Youth and Facebook

March 20, 2009 at 3:34 pm (Technology in the classroom) (, )

As a teacher, I feel that it is my job to encourage students to become active citizens in our society. I will use my class to promote civic engagement and social justice to teach the youth of our future to be politically, culturally, and publicly aware of what is going on in our world.  These days, with the Internet and all the different media, there are so many outlets for students to use to talk about how they feel and what they want to change. According to the article, the author discusses the popularity of participatory media, but the lack of social engagement from these same teens.  How are we, as teachers, supposed to promote using media to encourage social justice?


Right now, teens are using participatory media prevalently. Participatory media is defined as media such as blogs, wikis, social networking, podcasts, digital self-portraits,  mashups, video blogs, etc. These media are unique because they are often public on the Internet, and can be shared by many users. In addition, participatory media has the characteristic of uniting and relying on users. Participatory media is important because it allows children to express their ideas using an outlet that can be shared with their peers and youth all around the world.  It enables teens to connect with other users and share their ideas. Participatory media should be used as means to promote social change due to its large repertoire of users.


So this raises the question: How do we teach teens and youth to use media to be proactive and promote social justice? I think that once we implement so much meaning and weight to something, it automatically turns kids off. In other words, once we make blogging and writing wikis assignments, it takes away from the freedom and looseness that is commonly associated with these participatory media. Once students feel the pressure to produce something that needs to be something in content, they might be discouraged and unmotivated.  I think that it is crucial to encourage students to be critical thinkers, however allow them to do it on their own time and conditions.

Throughout the years, the youth have been mega influential when it comes to changing things and raising awareness. If we look at the recent elections in the U.S. and the effects of the hype and propaganda that was create by the younger generations, we can see how significant youth influence is. Now, we have to learn how to make these same kids channel their influence and power in a positive and monumental way. The kids need to stand up for what they believe in and we have to make them passionate about more than just or Britney Spears’ latest debauchery. Using the youth power through media to spread positive messages about social justice is the ideal way to use participatory media. Now it is up to us as teachers to make them passionate about and politically aware!



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