I was a teen in the era of BBSes, and compared to the rest of the kids around, those of us on the BBSes were a small minority. I actually still keep in touch with a handful of BBS pals (that I met over 20 years ago) now on Facebook. We’re all still super lame.
I did run in to trouble online, getting hooked by a dude who clearly wanted to molest a vulnerable teen. Luckilly my parents were like “Uh, no, this is not ok” and eventually they took the modem and computer away and stuff. Nasty shit, but of course now I’m glad they did it.
I recently read an article in Wired where the author attempts to chronicle the lives of teens online these days. Even though I do not have kids myself, I found the article interesting just from me being a former teen who was online.
I am so freaking glad I didn’t grow up in this online world. It sounds complicated, time-consuming and expensive. And lord knows what trouble I would have gotten in to with it, considering how much trouble I got in to with just a 2400 baud modem and Windows 3.1.
Here’s the article. Also linked within it are links under “Read More” to some sidebars they had in the print version, explaining emojis and the latest netiquette for teens.
Anyone else have insight in to what “kids these days” are doing online? I find it all fascinating!
Live off Youtube videos for entertaiment, supplemented with Netflix(all on devices, no TV’s*)
text all the time
play really crappy pay-as-you go “freemium” games, online with friends if they can
*Yes, they watch TV, too. I just mean a lot of content is taken in on small screens.
I think that many of them access adult material as well because their parents are totally oblivious. I actually am disturbed to think what many of them have seen by the age of 12 or 13. Having said that, I do find many parents protect their kids and there is still innocence in the world.
I listened to a *This American Life *episode not that long ago that interviewed middle school girls about the Byzantine rules of social interaction on Facebook. Who was (and wasn’t) allowed/expected to comment on whose posts, how critical the number of likes/comments they earned was to their social standing, and how even the failure to like/comment someone’s post quickly enough was seen as a slight. They had to navigate a complex relationship of cliques and online etiquette and it sounded completely exhausting.
A lot of them are brilliantly creative, are using online experience to educate themselves very deeply and quickly, and will grow up to be astounding adults. Not a lot of them, but enough to make big difference to the way the world unfolds.
Well, my 15 year old plays Minecraft still, WoW and probably a bajillion other “pay to play” games that aren’t on Facebook (steam punk) … which is a good thing because I use his login there for my facebook games.
I giggle when he is chatting with his friends because, just like his father, his voice drops a few decibels when he is explaining things. Later I hear his voice crack and the “heehaw” when he laughs.
As far as watching porn… he isn’t interested yet and his 2 older brothers (19 and 23) might but it’s not their driving interest. Maybe because we never forbade it? At least they know to not pay for it. And that it’s not realistic.
He (youngest son) seldom uses his phone for anything (bought him one so if he needed us to pick him up from school, we could… school is 12 miles away). His brothers snapchat a bit, they all have watched Netflix and used up the data plan at one time or another, and to get texts. All 3 have Youtube channels they follow (and the older 2 give the youngest shit for following what they follow LOL).
He, the 15 year old, is anti-social as I was in High School so he only has a few FB friends from grade school friends who don’t post much (they probably have made other FB accounts). Whether he does more than “chat/text” in-game with his friends, I dunno. But he’s SMRT and has known since I was on webtv (he was born then) to be careful with what you say and to whom.
The 19 and 23 year old’s’ friends: post a lot of memes. They have a few friends who went military and they mostly post “coming home for a holiday” which makes us all happy. They have friends in college who post rah rah stuff about their college of choice. And they have friends posting about getting married, having kids or looking for a job and not always in that order.
This I know because those are their friends who friended me (friends, ex-girlfriends and their (my boys’) cousins and 2nd cousins their ages… and every now and then when I am bored I stalk my kids FB pages What is on their non-my-friend list/newsfeed is… a mystery because even when I had their login info I only used it for FB games LOL . I’m lucky that they haven’t blocked me. Or limited me in what I can post to their pages.
Well, other than that one time I was drunk and posted way too many cat pix memes to that son’s FB wall… he let me back on!
That’s interesting that your sons don’t really use their phones, mistymage! Equally amazing is that they give you their FB logins and that you don’t poke around.
I think you may be a family of weirdos!
I forgot about Minecraft and how that’s a huge popular thing that I know nothing about. I don’t think it comes up in the Wired article either. Good to know that WoW is still a thing…
I wonder if there is still a divide between what nerdy kids do online and what everyone else does. When I was a kid “everyone else” wasn’t online, period. It was only us nerds (which is why I was hella popular online cuz I was one of the few girls.) I’m gonna guess the nerdy shy kids are on Minecraft and other games, and the “others” are all on the Snapchat.
I’m not talking about “online habits” – I’m talking about what smart and enthusiastic kids are accomplishing, with the help of the internet. If they also use the internet for recreational or social purposes, that is unrelated to the world they are able to explore through the web.
And I’m not predicting success for any particular person, but only reporting that there is a great amount of creative use of the intermet which in totality, will yield a large number of productive and successful thinkers and creators.
Even in the 1990s. I was already seeing a lot of very creatve photography from kids making selfies.