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What Don’t Adults Understand About Teenage Life Online?

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What Don’t Adults Understand About Teenage Life Online?

A forum for young people to share their experiences and opinions — and to offer adults advice for how to make media literacy education more relevant and useful.

  • How much time do you spend online? Where do you tend to spend it?

  • Is the internet still fun for you, or do you sometimes feel as if the problems outweigh the benefits?

  • What do you think teachers, parents, politicians and other adults don’t know and should know about how teenagers use the internet?

  • How, if at all, can adults help?

We’re asking these questions because it is Media Literacy Week in the United States. Schools around the world are trying hard to create programs to help young people navigate digital life in a healthy way. But as well-meaning as these programs can be, some are outdated, not comprehensive enough, or otherwise not relevant to how teenagers actually spend their time online.

We’re hoping you can help. Much as they have in the past when we have run teen forums on other complex issues, like identity and political beliefs and the fight for racial justice, your experiences, opinions and advice add important new ideas and perspectives to the larger conversation.

Please answer any of the questions we asked at the top of this post or any of the related questions, below, that interest you. You can post a new comment or reply to someone else’s comment.

Possible Questions to Address:

  • Have you been spending more or less time online than usual lately? Why?

  • What is fun, useful or positive about life online for you? What is problematic? Why?

  • On which apps or sites do you generally feel happy or productive when you are online? Which apps or sites make you feel unhappy or unproductive?

  • Many see a connection between social media and the current teenage mental health crisis. Do you? If so, how?

  • Do you agree with the piece “Wasn’t TikTok Supposed to Be Fun?” that many social media apps “start out as helpful or even pure fun” but, once they get popular enough, become a place of “nastiness” — full of misinformation, polarized political arguments, trolling and the like? What have you experienced?

  • How well do you think you navigate information on the internet? What about your friends? Do you think your generation is better at distinguishing reliable from unreliable information on the internet than other generations?

  • On what topics in your feeds do you frequently see misinformation or disinformation? What recent examples can you give?

  • Do you think the spread of misinformation is a problem? If so, how dangerous do you think it is?

  • Have you had any media literacy lessons at any point in your school career so far?

  • How useful have they been? What lessons gained in school about navigating life online have you used in your personal life?

  • Should media literacy be a required course in school? What should be taught?

  • What advice would you give adults for how to make media literacy education relevant, useful and interesting? Why?

Source:  https://www.nytimes.com/2022/10/23/learning/what-dont-adults-understand-about-teenage-life-online.html

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