This post is actually going to be a series of questions that have arrived this week as I spent time with my kids and niece, leaving me with snippets of time to read some blogs (but that was about it).
Facebook and our youth
I am living in the land of You-don't-understand-I-can-do-it-because-I-know-best: in other words, a house full of teens! Imagine my shock when I found out that unbeknownst to me, my son has had a facebook for 2 months. Part of the shock was not that he wanted one, but that he didn't tell me. Of course, he got his own shock when he discovered that I had a facebook account myself. And my reaction was not to forbid him from facebook, but to friend me so I have access to his wall. There are two reasons for this: 1) I see what he is up to, and 2) his friends see that I am there--sort of like having a chaperon on the school trip. They'll still try to sneak things, but at least they know they have to be a bit more careful when they do so, because they might get caught. My son is not happy that I visit his wall and read what is on it. But I am still his parent, and he is not old enough yet to handle problems on his own when they come up. This does not mean I will handle the problems for him, but rather, I will be there to walk him through as he makes mistakes (which I am sure he will do) and not allow him to panic. Mistakes are made when we panic (Tom Haskins has some interesting insights into that) and teenagers especially tend to do stupid things when they panic.
I did notice however, that facebook provides a valuable service for teenagers. Research has shown that this is the age in which people develop socially and the social world is very important to the teenager's development. As many of my son's friends live about an hour away, he is able to maintain ties that would be difficult otherwise. He feels a part of a group. While it would make my life simpler if he was not a typical teenager, and liked to just sit at home, not succumbing to peer pressure, and growing up to be the perfect adult, I also know this would be a bit creepy. So, as any parent knows, I live in a constant state of anxiety (thankfully, I have one more year before he can drive). However, I know he is a normal kid and find that facebook helps him to feel less isolated. We did come to an agreement, though, that he is allowed only one hour a day on facebook.
Interesting Language use
Another aspect to being with teenagers for the week is the need to watch your language. The slightest thing leads to a snicker (whatever you do, don't try to discuss Lacrosse with a group of boys that don't play the game--the terms send them into gales of laughter and sexual innuendo). This lead me to something I want to work on more this year in my communication classes: the differences in register when communicating with different groups. I find many students (especially undergraduates) have difficult in changing registers. My idea is to maybe have them give a speech, then have them change the speech for a different audience (i.e. a group of your grandmother's friends, government officials, police officers, a Mother's group, a sports fan group, etc...). I'm open to any suggestions.
While I'm on the topic of language, I normally don't notice differences in the different terms used between American and British language. However, Karen Romais had the following in her blog on a very serious subject:
There is a pedestrian crossing (with traffic lights) across one section of the road, and an elevated pedestrian bridge across another, so that the boys can cross in safety. Nevertheless, many of the boys choose to ignore both these provisions and cross the road in between the heavy traffic. Many is the time I have had to slam on anchors to avoid a tragedy. The boys themselves make no effort to look before crossing - they simply step out. They make no acknowledgement of those who have had to stop for them. They seldom bother even to look in the direction of the motorist. On one occasion, when it had been a little too close for comfort, I hit my hooter. The child in question laughed at me.Okay, I admit, I chuckled when I saw the last part about "I hit my hooter" (which I assume means car horn). I thought, yes, you have been spending too much time with the teens! But then I began to wonder how others perceived my own use of the English language. What terms might I have used that would take a second for my readers to say "oh, I think she means..."
The Time Crunch
I marvel at how people are able to maintain their blogs on a regular basis. I wonder, for example if Vicky Davis and Karyn Romeis ever sleep!
For me, the most difficult thing about summer and full-time with my children is that I don't have time to think during the day. As a result, I find I think at night when I should be sleeping. I wonder if we were given more time during the day to think, if we would be more productive at our jobs. I don't need quiet to think, but rather time when I don't have to pay attention. My kids are pretty good about "letting me get my work done". But they will still start talking in the middle of my "thinking" and even if I tell them to wait, I become guilty because I should be interacting with them. I wonder if we do the same in the workplace, interrupting work. This is especially true for those that work in open spaces or cubicles. Should we have a thinking space in offices, where those in the thinking space are not to be disturbed? I wonder sometimes if that would increase productivity. Likewise, I think there should be a "social space" in the workplace which could be a physical or a virtual space. This is were many new ideas are generated and problem solving can take place. Something to think about.
- V Yonkers
- Education, the knowledge society, the global market all connected through technology and cross-cultural communication skills are I am all about. I hope through this blog to both guide others and travel myself across disciplines, borders, theories, languages, and cultures in order to create connections to knowledge around the world. I teach at the University level in the areas of Business, Language, Communication, and Technology.