Texting: Effects on Our Youth

The above photo showing a toddler’s fascination with a cell phone is  perfect transition into a question that many people want to know the answer to: is texting negatively affecting our youth? As a student in a New Media class and as the big sister of a teenager who would rather send a text than have a face-to-face conversation, I am also curious to find the answer to this question. Although I believe it’s necessary for youth to be technologically literate, studies have been done to prove that excessive texting comes with its fair share of  risks.

As I planned my strategy for finding answers to this pressing question, I couldn’t help but think back to Nicholas Carr’s article “Is Google Making Us Stupid.” My first thought was to Google “kids texting,” which isn’t exactly the most academically correct way to research. After refining my search to “kids+texting+effects” on Google Scholar, I found a few articles that I believe would be helpful in researching the topic.

Acquired Cognitive Behavior Changes

The link above leads to an article about studies that have shown a less accurate response in cognitive function tasks for kids who use their phones excessively. The interesting part of this article is that the studies also show a faster response rate, which can display an advantage of technological literacy.

Kids Connected, Parents Concerned

This second article highlights the possible dangers of excessive texting, including loss of focus and troubles with spelling. This article would be helpful and interesting in research because it refers to excessive texting as an “addiction,” something with which I would agree, and it also offers real-life experiences with the problem from a fifteen year old texter.

Effects of New Tech

This third link leads to an interesting article that would benefit a researcher. The author recognized concerns of adults that new technology leads to isolation. He then weighs these concerns against opinions of skilled therapists. Based upon research, these opinions will be valid and beneficial to a research paper.

Finally, the link below leads to a YouTube video voicing some common concerns about texting as children. (I found this link by searching “kids texting” on YouTube; sorry Nicholas Carr!)

Late Night Texting Affecting Teens Health

A break from the Windy City

Mom and I during my trip home for the Cleveland Cavaliers game.

This weekend I took a break from the Ramen diet and 10×10 dorm room to visit my family back in Cleveland. I love being a student but nothing beats sleeping in my own bed!

Dangerously Competent: Youth Access to the World Wide Web

“Alyssa Fletcher commented on your status update!” This is the message I saw displayed on my iPhone before sitting down to start this post. As a college student, I most often have my cell phone and lap top near at hand.

I’ll gladly admit that I dramatically rolled my eyes at the word “technopanic” at the beginning of Marwick’s article. As I read on, I was pleased to discover that Marwick seems to share my opinion that panic over the “dangers” of technology  has been exaggerated over the past two decades. Passionate “Mommy bloggers” publish non-credible opinions all over the internet about what can happen to our youth if the government doesn’t restrict access to social networking websites considered “harmful to minors.” The question is, what exactly does “harmful to minors” mean anyway? Politicians continuously try to pass laws creating barriers on the internet, but the Supreme Court still has yet to come up with a definition for the term.

Before I continue my argument, be sure not to confuse me with some crazy liberal. When I become a mother, I sure as hell don’t want my six year olds looking at cyber porn or meeting strangers on MySpace. But I do believe that restrictions are being made on the internet for the wrong reasons. As Marwick mentioned, the movement is more of a “fear of modernity” rather than a fear of predators.

Children are becoming increasingly literate when it comes to technology, and adults feel threatened by their knowledge and the power shift that can result from it. For this reason, the media publicizes all of the bad news that comes from websites, especially MySpace. We have seen countless stories about predators meeting up with and causing harm to minors, but many of these stories have proven to be inaccurate. In society today, almost everyone we know has some kind of online account. With such a large population of people using the internet, there is bound to be some percentage of people who are using it for illegal activity, just as in the offline world.

It’s time for pre-technology era adults to face the facts: new technology, especially social networking, is part of society. Kids are going to use it and going to continue increasing their digital competancy. The teen in the link below has encountered extreme fame and success through his knowledge of posting videos on the internet. If you think technology and social networking can only cause harm, please take a look at the video by clicking the link, and then tell me you don’t want your children to be as digitally literate as they can be.

Justin Bieber


A Delicious Discovery

Anyone who works with or uses the internet on a regular basis knows the frustrating feeling of not being able to remember which password variation matches up with which website. I can say firsthand that the number of online accounts is overwhelming, and I haven’t even been introduced to half of them. I was reluctant to create a Delicious account for that reason. I didn’t want another username/password combination to remember and I didn’t have time to sit around and teach myself how to navigate a new site. 

But Delicious is easy. In fact, my technologically challenged mother could probably teach herself the ins and outs of an account. Upon sign up, I was prompted to drag an icon to my bookmarks bar that I just have to click whenever I find a website that I want to add to my links. I immediately tested it out by looking up a video I had watched earlier about the Susan G. Komen news. Sure enough, all I had to do was simply press the button and the website was linked to my page. I was pleasantly surprised at the simplicity of this site and I definitely see myself using it into the future for any articles or websites that I find interesting. 

While I don’t want to fill my “links” page with a bunch of garbage or mindless articles, I had to add a link to a fashion website I found. It takes snapshots of people on the streets in various cities, which will be a useful tool for me before I pack for trips or go shopping. Now that it’s on my page I can access it at any time. 

My Delicious account can be found at http://www.delicious.com/jessica_furman. .

Another site I introduced myself to this week is Google Reader. I first subscribed to wired.com, whitehouse.gov, New York Times technology, and Forbes Tech Information. But after seeing how easy it is to have all my articles sent to me, I also subscribed to fashion blogs such as Vogue and Europe Street Style, and finally CNN.com to keep up on breaking news.