Notes from this morning’s Youth Panel on Digital Media

7th & 8th graders’ perspectives and insights on living digital lives…

QUOTES

  • “I do agree that I’m on my phone more than I need to be.”
  • “Technology can bring you down or bring you up in certain ways. It’s very nerve-wracking in a way.”
  • “I think there’s a disconnect. A lot of parents think there are just a lot of older people who are going to hunt us down online, but I think technology is mostly a good thing.”
  • “I try not to worry too much about the stuff that I post. If it’s important enough for me to post it, then I feel secure in that. But it does matter to me that my close friends are supportive and don’t judge.”
  • “People always try to post funny things on their Snapchat Stories, and that usually involves posting embarrassing things of your friends. There is a fascination with posting embarrassing things because it’s funny, but I’m like ‘no, it’s my birthday party–I just want to have fun!’ It generally doesn’t bother me but I can see how it might hurt some people’s feelings.”
  • “Sometimes I’ll say ‘No, I’d rather you not post that’ but then they post it anyway.”
  • “You can’t be embarrassed if people post weird photos of you, because it’s like ‘That’s what I actually look like. If you hang out with me, that’s what I might be like. That’s me!”
  • “We just thought, ‘Oh, this guy is friends with so-and-so’s brother; he must be fine,” but then he started DM-ing me and my friends weird stuff on Instagram. I don’t think he knew we were all friends with each other, and we realized this was a problem that he was doing this with so many people. So we blocked him and then went to our guidance counselor to help us figure it out.”
  • “I wasn’t sure if he was joking, so I texted him again.”
  • “I haven’t seen as much cyberbullying, but I have seen a lot of digital drama.”
  • “There might have been a few swear words in the group text. That sort of thing happens.”
  • “If you’re texting, you might not be totally clear on the tone you mean. Even if you think it’s clear, it might not be–it’s kind of confusing.”
  • “When I want to talk to someone, I call them instead of texting. It helps to hear their voice.”
  • “I can’t give my friend a hug through a text. Some things are just better done face-to-face.”
  • “Only people I know can follow me. It feels safe that way.”

SELF-CONCEPT/IDENTITY

  • I use Pinterest is fun because it’s a creative outlet–I can do nice things for others or put together things that I like.
  • If someone says, “Oh, you look so pretty in that picture,” then it boosts your self-esteem. If you post “I’m bored; somebody text me!” and no one texts you, it can feel like nobody likes you or nobody cares.

RELATIONSHIPS WITH OTHERS

  • My favorite platform is Instagram, because pictures are fun to share, and you can also see what everyone else is up to. Also use Snapchat.
  • All my Instagram followers are only my close friends and people I know well and trust. That way, I only get positive comments and supportive feedback. Those are the people I want to see what I’m up to anyway.
  • I don’t post that much on Instagram, and I don’t really care that much how many likes my posts get. I use it more to keep up on what’s happening, especially in sports. I love sports.
  • FaceTime is really like face-to-face–it’s a nice way to work with others and connect with others in valuable ways.
  • I’m on Instagram with my friends, and some friends-of-friends. Sometimes when friends-of-friends like my posts, I think “Oh, they know who I am–they care,” so it can cause anxiety when they don’t like my posts.
  • I feel like I have to ask others if it’s ok to post pictures of them–if they’re right next to me, it’s the nice thing to do. It would be weird to run away and post something without people knowing.
  • When I left my school and posted about it, someone commented “no one will miss you.” But a few minutes later, others came in and said “we will miss you,” so it was a bad thing that turned into a good thing.
  • Last year, there was a lot of drama among a group of people. So this year, at the beginning of the school year, I sent a group text to say “Let’s leave all the drama behind and have a great year.” It was met with negativity (“Did you just copy-and-paste this text from somewhere?”) and then the others went offline and started talking behind my back, taking screenshots of my text, making fun of me.
  • On Instagram, if you post every day, twice a day, people start to get annoyed with that. With Snapchat, it’s ok to post more regularly because there’s no running record like on Instagram.

RELATIONSHIP WITH TECHNOLOGY

  • I have a phone, a school-issued iPad, and a laptop. Wake up to phone alarm and check weather on phone. Check social media in the car on the way to school AFTER having gotten ready for the day at home. At school: educational apps on iPad. After school: no social media till HW is done. Keep phone out of reach while sleeping.
  • I check Schoology in the morning (facebook-like platform, but for schoolwork)
  • TECH RULES AT HOME AND HOW THEY’VE CHANGED OVER THE YEARS
  • Turn phone into parents every night before bed (~8:30 or 9pm).
  • Keep phone off during school.
  • If phone charges in bedroom (use it for morning alarm), keep it out of reach.
  • Do HW first, then check technology for personal use.
  • No technology in bedroom except for listening to music while doing chores.
  • I check my feed (Snapchat & Instagram) regularly, but not 100x/day.
  • I’m not on Instagram or Snapchat; I mostly use youtube.
  • Sometimes I use technology to do my homework–for research, or to collaborate with someone on FaceTime; but my parents might think I’m using it for social media.

IF I WERE TO MAKE THE RULES…

  • I don’t really need phone during school–it would really just be a distraction.
  • No technology till HW is done and the dog is walked–easy to get sucked in, lie on the couch and “be lazy.”
  • Don’t use phone as an alarm–it’s too tempting to logon to social media in the morning and see something that will “affect my day.”
  • Keep phone out of reach during HW–so difficult not to look; so tempting!

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