Preface by Paul Willis
This reader begins a conversation about the many aspects of critical youth studies. Chapters in this volume consider essential issues such as class, gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, cultural capital, and schooling in creating a dialogue about and a conversation with youth. In a society that continues to devalue, demonize, and pathologize young women and men, leading names in the academy and youth communities argue that traditional studies of youth do not consider young people themselves. Engaging with today’s young adults in formal and informal pedagogical settings as an act of respect, social justice, and transgression creates a critical pedagogical path in which to establish a meaningful twenty-first century critical youth studies.
30 Mediated Youth, Curriculum,and Cyberspace: Pivoting the In-Between
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Without question, youth are using digital technologies to construct identities, make connections, and challenge the world they inhabit. The statistics among teens are unsurprising—93% report having home Internet access, just 22% do not have a cell phone, and 47% of those who do possess a cell phone actually have a smart phone. Approximately 25% of teens who have smart phones report using that device to access the Internet more often than using a computer or tablet (Madden, Lenhart, Duggan, Cortesi, & Gasser, 2013). Increasingly, teens are wired on mobile devices, with older teen girls more likely to surf the Internet using a smart phone. The steady rise in mobile-device ownership and usage among teens represents a clear shift in digital-technology usage. Instead of using a fixed device to bring the world to them, teens are carrying the world with them using portable technologies.
Historically, researchers have examined the ways that youth use digital technologies, the influence of those technologies on youth, and the ways that parents and teachers might use similar tools to educate young people. This research explored the effects of emerging technologies (cell phones, computers) on the lives of young people, and their evolution as the “net generation” (Tapscott, 1998). Important critiques emerged as well, with some researchers challenging the portrayals of youth as one homogenous entity with similar access to technology (McKay, Thurlow, & Zimmerman, 2005). Clearly, the ways that urban youth of color might access technology might differ from the ways that rural...
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