Monday, November 17, 2008
Not actually 'extreme teens'
This bit of pop anthropology in the Financial Times may interest parents: a university student telling an older friend how glad she is not to be a teenager these days. With social-network sites and services, she says, teens are on display 24/7. Sure, they put themselves in that position, but there's a great deal of pressure on them to, she suggests. They not only have to project an image but also protect it by being one-man or one-woman, always-on "PR machines" while also dealing with schoolwork, homework, sports and other extracurriculars, sometimes jobs, etc. "It's driving them all crazy," she told her friend, adding that this is normal. This isn't just "popular kids." But here's what I think everybody (teens, parents, educators, psychologists, etc.) needs to think together about going forward: "And there are so many casualties and nobody talks about it." The casualties of these new norms. And "casualties" doesn't necessarily mean drop-outs from this reality, but whatever impact it has, day-to-day, on young people's emotional and social well-being. [Readers, your comments - here, via email to anne at netfamilynews.org or in the ConnectSafely forum - would be most welcome!] BTW, here's how someone who actually is an "extreme teen" and social-Web PR master does it, according to the New York Times, referring to 18-year-old star singer/songwriter Taylor Swift, "the most remarkable country music breakthrough artist of the decade." Is her very smart, open PR strategy what many teens are emulating (or vice versa!)?