Elliot Rodger raises many avenues for analysis including, but not limited to, mental illness, misogyny, alienation, guns, and safety net systems. There is much to say, but for now, I’m leaving those words to experts. Instead, I suggest you keep a good thought for understanding, recovery and humanity.
My daughter would rather talk to her friends on her laptop or phone than have me drive them to a common place. I couldn’t figure this out, so I jumped at the chance to learn why during the “Digitial Girls: Confession, Connection, and Disconnection” webinar. It’s simple; teenage girls don’t differentiate between offline and online lives. Instead of talking on the phone, they talk online. In fact, in the hierarchy of today’s friendships, talking on the phone is reserved for a best friend. Everyone else is relegated to social media sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
How do girls use mobile devices?
1) Interpersonal communications. Remember the diary of private thoughts you kept hidden away, seen only by a nosy relative? Today’s diaries are public, and an online record can never be deleted, a large audience can both like and dislike your content, and content spreads rapidly.
2) Defining one’s personal identity. Social media provides a sense of control by allowing girls to “curate” their own “brand.” To understand this, think of the pictures you post on Facebook, the museum of you. Do you put up unflattering shots, or do look good? Are you there with your besties, excluding others who thought they were your favorite? It’s the same for young girls. Positive and negative comments and shots of people having fun without them keep young women on an emotional rollercoaster.
3) Educational purposes. Unfortunately, even with all this reliance on technology, the number of women pursuing science, technology, engineering and math degrees has declined since the mid-1980s. One way to turn that around is to encourage your child to create positive apps for girls; there are few.
Some salient statistics:
In 82% of online sex crimes against minors, the offender used the victim’s social networking site to gain information about the victim’s likes and dislikes.
Girls age 14 – 17 typically send and receive 100 texts a day, 50 more than boys.
Girls are more likely than boys to carry their phones on them at all times.
Boys spend more time than girls playing console video games, computer games, and going to video websites like YouTube.
Suzy Jacobs, Executive Director,
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