Interview with a 19 year old… Part 1

When given the chance to interview a young person regarding their interaction with the various forms of popular culture, I couldn’t resist interviewing a 19 year old.  Why? Because I want to know how these teenagers close to my own age feel about all this. There is a copy of the interview attached to the bottom of this post if you wish to read E’s raw answers.

E is a 2nd year university student that is studying a dual degree of business and creative writing.  She is a regular user of certain social media and has strong opinions regarding many aspects of popular culture. Part 1 of the interview discusses her opinion on technology, social media and communicating with her friends.

When asked what type of technology she uses E responded with:

A phone is easy and portable and has Facebook messenger and also text, so it’s easy to contact people. Laptop is mostly used for study purposes but also for watching movies and tv shows in my free time. I use each of these multiple times a day.

After discussing this further, E stated that she didn’t really use any of the other forms of social media.  She did not have a Twitter account, barely used her Instagram and was not a fan of Snapchat. E did state that she checked Facebook regularly to check in with her friends and family.  She believes that it is the easiest way to communicate with people. Interestingly, E also stated that it was the way she kept up to date with what was happening in the world.

After discussing with E how she used social media we turned our conversation towards her opinion of people using social media and whether it affected her opinion of people.

Image from: Write a Writing

Image from: Write a Writing

I think there is an obvious dependency that current society has on social media, andthe voyeurism that comes with knowing all the details about everyone’s daily activities. While it is an obsession that all of us currently have, it is no different to 20 years ago with people gossiping about their friends and neighbours over coffee, it’s just now all written down online. I think that there is a limit to the privacy of others, especially when it comes to personal things, which should never be shared online for other people.

Respect people’s privacy, and they will respect yours.

E also stated that although her and her close friends have a very healthy online relationship, she has unfriended acquaintances over things they have posted that she has not necessarily agree with.

Image from: Genius Recruiter

Image from: Genius Recruiter

We discussed E’s preferred method of communication with her friends.  She stated that she preferred meeting with her friends and talking in person because she could read people’s reactions and liked the company. However, E did say that she found communicating with her friends via text or Facebook messenger to be a quick, effective and easy way to stay in contact all day.  I asked if she felt the need to be connected with her friends 24/7 and she answered: yes, don’t you?

Our conversation soon turned to E’s thoughts on how young people are using social media these days and what she thought of it all.

People definitely use it for the ‘likes’ and to gain some sort of recognition from society. But that is only a small amount of people that I know, and they are mostly posing half naked and I would not be surprised if they have a very big ego. People who would do anything for some praise definitely need to tone it down as it can be very in your face.

This lead our conversation into discussing cyber bullying and if E had had any personal experience with it. We also discuss people’s reason for cyber bullying and if she thought people brought it upon themselves with the content they post.  E brought up an interesting point regarding “trolling.”

Image from: Trolling YouTube

Image from: Trolling YouTube

Trolling can be okay to an extent. I have seen it used just in the sense when someone makes a grammatical mistake and everyone can have a laugh about it, but when it goes too far as to actually start insulting someone and putting them down it is terrible. That is when it could even be classified as cyber bullying, as no one should feel downgraded like that.

 

I found it very interesting to note that E’s use and opinion of social media is very similar to my own. This makes me feel less old!

In Part 2 of the interview we discuss E’s thoughts on books, tv shows, movies and music.

Interview with E

It’s my life

Young people are living their lives in public at an alarming growth rate today.  As a young teacher in school ranging from prep to year 12 in Brisbane, I am regularly asked by students of all ages what types of social media I interact with and if they can send me friend requests.  This increase in use of social media by young people is increasingly alarming due to the fact that many, in my opinion, are unaware of the consequences of using such medias inappropriately. Whilst students in the primary years are often denied the use of Facebook and Twitter, some are allowed limited access to sites such as Instagram.  These students often go out of their way to use these sites due to the nature of it being seen as “cool” to own and use one.  Students in older years are regularly using Facebook and Twitter, as well as Tumblr, Instagram and Pintrest.  Upon asking students how they use these sites it was revealed that their use is not monitored and parents and/or guardians are regularly unaware of how their children are interacting with these sites.  I personally find this alarming due to the fact that students that aren’t educated in the proper use of such sites and therefore, can cause harm to themselves and others.

social-media-400854_640

Pixabay. License: CC0 Public Domain

Studies completed in America have shown that approximately 90% of the youth in the USA use social media sites.  One of these studies was conducted by Common Sense Media, called “Social media, social life:  How teens view their digital lives” (2012). This study was conducted by interviewing a variety of students, aged 13 to 17 across America. As the title suggests, questions regarding teenage use of social media and its impact on their lives were investigated and reflected upon.  These questions included:

Social Media, Social Life Questions

Common Sense Media (2012), p.7

As the study states:

This generation is the first to have gone through their entire teen years with Facebook and other social networking sites at their fingertips.  This [study] documents, on a national scale, what these ‘social media natives’ think about how social media use is affecting their social and emotional lives (Common Sense Media, 2012, p.7).

Data collected from the study states that 90% of the students used social media of some description.  However, only 49% of the students preferred communicating in person, with an alarming 33% preferring to communicate via text.  This representation of data is quite alarming to me because students are seemingly increasingly more confident with communicating via text rather than in person.

There is, however, some hope.  Students were also asked how they felt when their friends were texting or using social media in their presence and how they would feel if the world rewound to a time before Facebook.  The results are displayed below in a graph:

Desire to unplug

Common Sense Media, (2012). p.12

Although the percentages may be small, the fact that some students “desire to unplug” and be rid of Facebook gives me hope.

In terms of the students at my school and how they use these social media sites, the school has taken it upon themselves to become a Cyber Smart school.  A committee has been formed that includes representatives from all aspects of the school.  This committee discusses ways in which the school can educate students from all year levels in the appropriate use of social media, how to be safe and how to report cyber bullying if it occurs.  Although this is a small step, the school has embraced the fact that students do use social media and that for them to remain safe, they need to be educated in this.

Australian Government, (2014).

Australian Government, (2014).

In terms of the students in my classroom, I am regularly showing them ways to “unplug” and enjoy a screen free environment.  We discuss books, games, sports and places they can go with their friends.  I regularly challenge them to go outside and explore, and often hear reports of adventures had in parks or shops with friends.

One of my recent challenges to my class was the My Grateful Story.  It involved the students taking a photo of something they are grateful for in their life. It could not be anything technology related.  The resulting photos that were submitted where then placed in a PowerPoint and showed to the parents.  There were some amazing moments of self-discovery through this challenge and all of my students reportedly enjoyed exploring and reflecting upon the things they are grateful for outside of technology.

mygratefulstory-website-3

My Grateful Story, 2014

I think it is incredibly important for students to realize that there is time for living in both the real and digital world, and that embracing and being smart in both leads to a better life.