Mobile technologies have almost completely immersed themselves into everyone’s twenty first century lifestyle. From smartphones, and watches, to laptops light enough to barely record a reading on a scale society is essentially “plugged in” at all times to the web and everywhere they go. For students this has created their own cyber culture from the way they communicate with others and retrieve information from the environment surrounding them. It is equally important that both parents and educators are aware of this culture in order to better relate to our youth.
Parents may be at the biggest disadvantage as they often struggle to connect or understand what their children are doing online and with their devices. In Yardi and Bruckman’s (2012) article in which they explore how families of different race, income, and class view mobile technologies different, they found similarities for all parents in how little most of them know about what their kids are doing online. Most parents would agree that their children spend too much time online and they attempted to limit usage. As one parent mentioned in an interview transcript, ” It got to the point where they would email each other in the same house at the same time ” (3044). Parents are often worried not only at the amount of time their kids are spending online, but what they are doing online as well.
A major component of the cyber culture includes the fact that teens spend a lot of time interacting with their devices, and for some is their primary form of communication. Since most teens communicate most frequently through their devices, another part of the culture that is constantly discussed is the new generation texting language that has resulted. In Pachler’s (2010) article, he writes in a section labeled “Txt speak and new literacies” the debate over using texting language and formal writing and speaking is always brought up. Regardless of what side of the debate you may be on, its clear that students immersed in this cyber culture and utilize this text language in order to communicate with each other. As Pachler tell us, ” young people use new forms of communication which appear to include layers of meaning not accessible by ‘traditional’ language skills alone” (89). Despite its simplicity to formal speaking and writing, the text language still has complexity to it He adds on that the multiple forms of communication lead to, “ways that engage several communication pathways at the same” (89). Many fear this new form of language because it leads to change and a breaking away from the traditional ways of communication. However in this cyber culture that many of our students are now a part of, as educators we need to decide how much we are willing to embrace this language as we rely more and more on mobile devices as learning tools in the classroom. I am curious to hear anyone’s thought or opinions of this matter.
Pachler, N., et al. (2010). Mobile devices as resources for learning. (pages 73 through 93).
Yardi, S., & Bruckman, A. (2012). Income, race, and class: exploring socioeconomic differences in family technology use. In Proceedings of the 2012 ACM annual conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 3041-3050). ACM.