First Draft of Book Presentation

[fr] Un premier jet de ce que pourrait être une présentation de mon projet de livre, en anglais.

// Here’s a first draft of what a short presentation of my book project would be. Comments and nitpicking welcome. Is this convincing? Does it sound solid?

A Book About Teenagers and the Internet

Teenagers are very active internet users. Parents and educators, however, less so. There is often quite a bit of confusion over what teenagers are doing online and how risky their online occupations are. Attitudes range from complete lack of interest (probably fuelled by fear of technological incompetence) to outright panic (particularly about sexual predators, with complicity of the media).

Adults who are not particularly internet-savvy (and even those who are familiar with it) need a sane guide to precisely what all this “online stuff” is about. What is beneficial? What is harmless? Where are the real dangers? How does being “totally wired” (in Anastasia Goodstein’s terms) influence relationships and social life?

This book will be is a guide to understanding today’s online world, aimed at parents, teachers, and educators. It will helps them make informed educational decisions about teenagers’ use of the internet. The focus will be is on de-dramatizing a lot of the “risks” the mainstream media have been very vocal about (sexual predators, for instance) and on promoting a deep understanding of how online and offline are integrated in teens’ lives. This brings about new issues with are maybe not dramatic, but which can be challenging for our youth, and which they should not have to face without the support of the adults they love or trust in their lives.

Part “tourist guide to the online world”, part essay, this book should be is a precious ally for those living or working with teenagers, and who sometimes feel at loss with what the internet is all about;, as well as contributing it also contributes to a more general understanding of how the internet is changing our lives.

About the Author

Stephanie Booth has been a very active and respected online citizen for close to ten years. After graduating in arts (Indian religions and culture, philosophy, French), she worked first as a project manager and then as a middle-school teacher. She left teaching in 2006 to devote herself exclusively to helping others understand internet culture and technology, and make good use of it.

An important part of her work has been giving lectures in French-speaking Switzerland about “the living internet” (blogging, instant messaging…) to teenagers, parents, and schoolteachers. Her extensive personal experience of “internet life” married to a strong academic background and her ability to explain tricky concepts to a variety of audiences in a down-to-earth and convincing fashion have led her to be recognized by both the media and school authorities as an expert on “teenagers and internet” issues.

She has been writing regularly on her blog Climb to the Stars http://climbtothestars.org for over seven years, both in English and in French. A lot of her thinking about the internet can be found there.

Contents

  • Kids online, parents offline: why is it a problem?
  • How teenagers use the internet: it’s a town, not a library
  • Where can it go wrong?
  • Core online publication issues: anonymity, permanence, findability
  • How afraid should we be of sexual predators?
  • How online communication affects relationships
  • What can parents do?
  • The bigger picture: media education

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This entry was posted in Digital Youth, Livre and tagged book, Digital Youth, internet, Livre, prevention, project, projet, proposal, teenagers, teens, Writing. Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to First Draft of Book Presentation

  1. Marc says:

    Very good overview. I have some (parent) friends who’d be delighted to have this book next to them. Of course, I’d like to know more about the “What can parents do” chapter, since I’d hate to be a kid nowadays; all technologies can be used in such a powerful way to track me and keep a perpetual eye on me… where’s the limit between “accompanying” and “surveilling”? That’s another responsibility that should be taken into account…

  2. Stephanie says:

    Thanks a lot, Marc! I’m a strong proponent of “accompanying” rather than “spying” — a point I think I managed to get across when the BBC interviewed me about parents signing up on FaceBook so they could snoop on their kids. Education and parenting haven’t changed fundamentally because the internet is there. It’s about building trust, respect, and a certain quality of relationship.

  3. DK says:

    Looks good – want to challenge you with this question: how will it be different to this?:

    http://www.mediasnackers.com/report/2007/March/08/296/

    DK MediaSnackers Founder

  4. Stephanie says:

    DK: already answered here: http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/10/08/a-book-on-teenagers-and-the-internet/ (most importantly, it’ll be in French and with a European perspective, and written by a different person)

  5. Style nitpicker here: using the present tense everywhere might make your proposal more punchy. “This book IS a guide…” makes it more real and convicing. Same for the bio part – most of it still happens today, so present tense might help. And I’d remove as much of the stuff in parentheses as well. All IMHO – you’re the native speaker of course ;-)

  6. Stephanie says:

    Bertrand: thanks for the tip about the tense, I’ve changed it. I know I have a problem with bracket over-use. And I’m not sure that in this situation I’d really consider myself a native speaker ;-)

  7. Cathy says:

    It sounds very interesting, and I think very useful. My one comment – and this is nitpicking! is that your first question is about danger. I know that this is what parents think about first when they think about their kids’ internet usage, but this first place gives it once again a prominence it might not merit – and could indicate that the book will be dealing with online predators and how to avoid them. Then again, it is nitpicking and I am a little bit oversensitive on the issue – as are I think a lot of people who study and research young people’s internet lives. People’s reactions are nearly always either dismissive or fearful, so I can only applaud a book that will try and change this! May you reach many many parents :)

  8. Stephanie says:

    Cathy: I agree with you 100% — I changed the order of the questions. This is exactly the kind of feedback I need, keep it coming!

  9. Chris Webb says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    Is this just a small part of your proposal? It looks like a great start, but from my point of view it’s not nearly enough. A great proposal has sevral sections you have not included here, so I suspect this is just a sampling.

    I’ve written a series of posts on writing book proposals that may provide you with some additional ideas.

    Good luck!

  10. Stephanie says:

    Chris: thanks a lot. Actually, I’m not quite sure what this was meant to be. I mean, it’s a rather brief and superficial description of my book, but clearly not meant to be a formal proposal. I mainly didn’t want to be going to the Frankfurter Buchmesse with empty hands in case I met any “interested” people… not that this text here was very useful (I have a post to write on what I learnt from the book fair, I think I’ll do it tomorrow).

    The proposal itself will have to be in French, as that’s the language I’ll be writing the book in. But I guess it could also be useful to have some English version of what I’m doing stashed away somewhere.

    As you can probably see, I’m still swimming in the beginning of the big blue sea of “where do I start”, and using the “start with a really shitty first draft” technique to at least be writing something, rather than kicking myself repeatedly for not doing anything.

    Your series on writing a book proposal seem really interesting and I’m certain I’ll use those posts. So thanks again for stopping by.

  11. Pingback: A Day at the Frankfurter Buchmesse at Climb to the Stars (Stephanie Booth)

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