Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Community Safety #cyberbullying #bullyingatschool #rumourspread "Teenage love in the age of Snapchat remains the same" THE AUSTRALIAN FEBRUARY 27, 2016 #socialmedia #covertbullying #defamation #teensuicide #suicide


A "connected life" connects you to people you would never choose to be connected with. And it connects malevolent people to each other

There is no escape from cyberbullying cyberdefamation. so if we really are against bullying why do we tolerate perpetrators armed with a mobile phone a social media account?

Pete Dowe


92: Percentage of American children who have an online presence before age two

1000: Number of images parents post of their children online before their fifth birthday

9: Hours every day teens spend using media (not including school or homework)

6: Hours tweens aged eight to 12 spend a day using media

40: Minutes more girls spend on social media every day compared with boys

69: Percentage of Aussie teens who have smartphones

89: Percentage of Aussie teens who have any mobile phone (smart or regular)

100: Number of times 13-year-olds check their social media accounts every day (heavy users)

23: Percentage of 13 to 17-year-old girls who use Tumblr

61: Percentage of 13 to 17-year-old girls who use Instagram

51: Percentage of 13 to 17-year-old girls who use Snapchat



Teenage love in the age of Snapchat remains the same


One of literature’s greatest rom­ances might have ended ­differently if Juliet and Romeo had mobile phones and unlimited data plans.
One of literature’s greatest rom­ances — between teenagers, as it so happens — might have ended ­differently if Juliet Capulet and Romeo Montague had mobile phones and unlimited data plans.
But a great deal else would have been re-rendered by the pervasiveness of the technology, too.
The lives of modern teenagers are again in the spotlight with a new book by New York journalist Nancy Jo Sales examining the amplifying nature of social media on passions as old as civilisation.
Are teens headed toward social disaster? Have their lives been “ruined” by social media? What’s so bad about Instagram, anyway?
In his day, Romeo would have had unlimited access to pornography, and their relationship almost certainly would have involved sexting, suggestive images sent by quick-erase picture app Snapchat and posts to blogging site Tumblr characterised by the agony of young love and the anxiety of tiny relationship cues, misread or otherwise.
And still Juliet might have ­posted her attempt at poetry on her Tumblr site, a blog favoured by socially isolated teenagers who are hyper-aware of their own emotions (not that there’s anything wrong with that).
Deny thy father and refuse thy name,
Or if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love,
And I’ll no longer be a Capulet.
The nature of Juliet hasn’t changed, despite exuberant moral panics in the 1960s, 80s, 90s and today, but there is an inescapable fact: social media acts as a plinth on which all our inner natures are exposed. For the first time, people get to see what that looks like in the most unvarnished form.
Sales spent almost three years absorbing the lives of teenage girls, studying them in their natural habitat, the Dian Fossey of teen habits. Her book, American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers, is an exploration of a culture that, by virtue of the internet, spreads beyond national borders. It ruminates on the more troubling aspect of social creatures, being tethered to each other almost non-stop, particularly when those people are developing human beings with undercooked emotional and rational centres in the brain.
Sales told news anchor Katie Couric that a meeting with one of the girls in her book set the scene for what was to follow. “She said, ‘Social media is destroying our lives.’ And I said, ‘So why don’t you just go off it?’ ” Sales explains.
“And she said, ‘Because then I would have no life.’ ”
That teenagers are captives with Stockholm syndrome is a world view breathtakingly free of nuance. It ignores, as does Sales’s book, largely, the quirky communities that have risen up around teenagers like scaffolding.
It asserts salaciousness by virtue of calling out these “secret” lives when they are anything but. They are secret not because the musings of teenagers are hidden but because parents don’t ­always understand where to look or even what they’re looking at when they stumble across a profile.
Parenting commentator and mother to three boys, aged 14 to 20, Yvette Vignando has witnessed the generation of boys and girls whose lives bifurcated with the spread of mobile ­internet.
“I think we do need to — from a feminist viewpoint and a duty of care and concern and love viewpoint — be concerned about how teen girls portray themselves ­online, and this requires schools, policymakers and parents to work together to find messages that resonate with our girls,” she says.
“However, I think the converse of that is that much of what teen girls and boys are doing online, they have always done offline, so our job then is to educate them about the importance of curating their digital footprint in a way that does not damage how they are perceived in the future.
“I’m sure for many parents my age we’re grateful that we didn’t publish every thought we had as a teenager for the world to see, and that some of our fashion ­mistakes weren’t published for mass feedback.”
On Tumblr, one of many staging grounds for the teenage ­rebellion, vulnerability is cool.
Writer Elspeth Reeve, who published a deep-dive into the world of Tumblr teens for the New Republic last week, says the site, through its young and social ­audience, trades on a series of “micro-humiliations”.
