Following up on the scary stories about teenage blogging in a recent USA Today, the New York Times has published it’s own piece on the topic.
The article spotlights a new study from the Pew Internet and American Life Project entitled Teen Content Creators and Consumers in which the researchers offer some interesting bits about how teens are using the web.
According to the Pew survey, 57 percent of all teenagers between 12 and 17 who are active online – about 12 million – create digital content, from building Web pages to sharing original artwork, photos and stories to remixing content found elsewhere on the Web. Some 20 percent publish their own Web logs.
The Pew survey shows "the mounting evidence that teens are not passive consumers of media content," said Paulette M. Rothbauer, an assistant professor of information sciences at the University of Toronto. "They take content from media providers and transform it, reinterpret it, republish it, take ownership of it in ways that at least hold the potential for subverting it."
At least the Times gives the issue a little more perspective than the run-for-the-hills, lock-up-your-kids attitude taken by many recent reports in the media (are you paying attention channel 5?).
But the Pew survey seems to suggest that the concern over the dangers of adolescent activity online – while perhaps well placed – is a mere cul-de-sac in a larger landscape where a new generation, armed to the teeth with digital sophistication, is redefining media on its own terms.
So, when do we in education begin to take advantage of this "digital sophistication" to help kids create their own learning instead of force feeding them the canned version?