. As a clinical psychologist who specializes in working with girls, Lisa Damour, Ph.D., has witnessed this rising tide of stress and anxiety in her own research, in private practice, and in the all-girls’ school where she consults. She knew this had to be the topic of her new book.

In the engaging, anecdotal style and reassuring tone that won over thousands of readers of her first book, Untangled, Damour starts by addressing the facts about psychological pressure. She explains the surprising and underappreciated value of stress and anxiety: that stress can helpfully stretch us beyond our comfort zones, and anxiety can play a key role in keeping girls safe. When we emphasize the benefits of stress and anxiety, we can help our daughters take them in stride.

But no parents want their daughter to suffer from emotional overload, so Damour then turns to the many facets of girls’ lives where tension takes hold: their interactions at home, pressures at school, social anxiety when among other girls and among boys, and social media. As readers move through the layers of girls’ lives, they’ll learn about critical coping strategies that will help their daughters alleviate or prevent anxiety attacks, alongside tips on how to shield them from perfectionism and the toxic pressures to which our culture—including we, as parents—subjects girls.

Readers who know Damour from Untangled or the New York Times, or from her regular appearances on CBS News, will be drawn to this important new contribution to understanding and supporting today’s girls.

Lisa Damour’s Untangled was one of the best books for anyone who lives with or works with teen girls that I’ve ever read, so I’m looking forward to Under Pressure.

iPhone: Emergency SOS and Emergency Contacts

If you are a user of iOS because you or your children have an iPhone, you should make sure that you are familiar with the ways to access the emergency services.

First, you should make sure that you know how to Use Emergency SOS on your iPhone. This lets you quickly call emergency services such as 911.

Next, you should always set up Set Up Emergency Contacts on your phone. You do this through the Health app. Whenever a phone sends an Emergency SOS, it not only calls the emergency service (such as 911), it also automatically sends a text message with the iPhone’s location to the Emergency Contacts. For a limited time, the Emergency Contact will also be updated if your location changes.

Finally, if you have an Apple Watch, you can Send an Emergency SOS on your Apple Watch. In order to make an Emergency SOS call, the Watch needs one of the following:

• To be in proximity to your iPhone

• To be connected to a WiFi network and have WiFi calling set-up

• To be cellularly connected

As with an iPhone, after an Emergency SOS is sent from an Apple Watch, the Watch automatically sends a message to your Emergency Contacts with your location, and will update if your location changes.

danah boyd on the online lives of teenagers

danah boyd‘s most recent book is It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens.

Here are three papers that she has co-written that are freely available.

Social Privacy in Networked Publics: Teens’ Attitudes, Practices, and Strategies by danah boyd & Alice E. Marwick

This paper examines how teens understand privacy in highly public networked environments like Facebook and Twitter. We describe both teens’ practices, their privacy strategies, and the structural conditions in which they are embedded, highlighting the ways in which privacy, as it plays out in everyday life, is related more to agency and the ability to control a social situation than particular properties of information. Finally, we discuss the implications of teens’ practices and strategies, revealing the importance of social norms as a regulatory force.

The Drama! Teen Conflict, Gossip, and Bullying in Networked Publics by Alice E. Marwick & danah boyd

While teenage conflict is nothing new, today’s gossip, jokes, and arguments often play out through social media like Formspring, Twitter, and Facebook. Although adults often refer to these practices with the language of “bullying,” teens are more likely to refer to the resultant skirmishes and their digital traces as “drama.” Drama is a performative set of actions distinct from bullying, gossip, and relational aggression, incorporating elements of them but also operating quite distinctly. While drama is not particularly new, networked dynamics reconfigure how drama plays out and what it means to teens in new ways. In this paper, we examine how American teens conceptualize drama, its key components, participant motivations for engaging in it, and its relationship to networked technologies. Drawing on six years of ethnographic fieldwork, we examine what drama means to teenagers and its relationship to visibility and privacy. We argue that the emic use of “drama” allows teens to distance themselves from practices which adults may conceptualize as bullying. As such, they can retain agency – and save face – rather than positioning themselves in a victim narrative. Drama is a gendered process that perpetrates conventional gender norms. It also reflects discourses of celebrity, particularly the mundane interpersonal conflict found on soap operas and reality television. For teens, sites like Facebook allow for similar performances in front of engaged audiences. Understanding how “drama” operates is necessary to recognize teens’ own defenses against the realities of aggression, gossip, and bullying in networked publics.

