Posts tagged with ‘teens’

Happy Teen Literature Day
As libraries across America celebrate Teen Lit Day, Readergirlz and some co-sponsors are hosting Operation Teen Bookdrop, which you can participate in too:

* Follow @readergirlz on Twitter and tweet #rockthedrop* Print a copy of the bookplate and insert it into a book (or 10!) On April 18th, drop a book in a public spot (park bench, bus seat, restaurant counter?) Lucky finders will see that the book is part of ROCK THE DROP! (If you think people won’t pick up the book, slap a Post-It or note on the front cover that reads, “Take this book - IT’S FREE!” Bonus points for using recycled paper and/or making your own funky design!)* Post the banner at your blog and social networks. Proclaim that you will ROCK THE DROP! * Snap a photo of your drop and post it at the readergirlz Facebook page. Then tweet the drop at #rockthedropwith all the other lovers of YA books.

See books that people have been dropping all day via the Twitter hashtag #rockthedrop.
Bonus: Our (well, Jihii’s) favorite teen fiction? Everything by Sarah Dessen but especially this and this.

Happy Teen Literature Day

As libraries across America celebrate Teen Lit Day, Readergirlz and some co-sponsors are hosting Operation Teen Bookdrop, which you can participate in too:

* Follow @readergirlz on Twitter and tweet #rockthedrop
Print a copy of the bookplate and insert it into a book (or 10!) On April 18th, drop a book in a public spot (park bench, bus seat, restaurant counter?) Lucky finders will see that the book is part of ROCK THE DROP! 
(If you think people won’t pick up the book, slap a Post-It or note on the front cover that reads, “Take this book - IT’S FREE!” Bonus points for using recycled paper and/or making your own funky design!)
Post the banner at your blog and social networks. Proclaim that you will ROCK THE DROP! 
Snap a photo of your drop and post it at the readergirlz Facebook page. Then tweet the drop at #rockthedropwith all the other lovers of YA books.

See books that people have been dropping all day via the Twitter hashtag #rockthedrop.

Bonus: Our (well, Jihii’s) favorite teen fiction? Everything by Sarah Dessen but especially this and this.

How Teens Actually Use the Internet

danah boyd, superstar researcher of media, culture and teens, has just published It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked teens, which you can learn about and purchase here, or download (for free!) here.
We’ve yet to read it ourselves, but in this excellent round-up of questions and answers from Ethan Zuckerman, you can get a good sense of the content she covers and the myths about teen habits online that she busts. For example: the fact that teens want to gather in physical space rather than rely on connecting through the web, but we’ve restricted their ability to participate in public life and so they must rely on the web.

The book is organized around myths associated with youth and online media: the idea that youth are digital natives, that online spaces are heavily sexualized, and that online spaces are dangerous to youth.
Her overall takeaway from this research: we have spent thirty years restricting the ability of youth to get together face to face in the physical world. These technologies give youth access to public life once again and to make meaning of the world around them. Youth want to gather and socialize with their friends and become part of public life. Many youth would rather get together in real life, but turn to online spaces because those are the only spaces where young people can interact with one another in public life.
“There’s so much learning, so much opportunity through being part of public life”, says danah. We need to accept the idea that these online spaces are the key public spaces for young people.

Image: A prezi visualizing danah’s talk to the Berkman Center luncheon.

How Teens Actually Use the Internet

danah boyd, superstar researcher of media, culture and teens, has just published It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked teens, which you can learn about and purchase here, or download (for free!) here.

We’ve yet to read it ourselves, but in this excellent round-up of questions and answers from Ethan Zuckerman, you can get a good sense of the content she covers and the myths about teen habits online that she busts. For example: the fact that teens want to gather in physical space rather than rely on connecting through the web, but we’ve restricted their ability to participate in public life and so they must rely on the web.

The book is organized around myths associated with youth and online media: the idea that youth are digital natives, that online spaces are heavily sexualized, and that online spaces are dangerous to youth.

Her overall takeaway from this research: we have spent thirty years restricting the ability of youth to get together face to face in the physical world. These technologies give youth access to public life once again and to make meaning of the world around them. Youth want to gather and socialize with their friends and become part of public life. Many youth would rather get together in real life, but turn to online spaces because those are the only spaces where young people can interact with one another in public life.

“There’s so much learning, so much opportunity through being part of public life”, says danah. We need to accept the idea that these online spaces are the key public spaces for young people.

