Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Listen Up! Youth Media Network

"If I was going to survive, something was going to have to change...and it wasn't going to be me."

What does it mean to talk back? The videos I watched were about teenagers and sexuality. One of the prominent videos walked the viewer through the life of a teen named Matty, who questioned the sex of which he was born, and the appropriate gender expression that sex dictated (male; masculine). He was identified by his grandmother as being "feminine' since at least four years old. He stated that he has always felt different, rather, isolated, from those around him. The gender he was supposed to be did not match the gender he feels comfortable expressing, and e wants viewers to know that this is OK. Today, he appears comfortable expressing himself and urges others to accept all people as unique individuals rather then categorize, stereotype, and outcast those that are different from yourself.

Matty's Video- "The Walk Through Closet"

Listen Up! Does it talk back?

After navigating the Listen Up! website for a while, I noticed something unique. Compared to the majority of YouTube and adult media depictions of teens, these teens had a different message to deliver about themselves. They want viewers to see them as real. They were not trying to sell an image. Rather, they were talking from their hearts. I watched videos on teens and drugs, one in particular about teens and nicotine dependence. These series of 17- year -olds were not trying to look cool or show off for the camera. They were talking about the real life, day to day struggles they face with their addiction. They said things like "I wish I could stop", and they were aware of the negative side effects, yet they still found themselves smoking. This doesn't sound like an adults portrayal of teens and smoking to me.
In addition to teens and drugs, there were videos on suicide, sexuality, and even one about teens as digital natives. Listen Up! is a portal for teens to post real-life autobiographies with one another. Its an outlet where teens can connect through shared experiences and learn about those of other teens. It houses diversity and generates open mindedness in a safe space. Teens really share their personal stories and analyses in a remarkable way here-in a way we have not seen much of this semester until now.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Final Project-Teens and social class

Here is our group: Katrina, Jess and Elena and I. We are investigating the relationship between teens and social class, and the way media portrays this relationship, both from an introspective and observational perspective. We will be using video clips from "People Like Us"- one of which is called Tammy's story, and we will be comparing this media to another media clip from the film for some contrast. We will also be utilizing a handful of analytical pieces from Jean Anyon and Gregory Mantsios to pick apart the constructs media chose to emphasize in this film, and also to highlight the oppressive (or very beneficial) nature of social class orientation with regards to education and social/cultural capital.
Here is the entire video segment on YouTube (it was too large to embed)

Monday, April 6, 2009

Youth & Social Networking - Henry Jenkins interview

I enjoyed reading this interview between Henry Jenkins and Danna Boyd. I was unaware of the Deleting Online Predators Act (DOPA) prior to reading the information contained in their interview. In my opinion, I agree with the two of them. Access to online networking sites offers a host of supplemental resources to the education setting. From interactive sites like Blogger and Wikispaces, teachers can expand on topics derived in class. Such modes of expansion include furthered outside conversation within classmates and teacher, supplemental video/text that can be easily accessed and posted/discussed by everyone, and those who are less likely to speak out in class have a chance to post their ideas. By passing the DOPA legislation, all of this valuable education is likely to be lost, rather then expanded upon. DOPA legislation is also cl assist to a certain extent, because it limits the access to public spaces in Federally Funded locations, I.E. schools and libraries. Kids who use these means to communicate will be disconnected, leaving only those privileged enough to have a computer in their homes. The poverty stricken, lower, and working classes should not have to suffer through another act of oppression in the classroom, which is what this law would be perpetuating.

In regards to the central point of the legislature, the "Predator"t, I think this part of the interview sums this up sufficiently:

"Predators do not use online information to abduct children; children face a much higher risk of abduction or molestation from people they already know – members of their own family or friends of the family. Statistically speaking, kids are more at risk at a church picnic or a boy scout outing than they are when they go on MySpace. Less than .01% of all youth abductions nationwide are stranger abductions and as far as we know, no stranger abduction has occurred because of social network services. The goal of a predator is to get a child to consent to sexual activities. Predators contact teens (online and offline) to start a conversation. Just as most teens know to say no to strange men who approach them on the street, most know to ignore strange men who approach them online."
The article argues that the 86 million people (mainly teens and young adults) who use sites like MySpace and Facebook are very safe in their navigation through these sites, and that kids use the same common sense while online as they would offline. Fear is a powerful agonist; just a small dose is enough to diffuse like wildfire in a country that has grown accustomed to being on edge-in our country. It would be a shame to lose such valuable, thought provoking resources like the above mentioned to such an exsaderated, unrealistic fear.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Teens in the news!