Six Provocations for Big Data by danah boyd & Kate Crawford

The era of Big Data has begun. Computer scientists, physicists, economists, mathematicians, political scientists, bio-informaticists, sociologists, and many others are clamoring for access to the massive quantities of information produced by and about people, things, and their interactions. Diverse groups argue about the potential benefits and costs of analyzing information from Twitter, Google, Verizon, 23andMe, Facebook, Wikipedia, and every space where large groups of people leave digital traces and deposit data. Significant questions emerge. Will large-scale analysis of DNA help cure diseases? Or will it usher in a new wave of medical inequality? Will data analytics help make people’s access to information more efficient and effective? Or will it be used to track protesters in the streets of major cities? Will it transform how we study human communication and culture, or narrow the palette of research options and alter what ‘research’ means? Some or all of the above?

This essay offers six provocations that we hope can spark conversations about the issues of Big Data. Given the rise of Big Data as both a phenomenon and a methodological persuasion, we believe that it is time to start critically interrogating this phenomenon, its assumptions, and its biases.

Pope Francis’s Eco-Manifesto

Pope Francis’s Eco-Manifesto Looks Like a Game-Changer in the U.S. by John L. Allen Jr.

Now that Pope Francis finally has released his long-awaited encyclical letter on the environment, blaming “unfettered greed” for mounting pollution, global warming, and climate change, and framing strong limits on fossil fuels and greenhouse gases as a clear moral imperative, the question becomes: So what?

Despite a remarkable degree of hype in the run-up to Thursday’s presentation of Laudato Si’, the title of the pontiff’s 184-page ecological manifesto — which, among other things, caused the Vatican website to crash in response to massive demand to read the text — it’s still reasonable to wonder whether the pope’s exhortations will have any real-world impact.

After all, other moral authorities have weighed in on the same issues for some time, and it’s not as if the planet is notably cooler or cleaner as a result.

At least in the United States, however, there are three arenas where Laudato Si’ seems likely to have an immediate echo: the 2016 presidential race, the pope’s trip to the country in September, and the management of Catholic facilities all across America.

You can read Pope Francis’s ecological encyclical Laudato Si’ in its entirety online in English from the Vatican website. The official English title is “ENCYCLICAL LETTER LAUDATO SI’ OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS ON CARE FOR OUR COMMON HOME”.

The title Laudato Si’ comes from a song written by St. Francis; here’s an English translation of the first lines: “Praise be to you, my Lord, through our Sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us, and who produces various fruit with coloured flowers and herbs.”

Teaching Writing with Radio

The English Journal, published by the National Council of Teachers of English, has made available for free an article from the May 2015 issue called Teaching Writing with Radio by Sarah Levine and Johanna (Jones) Franzel.

This article makes a case for using radio as a framework to teach writing in school. Teachers with no radio experience can help their students draw on “real world” radio standards to write strong, specific, and effective pieces, and then use everyday technology to share students’ stories with the world.

The Vintage Sweater of Achilles

“Behold my stall,” the proprietor said
To Achilles’ mom. “I have just what your
Sweet birthday boy desires—the coolest stuff.
I have ridden on the L train enough
And people always stare, so trust me, I
Know what I’m talking about. Socks, knee-high?
Sure, they have been worn before by other
Feet. As a loving and concerned mother,
You don’t want him to fall ill through his heel.
Imagine how bad that would make you feel!”

The Vintage Sweater of Achilles by Colin Stokes 
excerpt from The New Yorker, June 16, 2015.