Image: A prezi visualizing danah’s talk to the Berkman Center luncheon.

The Psychology of Selfies & A Handmade Pinhole Camera
We learned this week that the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year is selfie, the informal noun defined as “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.” It was added to the Oxford Dictionary Online (not the Oxford English Dictionary), which bases its entries on current and practical word usage, meaning they can be removed when they are out of use. 
Blog posts about the psychology of the selfie abound. It’s a cheap fad. It’s a an evaluator of social reach. It’s a modern iteration of the self-portrait fueled by a hunger for social feedback. It’s a reflection of our loneliness and desire for image control. And on and on.
And then there is this.
Photographer Tatiano Altberg teaches children in a Rio de Janeiro favela how to make pinhole cameras out of recycled cans. There is no viewfinder and no button. They learn to create narratives through their photos, and to take self-portraits.
Lens Blog:

But unlike the countless “selfies” they were already used to seeing on social networks, these forced them to be more introspective, considering both their mood and environment.
“The challenge of working with pinhole photography is to make the self-portrait a process of reflection about one’s self — a product of an intention,” she said. “The idea is not to take photos in an automatic way, with poses and gestures that are seen in the pictures teenagers take with their cellphones and digital cameras. It’s necessary to pay attention to the surroundings and think before making an image. Pinhole is a slow process of creation that demands a lot of thought.”
The payoff has come with students who have become excited about the possibilities of self-expression. Jailton Nunes was a skeptical 12-year-old when he started the workshop, deflecting any compliment with jokes. But over time, he came to embrace the project, and a self-portrait of his was used on the cover of “Everyday My Thoughts Are Different,” which was published this year.
“Another photo taken by him that is very significant is the one where he appears beside a miniature sofa,” Ms. Altberg said. “He looks like a giant. The image has special symbolic meaning since he was explicitly self-conscious about his height, something that diminished throughout the year as he gained confidence.”


FJP: Here’s a thought. For young teens who live busy lives in crowded spaces (Rio or elsewhere) that are then compounded by an abundance of digital imagery in online social worlds, it’s difficult to find the space to know yourself, to construct an image of yourself for yourself and to capture that image. In a sense, the digital selfie is a way to try to create and preserve a controllable record of who you are in an otherwise uncontrollable world of too many records. It’s a very human need. If we look at it that way, the potential for teaching projects like Altberg’s is enormous.—Jihii
Image: Yasmin Lopez, via Brazilian Stories and Selfies Through a Pinhole, NY Times.

The Psychology of Selfies & A Handmade Pinhole Camera

We learned this week that the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year is selfie, the informal noun defined as “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.” It was added to the Oxford Dictionary Online (not the Oxford English Dictionary), which bases its entries on current and practical word usage, meaning they can be removed when they are out of use. 

Blog posts about the psychology of the selfie abound. It’s a cheap fad. It’s a an evaluator of social reach. It’s a modern iteration of the self-portrait fueled by a hunger for social feedback. It’s a reflection of our loneliness and desire for image control. And on and on.

And then there is this.

Photographer Tatiano Altberg teaches children in a Rio de Janeiro favela how to make pinhole cameras out of recycled cans. There is no viewfinder and no button. They learn to create narratives through their photos, and to take self-portraits.

Lens Blog:

But unlike the countless “selfies” they were already used to seeing on social networks, these forced them to be more introspective, considering both their mood and environment.

“The challenge of working with pinhole photography is to make the self-portrait a process of reflection about one’s self — a product of an intention,” she said. “The idea is not to take photos in an automatic way, with poses and gestures that are seen in the pictures teenagers take with their cellphones and digital cameras. It’s necessary to pay attention to the surroundings and think before making an image. Pinhole is a slow process of creation that demands a lot of thought.”

The payoff has come with students who have become excited about the possibilities of self-expression. Jailton Nunes was a skeptical 12-year-old when he started the workshop, deflecting any compliment with jokes. But over time, he came to embrace the project, and a self-portrait of his was used on the cover of “Everyday My Thoughts Are Different,” which was published this year.

“Another photo taken by him that is very significant is the one where he appears beside a miniature sofa,” Ms. Altberg said. “He looks like a giant. The image has special symbolic meaning since he was explicitly self-conscious about his height, something that diminished throughout the year as he gained confidence.”

