According to Jim Taylor, a spokesman for The Harrison Group, “Teen life has become a theatrical, self-directed media production.” On what basis does he make that assessment?
Well, the Group just released a new study called 2006 Teen Trend in which they looked at how kids in that demographic make use of electronic media.
They found that kids spend more than 72 hours a week with the web, television, music, and other digital media.
The report includes the usual statistics about iPods and video games. But the researchers also looked at how teenagers communicate with each other.
An estimated 68 percent of teens have created profiles on social networks like MySpace.com, Xanga or Facebook. More than a quarter of the population keeps in touch with friends online on a daily basis, either through instant messaging, e-mail, message boards or chat rooms. According to the study, the average teen chats via IM with 35 people for a total of three hours a week. But the average teen will only call or e-mail with seven people who are not on their IM list on a weekly basis.
I wonder if any of those seven people are teachers.
It’s obvious that our students are learning to communicate with some very sophisticated tools.
However, as Taylor notes, their education in this area is largely “self-directed”.
It also offers few connections, if any, to the work expected of them in the small part of the day known as school.