Teens, Texting and Social Isolation

The Pew Internet and American Life Project recently released a report about teens and mobile phone use. Shortly after, The New York Times ran a story suggesting that this report (among other things) indicates that teens are becoming less social.  Hilary Stout writes:

One of the concerns is that, unlike their parents — many of whom recall having intense childhood relationships with a bosom buddy with whom they would spend all their time and tell all their secrets — today’s youths may be missing out on experiences that help them develop empathy, understand emotional nuances and read social cues like facial expressions and body language. With children’s technical obsessions starting at ever-younger ages — even kindergartners will play side by side on laptops during play dates — their brains may eventually be rewired and those skills will fade further, some researchers believe.

Rich Ling, of The Pew Internet and American Life Project, posted a follow-up clarifying some aspects of the report. He points out that the study only surveyed texting outside of school and that the study also shows that “face-to-face interaction is holding relatively steady.” He also observes that texting is happening “in addition to other forms of social interaction” not in place of it. Ling’s interpretation of the data is quite contrary to that of The New York Times:

another interpretation is that teens actually have more access and more informal, casual contact because of texting. This is because texting is woven into the flow of other activities. In essence their friends are always there and always available for a texting “chat.” This interpretation follows from the material on texting in class, texting at night, and in a variety of other situations. Rather than becoming monks sitting in their cells, the material may actually point in the direction of more social interaction, not less.

21st Century Workers Require New Skills.

The constantly changing environment of information consumption, interpretation, and sharing is far more reaching into our lives than most think. It is no longer enough to master the basic skills of reading, writing, and arithmetic (the three Rs) in order to advance in your education and career. We are moving into what some are calling the four Cs to become equipped for the workplace. Critical thinking and problem solving, communication, collaboration, and creativity and innovation are becoming even more important to organizations in the future according to a new survey conducted by American Management Association (AMA).

CC image used courtesy of wallyg

According to the AMA 2010 Critical Skills Survey, these skills and competencies are already priorities within their organizations for employee development. In all actuality, they said that employees are measured on these skills within their annual performance evaluations and are factored in during the hiring process. To help raise these levels companies are relying on one-on-one coaching and mentoring as ways to help advance employees’ skill sets, followed by professional development and training, in-house training, and job rotation.

Although at the moment management believe it is easier to develop these skills in students than it is to develop them in experienced workers , the report suggests that students and recent graduates are more open to new ideas, versus experienced workers with formed work patterns and habits.

This is why it is more important than ever to identify, acquire, and cultivate these abilities into your skill set. Not only to understand how to advance within work and education, but communicate in the rapidly evolving climate of information and understanding.

Reading Resource Page

I have put together a Resource List page.  People often ask me where to start or what to read. This is a compilation of some of the reports and articles I have read over the last 6 months or so. I’ve tried to blog many of them, pulling out the key points and I will continue to do so. But for those of you who want to read them yourselves, enjoy! I’ll continue to add to the list, making a dated added note after entries added after today.

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Teens and the Internet: The Future of Digital Diversity

The Pew Internet & American Life Project recently posted the slides from a presentation given by Kristen Purcell called Teens and the Internet: The Future of Digital Diversity.

The presentation provides many useful statistics about current use patterns of various technology, such as Internet usage by age of user, Internet access by type (cable modem, dsl, etc), and the percentage of teens with cell phones.

Handbook of Research on Social Software and Developing Community Ontologies

Although full preview is not available, I believe enough of the chapter, “Transliteracy as a Unifying Perspective” is available to give a reader the essence of the full chapter text; you may access the chapter preview by clicking on the Google Book preview of Handbook of Research on Social Software and Developing Community Ontologies.

From the chapter abstract:

Transliteracy might provide a unifying perspective on what it means to be literate in the 21st Century. It is not a new behaviour but has been identified as a working concept since the internet generated new ways of thinking about human communication. This chapter defines transliteracy as “the ability to read, write and interact across a range of platforms, tools and media from signing and orality through handwriting, print, TV, radio and film, to digital social networks” and opens the debate with examples from history, orality, philosophy, literature, ethnography and education. The authors invite responses, expansion, and development. See also http://www.transliteracy.com

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