FJP: Here’s a thought. For young teens who live busy lives in crowded spaces (Rio or elsewhere) that are then compounded by an abundance of digital imagery in online social worlds, it’s difficult to find the space to know yourself, to construct an image of yourself for yourself and to capture that image. In a sense, the digital selfie is a way to try to create and preserve a controllable record of who you are in an otherwise uncontrollable world of too many records. It’s a very human need. If we look at it that way, the potential for teaching projects like Altberg’s is enormous.—Jihii

Image: Yasmin Lopez, via Brazilian Stories and Selfies Through a Pinhole, NY Times.

This online cultivation of beautiful sadness is easy to join: anyone can take a picture, turn it black and white, pair it with a quote about misunderstood turmoil, and automatically be gratified with compassion and pity. And this readily accessible sea of dark poetry could easily drown out those whose suffering has reached the clinical level. During the vulnerable years during which adolescents seek out self-affirmation and recognition from others, this new, easy promise of being recognized as strong, beautiful, and mysterious by Tumblr “followers” can be very tempting, says Dr. Mark Reinecke, chief psychologist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Too often, it just leads to more teenagers believing and feeling they are depressed, self-pitying, self-harming.

— Anne-Sophie Bine, Social Media is Redefining Depression, The Atlantic.

Tween Girls Ask The Internet If They’re Pretty or Ugly

Am I Pretty or Ugly” is a social media phenomenon where tween girls post YouTube videos of themselves and ask viewers to tell them if they’re pretty or ugly. All of the videos have more or less the same “script;” the girls will say that some people tell them they’re pretty, and some people tell them they’re ugly, but they just want to know “the truth.” They then request that people leave a comment with their opinion on whether or not they’re attractive.

A global study conducted for Dove’s Real Beauty Campaign revealed that 90 percent of 15-to 17-year-old girls are dissatisfied with their physical appearance. 13 percent of them admit to having an eating disorder and nearly a quarter of them would consider plastic surgery.

So the fact that adolescent girls don’t like their bodies and they’re straight up asking the Internet whether or not they’re attractive is unfortunate — but not shocking. 

In 1997, adolescent girls identified the mass media as their primary source for health and body image information — and that was before the Internet really took off.

Now in 2013, social media is becoming the preferred source of body image information for young girls, and they’re trusting Internet users to give them “the truth” about their appearance. This so-called “truth” is hurting them — with 68 percent of girls saying they’ve had negative experiences on social networking sites and 53 percent of them becoming unhappy with their bodies by age 13

Tumblr blogs like “Fuck Yeah Thigh Gap” and  “Bikini Bridge” urge women to look bony and frighteningly thin in order to be hot. And we can’t forget Thinspiration — where girls encourage each other to be anorexic or bulimic for the sake of “attractiveness.” 

FJP: The ironic thing about girls turning to social media to determine whether or not they’re attractive is that most adolescent girls present false images of themselves on the Internet.

Seventy-four percent of girls agree that most girls their age use social media sites to make themselves look “cooler” than they are in real life, and forty-one percent of them admit that this describes them, according to a 2010 study by Girl Scouts. 

If you take away the Instagram filters, Photoshop, creative camera angles, and the sweet Tumblr layouts, what do you have left? Normal tween girls with zits and cellulite, most likely. 

If these girls are looking at Photoshopped images of one another all day long, their ideas of what’s physically achievable is going to be tragically skewed. Actresses and models still seem larger than life to a lot of young girls. But when tweens see their own friends looking impossibly good in their photos, the pressure to be pretty is far more intense. The “Am I Pretty or Ugly” YouTube videos are a clear indicator that the body image pressure levels for tween girls are officially in the danger zone. — Krissy

Seventeen Magazine's Body Peace Treaty →

On April 19, 14-year-old Julia Bluhm started a petition on Change.org asking Seventeen magazine to print one unaltered photo in its magazine each month.

By Tuesday morning, the petition had attracted 84,168 signatures. And Ms. Bluhm reacted enthusiastically to news of the magazine’s policy statement.

“Seventeen listened!” Ms. Bluhm wrote on her petition page, under the headline “How We Won.” “They’re saying they won’t use Photoshop to digitally alter their models! This is a huge victory, and I’m so unbelievably happy.”

Editor-in-chief Ann Shoket, along with the entire magazine staff signed an eight-point pact to never change the body or face shapes of any of its girls and only include images of “real girls and models who are healthy,” and also make photoshoots transparent by posting them on Tumblr.

FJP: Well done, Julia Bluhm. And well done, Seventeen. We especially like the effort to be transparent.