The Sex-Ed Queens of YouTube Don’t Need a Ph.D.

Excerpt from this article:

This is Laci Green, the sex-ed queen of YouTube. Since posting her first video from her dorm room in 2008 (it was a review of her NuvaRing), her videos have been viewed a combined 131 million times. She’s building a digital empire around what she calls “sex ed for the internet,” and she’s leading a new generation of amateur sexperts along with her. They earn money from college speaking engagements; ads on YouTube; and by sponsoring products like Durex condoms and the period-tracker app Clue.

And traditional media companies, like Viacom and Univision, are getting in on the action, too, snapping up online sex-ed personalities and releasing their own pop-sexual content.

For young people raised with abstinence-only education in school and unfettered pornography online, these internet sex gurus offer a third option — access to other young people who feel comfortable talking about sex. This is sex ed by and for internet natives: It is personal, energetic, unfiltered and not entirely fact-checked.

 

Advertisements

Heavy Internet use leads to school burnout in teens

Excerpt from this article (thanks Daan for the link!):

The research suggests that the most critical stage for tackling the problem of digital addiction and school burnout is age 13-15. The most effective way of supporting adolescents’ mental health and preventing excessive internet use is to promote school engagement, to build up students’ motivation to learn, and to prevent school burnout.

Depressive symptoms and school burnout in late adolescence are more common among girls than boys. Boys suffer more from excessive Internet use than girls.

How WeChat Is Extending China’s School Days Well into the Night

Students file math homework in their virtual classroom on WeChat.
Excerpt from this article:

On a recent Thursday evening, Zhang Zehao, a seventh grader in Tianjin, China, braced himself for extra math assignments posted by his teacher on WeChat, a messaging app. At 7 p.m., his mother received a picture on her phone: a piece of paper with three handwritten geometry problems concerning parallel lines. He didn’t receive any other assignments that evening; after all, it was only the fourth day of the spring semester.

Since Tencent launched WeChat in 2011, the app has pervaded Chinese life. The company reported that it had 650 million monthly active users as of the end of last September. In a society that places paramount importance on academic success, WeChat has quickly become intertwined with education, tapping into a particularly Chinese cultural dynamic and in some cases exploiting it.

Chongqing, a sprawling metropolis of 30 million in southwestern China, has required all kindergartens, primary schools, and middle schools to open official WeChat accounts before the end of June this year to streamline communication with parents and students.

For Zehao, the app is a forum for extra homework and a billboard for misbehavior at school, and the group chat puts everything under the scrutinizing eye of the entire class. “The intention was good, because teachers wanted to work closely with parents to improve the children’s academic performance,” says his mother, Chen Zongying, 43. “But it stresses you out.”

 

Children and their mobiles: psychologists’ views on a modern obsession

Girl using her mobile phone in bed

Excerpt from this article:

Parents should not constantly check their phones…

Young people need boundaries. Relying on self-management for children may not work well – when the technology is there, they tend to use it. I don’t think schools should necessarily employ an outright ban but one approach might be to bring children, teachers and parents together and draw up some guidance. If children are involved in setting rules they are more likely to adhere to them and enforce them in others. They would also need to decide on sanctions for those who break them…

Banish phones at bedtime and during homework

…Parents should make sure that young people don’t sleep with their phones – get an alarm clock instead. It’s important to talk to young people about sleep mistakes and make sure that they have a consistent night-time routine.

 

Why We Post: Social Media Through The Eyes of the World

Why We Post

Why We Post is “a global anthropological research project on the uses and consequences of social media” full of fascinating insights and myth-busting surprises. Check out the study website here, or read a commentary on the study in The Economist (link to the article); here is an excerpt:

These fly-on-the-wall perspectives refute much received wisdom. One of the sceptics’ biggest bêtes noires is the “selfie”—which is often blamed for fostering self-regard and an undue focus on attractiveness. “Why We Post”, however, reveals that the selfie itself has many faces. In Italy girls were indeed seen to take dozens of pictures of themselves before settling on one to post. In Brazil many selfies posted by men were taken at the gym. But at the British site, Dr Miller found, schoolchildren posted five times as many “groupies” (images of the picture-taker with friends) as they did selfies. Britons have also created a category called “uglies”, wherein the purpose is to take as unflattering a self-portrait as possible. And in Chile another unique genre has developed: the “footie”. This is a shot taken of the user’s propped-up feet, a sign of relaxation.

The often-humorous, marked-up images known as memes have also come in for criticism… Yet in all cases Dr Miller sees meme-passing not as limiting what social-media users think and say, but as enabling discourse. Many users happily forward memes laced with strong ideological messages about which they would not dare to comment individually.

“Why We Post” thus challenges the idea that the adoption of social media follows a single and predictable trajectory… The study also refutes the idea that social media are making humans any less human. Users are, in Dr Miller’s words, “merely attaining something that was latent in human beings”.

Thanks to Huw and Paul for the links!

Toning Down the Tweets Just in Case Colleges Pry

View image on Twitter

Excerpt from this article:

This application season fewer college officials are finding online material that could derail a student’s chance of admission, even though an increasing number of college admissions officers consider the public social media accounts of applicants as fair game.

…Many parents and guidance counselors now warn teenagers that posting controversial material, or even an offhand comment, online could have long-term repercussions for their college or career prospects.  As a result, in their junior year or earlier, many high school students have started sanitizing their online profiles — making them private, deleting certain posts, removing name tags in photos, using pseudonyms.

Blaming tech for the loss of childhood innocence is lazy

Is she running away from innocence, or a computer?

Excerpt from this article:

There is one thing that we know will never help prepare young generations for a future of digital liberation, literacy and safety, and that’s scaremongering and an avoidance of the tough conversations. The one thing that is needed, is education. AVG Technologies somehow manages to nail the good and the bad with this (hopefully) well intentioned approach to the matter.

Back to sex though. It’s ridiculous to begin this promotion with a sentence about “awkward adult topics”. Not discussing these things with children is the MP Claire Perry approach of “block it and ban it” — if you don’t let them access it, they obviously won’t see it, and then they’ll never know about it. Totally nonsensical.

Apparently 50 percent of the survey respondents could not remember having the “facts of life” conversation with their parents. Which is totally meaningless. This is either a lie, or down to the fact that older generations will surely have steered even further clear of the debate than today’s parents.