Teens and the Internet

Stephen Abram posted yesterday on a presentation by Lee Rainie from the Pew Internet and American Life Project. (As an aside, if you ever get the chance to listen to a presentation by Lee, GO!)

Stephen reports on a few tidbits from the report, which can be found in full here.

Briefly,

    87% of those ages 12-17 use the internet.
    Teens from the poorest families lag in internet use.
    Teens are technology rich and enveloped by a wired world.
    Bad experiences online keep some teens away from the internet. (I found this very surprising.)
    Teens log on most often from home, but library use grows more than any other location.
    Email is still a fixture in teens’ lives, but instant messaging is preferred.
    Teens’ IM use eclipses that of adults. (Duh.)
    IM offers ways for teens to express their identity and reshape technology to their purposes.
    Most teens will block messages from those they want to shun or avoid.
    One in five online teens keeps a blog and 38% read them.
    Email is still a fixture in teens’ lives, but instant messaging is preferred.

Given that 87% of teens 12-17 use the Internet, and given that poor teens are behind the curve in Internet use, I would posit that the mission of a public or school library today is to offer those teens a place to access the Internet.

What does that really mean? Virtually every library now has public access computers. Unfortunately, some also have Battleaxe Librarians who hover and scowl and generally make teens very aware that they are simply not wanted in the library.

If you are one of the Battleaxe Librarians, stop it. Right now.

If one of your staff is the Battleaxe Librarian, either get BL to stop it immediately, or get rid of them.

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