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I have found much the same issues as danah has in my own work with
teens online. However, I don't find Jon's and danah's points to be
incompatible because they are based on different samples.
As I have been watching teens online for over 10 years now, I have
often explained to curious adults that I don't research average kids.
Yes the mean has been influenced by increases in middle income kids and
educational online activity has become the province of most, though not
all, US kids. However, social interaction is still primarily for the
wealthier segments of our populations particularly those that can
afford home computers and broadband access.
Like Jon, I see terrestrial family network building in my local
community that would disagree with danah's comments about her subjects.
But it is clear from my conversations with my neighbors that while
many of them do have children who are active online, many do not.
Conversations with their kids have supported that many are not involved
with online socializing...text messaging yes but MySpace or Facebook no.
So, as is usual with research, there is on one single answer. I think
there are some fascinating social psych questions looming about family
structures and teens online activity, etc. As well as more questions
looking at how online/offline networks integrate and cross boundaries
in teens lives.
Lois Ann Scheidt
Doctoral Student - School of Library and Information Science, Indiana
University, Bloomington IN USA
Adjunct Instructor - School of Informatics, IUPUI, Indianapolis IN USA and
IUPUC, Columbus IN USA
Quoting Jon Lebkowsky <[log in to unmask]>:
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> On Jan 17, 2008 2:01 AM, danah boyd <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> I find that many US parents don't trust other parents. The reasons
>> are fascinating. Many US families move when they start having
>> children and move again when they "need more space." They often do not
>> know their neighbors or kids' friends' parents. When I ask them why,
>> they uniformly tell me that they don't have time. Families are quite
>> insular and the kids are expected to be at home because the outside
>> world is dangerous. Likewise, the parents are also always home and
>> wouldn't feel comfortable leaving their child in the house to gather
>> with other parents. There's no hanging out on the stoops, even in
>> communities that have them, so there's no natural meeting of other
> I take issue, just because I see a different reality (here in Austin, which
> is admittedly not Anytown USA) - but I don't think it's safe to generalize
> too much. I have children and grandchildren, and the parents really do get
> to know each other, if not deeply, and the children do have sleepovers etc.
> - in fact, all the time.
> There are movements to build livable cities and livable neighborhoods, too,
> and one aspect of "livable" is that they're more open, people walk around
> and hang out - they're structured to facilitate that. The growing number of
> builders and developers who focus on green/sustainable building are also
> aware of the need to facilitate open social environments. Community
> development, which had passed from civic planners to commercial developers
> post WWII, is falling into the hands of citizen stakeholders via charrettes
> etc. People will be hanging out on the stoops again - they do it here,
> I realize you have to go where your data takes you, but this is just another
> perspective. I don't know that the reality I'm seeing is typical, but I
> don't think it's completely atypically. Ed may be seeing something similar
> (Austin and Ann Arbor have always been similar communities).
>> practices. Think Usenet pre/post 95, Zephyr/ICQ->AIM, blogging pre/
>> post 04, Friendster->MySpace (although funnily enough we twist back
>> with a world collision on Facebook which is a complete mess). More
>> generally, social tech is moving from primarily interest-driven to
>> primarily friend-driven (Usenet, BBSs, mailing lists, boards | IM,
>> blogging, SNS). We're old skool. <grin>
> I think it's more of a mashup - users drift from completely friend-driven
> SNSs, while those that address both friends and interest(s) (Flickr,
> Facebook) sustain interest through ongoing interest-driven activity.
> ~ Jon
> Jon Lebkowsky
> Polycot Associates
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