So the bad news is that after more delays and groundings, I finally got home at about 1:30 a.m. yesterday morning. Oy. The good (?) news was that I got to sit next to 16-year old girl blogger from Seattle on the first leg of my flight and we had a really interesting talk about the state of adolescent journaling online. In a word, it seems she and her friends are “addicted” to their Myspace sites. Seems they spend more time than they should reading and commenting to each other, even though they’ve just seen each other at school. And she told me stories of her friends putting all sorts of private information and pictures online, even though she said she didn’t do that. And it seems they’re not doing a heck of a lot of blogging (v.), that most of what they do is just basically IM each other on their sites. I asked her if they used blogs at her school and she kind of chuckled. “Not really. I mean we read blogs sometimes; we use them for research.” I pressed her on how that worked, but she was vague on the details. At one point I was tempted to pull out my iPod and capture the conversation digitally, but I resisted. Would have been interesting. She was smart, the kind of kid whose blog probably would have been a pretty good read.
So when I told her about the article I’d just read that said that kids are doing a lot of real writing online, she said, “Oh, I used to do that at my Live Journal site.” Hmmm… Seems she wrote volumes in real sentences there. She told me, however, that even though she kept all of her posts private to just her friends, her mom found out about it when she read all the friends’ posts. That was pretty much the end of that. Now this girl consciously tries to not spend too much time at Myspace, even though, she admitted, it’s hard not to. She seemed surprised when I told her I was a blogger. She was also decidedly unimpressed when I told her what I blogged about. “Oh, that’s cool,” she said before moving on to a story about a girl whose mother found her “blog” and grounded her for a month.
So, what does this mean? I dunno. My brain is still numb from the trip. And much of this isn’t news, I know. But it was an interesting hour, one that just confirmed a lot of what I (we) already knew. But here’s the most telling moment, at least to me. As we were descending into Memphis, she goes “You know, I think you’re the only grown up blogger I’ve ever met.”
What a surprise…
Coach Brown says
I’ve been blogging about MySpace for a little while. If you are interested, I posted my concerns about it here:
It is very telling in terms of what students are really. After seeing some of the stuff, I’m not surprised that she was grounded for a month.
Terry Freedman says
The trouble with parents grounding their children — as opposed to dealing with the issues on an adult level! — is that children learn very quickly not to tell their parents about any of their online activity in case they get into trouble. So if they are “cyber-bullied” or approached by a paedophile via chat rooms, tey are not able to talk to their parents about it. This phenomenon is well-documented, and in an article on my website Nancy Willard gives some suggestions about what schools and parents can do (in the context of reducing cyber-bullying). The URL, in case it’s of interest, is:
and it contains further URLs for US-based educators.