Technology Integration

Network News: The Implications of a New Report on Teens and Social Media

January 15, 2008

The Pew Internet and American Life Project always provides a wealth of resources for those of us interested in how technology affects our personal and family lives and our work. Every month or so, the project releases a research report focusing on one broad topic. These are interesting and valuable reports as we continue our quest toward harnessing the true power of technology in the classroom.

The latest report, "Teens and Social Media," is one of the most informative yet. Here are a few highlights:

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  • Teenagers continue to create more and more of the content on the Web. Now, 64 percent of surveyed teens create content, compared with 57 percent in 2004.
  • More than one-third of teenage girls are blogging, and about one out of four adolescent boys are.
  • The content these teens are creating and uploading is certainly not just stored online. It's put there for a reason: socializing. Nearly 90 percent of the teens that post photos online say that those images receive comments.
  • About 80 percent of students who share photos online restrict access to those photos at least some of the time.
  • Even with all the technological ways to socialize, teens still cite traditional face-to-face and phone communication as the most frequent ways for talking with friends outside school.

Questions that I wonder about and that I think need to be discussed in education circles include the following:

  • How much of that content is created in schools?
  • Are we keying into these digital minds and taking educational advantage of these young content creators?
  • What kinds of discussions, on subjects such as copyrights, safety, purpose, and so on, do teens take part in while creating and uploading content?

The report provides some outstanding discussion points for writing grants, considering policy, and informing board members and legislators about the continued need to use technology in a positive way at school. Be sure to read the full report. Do you have any thoughts on these findings?