1)ORANGE COUNTY- Teen sends 14, 528 texts in one month
This 13 year old girl sent these messages, which average about 1 text every two minutes of awake time. While this may seem less drastic then the whopping total of 14,528, think about it like this: This girl is in school for the majority of that "awake" time, which has people speculating about how much she is learning while in classes. It also has people judging her parents, saying that they are unfit if they allow this girl to continue to have access to a cell phone. Lucky for her parents, they have her on a plan with unlimited text messaging!
---> referring back to "Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants", we know that teens these days communicate more through technology then through personal conversations. Based on this article, how excessive is this case? Is it common for this age group? Just like the teen who can listen to their IPOD while studying, can a teenager text this frequently and still be learning as much as someone who isn't? Should cell phones be allowed in school?

2)IDAHO-Teen charged with the murder of her parents
16 year old Sarah Johnson was convicted of shooting her parents to death. The reason: They prevented her from seeing an older guy, who was 19 years old at the time. He was a Mexican illigal immigrant from the poor side of town. He also allegedly sold drugs and dropped out of school, according to the article. Sarah's friends didn't understand why she would be interested in such a guy, and neither did her parents, which is why they threatened to go to the police if he went near her again. They never made it to the police station.
---> We talked in class about the underdeveloped parts of teenagers' brains, particularly the frontal lobes, particularly the prefrontal cortex. This area can be thought of as the executive center of the brain -- the part of the brain that's responsible for planning, organizing, anticipating the consequences of one's actions. Could this be a defense for the actions of this 16 year old?

3)NEW JERSEY- Girl posts nude pics, is charged with kid porn
A 14-year-old New Jersey girl has been accused of child pornography after posting nearly 30 explicit nude pictures of herself on MySpace.com — charges that could force her to register as a sex offender if convicted.The teen, whose name has not been released because of her age, was arrested and charged with possession of child pornography and distribution of child pornography. She was released to her mother's custody.
If convicted of the distribution charge, she would be forced to register with the state as a sex offender under Megan's Law, said state Attorney General Anne Milgram. She also could face up to 17 years in jail, though such a stiff sentence is unlikely.Some observers — including the New Jersey mother behind the creation of Megan's Law — are criticizing the trend of prosecuting teens who send racy text messages aka "sext" messages, or post illicit photos of themselves.
Maureen Kanka — whose daughter, Megan, became the law's namesake after she was raped and killed at age 7 in 1994 by a twice-convicted sex offender — blasted authorities for charging the 14-year-old girl.
---> Do you think that charging a teenager who voluntarily posts pictures of themselves on the Internet(or texts these pictures to others) should be charged with distribution of child pornography? Registered as a sex offender?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

"19 minutes" by Jodi Picoult

I just finished reading this amazingly riveting novel, and I was struck by how much of the book's content can be related to the topics discussed in class. One of the main themes of this book is bullying, and most of the characters unveiled are teenagers. The reader is taken back in time and discovers the horrors associated with being bullied, and learns of the everlasting effects that it has on its victims. While this is a fiction novel, it raises the argument that the effects of one single act of bullying, harassing, or tormenting can be as devastating and detrimental on the victim as an act of sexual assault. In this novel, we get to know Peter, a compassionate, emotional and sensitive boy, whom his mother describes as having "all of the desireable characteristics of a 35 year old man". The only trouble she said, was getting him to that point so he and his peers could realize it. We travel with Peter from birth through age 18, and we empathize with him because he is the kid who never fit in; the kid who is the target of physical, verbal and emotional harassment; the kid who shot 10 people dead at his high school one morning. We begin to understand how a boy could be capable of executing such a horrific act; how anyone could be capable of executing such a horrific act. We learn of the events that took place that fateful morning through the lens of a judge, a defense attorney, a detective, a mother, a father, a best friend, a bully, and Peter himself. This book is full of gray areas just itching to be discussed. How far would you go to be popular? How far would you go to avoid being the "Peter" of your school? How far does bullying go? Who stops it? Are Peter's parents to blame? Is the school?