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Showing posts from October, 2013

Teen Facebook posts can now be public. Does it matter?

By Trudy Dunham Facebook changed its policy for teens last week. In the past, teens' posts could only be seen by "friends" and "friends of friends". Now, they can designate their posts for public viewing. Does this matter? Should teens have the same privacy, or lack of privacy, rights as adults? There are concerns about what this will mean for teens. Will this policy change further compromise their online safety? Will the impact of cyber bullying, its frequency or severity, increase? Will more young people jeopardize their educational and career futures by "unwise" posting of images, opinions and links? Will marketing become even more focused on youth, as information about their likes and activities are harvested for more specific ad targeting? And does it matter? All these are possible and may even be likely outcomes of this Facebook change in policy. It raises the risks to youth who use social media, and youth who just know teens who do. B

Start seeing youth with incarcerated parents

By Sara Langworthy How does incarceration affect the youth and families that you work with every day? Chances are, more than you know. You don't have to play too many rounds of six degrees of separation to find someone who's affected by incarceration. In 2011, 6.98 million people were incarcerated in the U.S -- about 1 out of 34 adults. How many of those 6.98 million people have children? Sixty-one percent of women and 53% of men who are incarcerated are parents. In 2007, an estimated 1.75 million children under age 18 had a parent in a state or federal prison in the U.S. An estimated 1 in 15 African American children in the U.S. have a parent who is incarcerated. In fact, there are more children with an incarcerated parent than there are with autism or juvenile diabetes. Despite the shockingly high prevalence of parental incarceration, their children remain largely invisible as such. That's unfortunate, because they could use some extra help. We know that they a

Tough choice? Youth voice!

Change presents adult coaches, mentors, club leaders and other youth educators with a chance to involve youth in the decision-making process. These opportunities arise all the time. For example, every year thousands of young people compete in First Lego League , an annual challenge to design and build robots to solve a given problem. There is a different type of challenge every time and elaborate rules for participation. Among them are the equipment specifications -- software, sensors, programming. In January, First Lego League organizers announced the availability of a new robotic platform. More than 480 youth team leaders then faced the choice of whether to spend upwards of $500 to upgrade their equipment, and thus learn new software and skills, or use the equipment they already had and save precious team resources. Would the benefits of upgrading outweigh the cost? Each adult leader faced this question. I wonder how many of the teams struggled with this decision and whether prog

How does out-of-school time foster social emotional learning?

By Margo Herman Recently, the Extension Center for Youth Development launched a three-year initiative to explore social emotional learning (SEL) and its role in positive youth development. Colleagues of mine have blogged about the importance of SEL, the need to build understanding around common language and measures , and why the time is right to try and make a difference in how we think about, assess, and work to improve policy and practice. This week, I ask you to think about the following important question: HOW do out-of-school time programs help youth acquire these skills? A New York Times article on Sept. 11, 2013 "Can Emotional Intelligence Be Taught?" was the second most emailed article for the paper that day. The author states "noncognitive skills -- attributes like self-restraint, persistence and self-awareness -- might actually be better predictors of a person's life trajectory than standard academic measures". Based on extensive resea