Thursday, March 4, 2010

A Thin Line

It’s no secret that today’s teens are growing up in a world where digital communication is viral, especially regarding cell phone usage. According to the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project, 58% of 12 year olds reported owning a cell phone in 2009, a 40% increase from 2004. Social networking sites like Facebook have also grown in popularity, with 73% of teens ages 12-17 reporting using an online social network.

While the continual advent of new technology such as the iPod, Facebook and Twitter, offer many benefits, they have also created a new wave of digital harassment. As the news media have pointed out, sexting and cyberbullying are everyday issues in the hallways across America’s high schools. Mainstream media has taken note of these recent technological trends and MTV along with several national partners has launched A Thin Line campaign. The campaign is designed to empower teens to identify, respond to, and stop the spread of digital abuse among teens and their peers. Through discussion boards, video diaries and Q&As, the campaign demonstrates the negative consequences of digital communication and encourages teens to stand up and take control. Check out the site and see how these same forms of digital communication that have led to such issues of cyberbullying and sexting are now being utilized to combat them.

by: Jessica Cooper, Public Awareness Graduate Assistant
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