I took these notes at LIFT’08 in February, and am only publishing them now, I’m afraid!
Workshop notes with real live teenagers! No guarantee as to how exact
my notes are… etc.
Four teenagers from the International School of Founex
Trying to formalize things. A bunch of themes/apps to approach this session:
Social networks, IM, Music, Video/Films, E-mail, Blogs, Niche Web2.0,
Location based, Connectivity (what hardware?), Phone SMS, Own tools,
Wow and virtual worlds… Real world.
Friends/social circle, buying/e-commerce/for free,
advertising/marketing/messages, geographical distance, homework,
privacy security personal data, organising, fragmentation
Going round the room to see who is who and what their interest in
teenagers and the net is.
steph-note: worried that the approach here might be a little too
Teens (seem like a highly educated, very literate bunch, critical;
Chloe: Facebook to communicate with teachers, a lot for school. Not a
gamer, more of a social/pictures person. Maths homework via internet
(Mathletics). 2h a night.
Luisa (?): 16 — Facebook to communicate with each other, organise
meetings, not a gamer.
Elliot: not much of a computer-user, heavy mobile phone user
(text/calling), would play games (was denied electronics until he was
12). Facebook: good way of archiving who your friends are and what
they look like — good way to communicate by replying in your own
Liam: typical: video games, music (not a hardcore gamer though),
Facebook to keep track of friends (social circle online and offline
overlap). Wikipedia saves your life for homework.
Elliot: FB = great way of controlling the photos of you other people
are posting on the internet.
Liam: used to use MySpace but now really identified with Emos… so.
Chloe: used to have a skyblog, had lots of french-speaking friends. In
the international world, more Facebook. Was one of the first in her
school to have FB, as one of her best friends moved to the US and they
had it there.
ELuisa: FB really helps you keep up-to-date with people you’ve met
over the summer. With e-mail, your friendship wears out.
Liam: regular e-mail is good for attachments.
Luisa: it’s weird to have your teacher as your friend. steph-note:
they don’t want to know too much about their teachers lives
Chloe: concerned about providing stalker material (cleaned up and
deleted many people she didn’t really know). Didn’t realise that
everybody in the Switzerland network could see all her info — changed
the setting, and is spreading the word around her, even to her
My parents use the internet to work/communicate (use FB e.g.) so quite
open-minded. Used to ask for her e-mail password in case anything
happened, but Chloe doesn’t really think it’s necessary.
Luisa: keeping up on FB gives you something to talk about when you go
back — you’re up-to-date.
Never considered using Skyblog as public, and parents uncomfortable.
FB: more control and privacy, feels comfortable with it.
Elliot: couple of friends of mine rejected from universities based on
their FB page.
Elliot: heard that some employers now demand access to your FB page
(but could be untrue). FB information is rather light-hearted, likes
and dislikes, etc — not really the business of the school or the
- how much of a threat do sexual predators online seem to you?
- do you feel that holding back personal information keeps you safer?
Chloe: not that concerned (from what I understand), doesn’t think that
holding back information keeps her safer — weirdos can get that info
anyway. steph-note: good for her! Weird IM people: blocks them.
Luisa: less concerned than she feels she should.
Elliot: more concerned about internet fraud. (E-bay.)
Question: buying online?
Answer: not much (trust, likes going into shops and talking to people)
Chloe: doesn’t like the idea of paying by credit card.
Luisa: amazon++ that’s ok.
Q: concert tickets
Elliot: yeah, tickets often available only online — got semi-scammed once.
(The panel seems divided on online shopping.)
Luisa: convenience vs. safety (giving your credit card number)
Elliot: quite wary of using the credit cards he has, because he knows
he’s being tracked quite closely.
Comment: the teenagers here have little “positive” experience of using
their credit cards to counter-balance the media scare about issues
like fraud or identity theft — which can explain their general
Chloe: her dad and her do grocery shopping online on LeShop.ch, and
she’s comfortable with that. Useful.
Luisa, Liam: really weird to go shopping for clothes and food on the internet.
Elliot: gets information in the store and order it online.
Our panel doesn’t seem that familiar with the “go in town, take
photos, post them on facebook, get feedback, buy online” method.
Luisa: more “funny” pictures from changing rooms, but wouldn’t really
put them on FB.
girls: ask opinion about shopping for clothes to offline friends with
them, but wouldn’t do it via the internet. So much more fun to do it
offline. No fun to do it over the internet.
My question: plagiarism in homework
Answer: systems in place in school to detect it, don’t do it — know
people who have gotten away with it, but this is more something the
younger grades do. Doesn’t make much sense because you can’t fake oral
Elliot: wikipedia not regarded as a good source.
Liam: because anybody can write what they want on it.
Got to be careful with what you find in wikipedia. Experimented with
putting BS into pages just to see they could.
Music creation and writing on the computer. Picture editing.
Consensus: online doesn’t beat the real world.
Luisa: a good photographer is not somebody who’s skilled in photoshop,
it’s somebody who takes a good picture.
Some consensus here that digital art is “less” than using classical
techniques. Don’t feel “creative” in front of a computer.
Comment: you guys actually look down to things that are easy.
steph-note: spot on
steph-note: interesting how fascinated we adults are to have a chance
to actually talk with teenagers!
steph-note: conversation is interesting but going off-topic as far as
I’m concerned (about being critical in general, having role-models).
Elliot: technology makes it easier to be critical and determine if
what is said in a lecture is a widespread view or not, etc.
Question: do you have any role-models? steph-note: imho badly
phrased… need to be more concrete: who do you look upto? admire?
Discussion about music downloading. Awareness that they have the means
to buy the music they like (wealthy enough).
Luisa: “the internet isn’t the only way of spreading…(the word?)”.
Doing things for real (building a schoolroom in tanzania) has more
impact on me than buying a cow through the internet.
Not much webcam use (just Chloe, friends in the states).
steph-note: sorry, tuning out — could have done with a break but
didn’t push for it.
Discussion about creative commons and copyright. No perception that
photographs you find in Google are not free of rights. Seems to be a
lot of confusion about copyright regarding images/photographs.
Contrast with discourse about music downloading.
Blogs: a fashion that has gone past. steph-note: confirms what I
thought, and also why I’m not asked in for talks in schools as much as
before. I think FB and social networking in general are “replacing”
blogs for teenagers. In francophonia though, I guess FB hasn’t taken
off, so it will still be Skyrock. But it’s called Skyrock now, and not
Less use of MSN, but Skype and Facebook.
Elliot: in the UK, Blackberry
This bunch are the student council, go on humanitarian trips, etc. Not
the most tech-savvy necessarily, but talkative!
Data usage: this is Switzerland! Data is horrendously expensive, and
it’s not in the culture to use it.