These are moments of regular interaction in the “real world” perceived by the anxious teen crowd as bearing uncomfortable levels of pressure: making eye contact for slightly too long with the boy who delivers the pizza, having to use the phone to order takeaway (food, surprisingly, is an organising theme) or being called on in class to read out loud.
The recognition of these social rituals, Reeve argues, is actually quite sophisticated. There are still cliques, as she points out.
“Each social media network creates a particular kind of teenage star: Those blessed with early-onset hotness are drawn to YouTube, the fashionable and seemingly wealthy post to Instagram, the most charismatic actors, dancers and comedians thrive on Vine,” she writes.
“On Facebook, every link you share and photo you post is a statement of your identity. Tumblr is the social network that, based on my reporting, is seen by teens as the most uncool.” This has led to what some psychologists have deemed an ­unhealthy commodification of mental illness. Some teens here are not just airing their grievances or wearing their heart on their sleeve but almost fully inhabiting an atmosphere of dialled-up ­anxiety.
Ideas usually require some ­active persuasion before they spread but there is one that apparently does not: suicide. Sales tells the story of Sierra in her book.
“She had been bullied and ­cyberbullied throughout her life to the point where it seemed to have affected her so that she was sort of playing into it by constantly trying to seek approval where she already knew she wouldn’t get it,” she told US public broadcaster National Public Radio.
“So she was posting all kinds of, you know, really sexualised pictures and getting hate for that. So she had tried to kill herself, and her parents didn’t know anything about the cyber-bullying.
“I mean, just think about what a thing that is to say to someone. And yet it’s not an unusual thing for someone to have seen or heard on social media — go kill yourself. I mean, what kind of a culture is that?”
Sales isn’t breaking open anything new with these insights. She exists alongside teenagers and not with them precisely because of her generation. Barring breakthroughs in time travel, no older person will be young again, so teenagers are studied like creatures brought up from the Mariana Trench.
Editor of New Idea and mother of two Louisa Hatfield says the ­instinct to condemn the morality of teenagers is off the mark. “I think we worry too much about the morals of this generation. I actually think their morals are better than my generation,” she says.
“My daughter and her friends faced many of the same issues as I did as a teenager. They still had to deal with the ‘devastating’ heartbreak of unrequited love, beating the bullies, avoiding the mean girls and the inevitable struggle against peer pressure to do stupid things like drugs and binge drinking and of course eating disorders.
“They also worry (in varying degrees) about the bigger world ­issues of terrorism, racism, bigotry and climate change.
“But there are some key differences. My daughter said to me the other day that most middle-aged people’s attitude to transgender people in 2016 is exactly the same as the middle-aged attitude to gay people when I was young.
“It took me aback and made me re-evaluate.
“Young people are much less homophobic and much more fluid about their gender and who they do or don’t have sex with (or are friends with). It is more about who you love/like rather than what sex they are.”
Girls, Hatfield says, know what they want in life and have thrown out the rule book in their quest to get it. That makes the rest of us uncom­fortable. In the catchphrase of a generation: we literally can’t even.
That sentence should have the word ‘‘deal’’ on the end, according to the rule book, but that’s gone, remember?
On Tumblr, one of the more endearing creations is a short story about the imagined romance ­between a tween girl and (now former) One Direction band member Zayn Malik.
The girl must have a heart transplant and kisses Malik gently before going under (this is a love story, after all). When she wakes up, he is gone but has left a teddy bear. He will always be in her heart, the note says. When the girl asks a nurse where the incredibly popular boy band member has gone, the nurse responds: “Didn’t they tell you who the donor was?”
It is assumed Malik has, conveniently for her, circumvented the donor waiting list and given her his own heart. He died for her.
The beautiful tragedy of it all was widely mocked by older Tumblr users but the parallels to Romeo and Juliet are striking. She woke up to find him dead.
Teenagers haven’t changed that much, as it turns out. Their short lives are buffeted by the smallest of forces and emotions feel, if not actually are, sharper.
It’s not clear that giving Romeo and Juliet a mobile phone would have produced content much different to what we can find online today.
That said, a text from Juliet to Romeo — instead of relying on the frightful inefficiency of a messenger — might have alerted him sooner to her ruse.
The Numbers:
92: Percentage of American children who have an online presence before age two
1000: Number of images parents post of their children online before their fifth birthday
9: Hours every day teens spend using media (not including school or homework)
6: Hours tweens aged eight to 12 spend a day using media
40: Minutes more girls spend on social media every day compared with boys
69: Percentage of Aussie teens who have smartphones
89: Percentage of Aussie teens who have any mobile phone (smart or regular)
100: Number of times 13-year-olds check their social media accounts every day (heavy users)
23: Percentage of 13 to 17-year-old girls who use Tumblr
61: Percentage of 13 to 17-year-old girls who use Instagram
51: Percentage of 13 to 17-year-old girls who use Snapchat

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