Monday, December 01, 2008

Could we teach teens about relationships online?

Social scientists who study dating, relationship development, cohabitation and marriage would seem to me to be perfectly positioned to use social networking tools, texting and other new media tools to explore these issues with young people in ways that not only increase our knowledge about these topics, but engage young people in interesting and challenges explorations of these topics.

Ito and her colleagues in their explorations of young people and new media, describe a process of "geeking out" which young people
are delving into areas of interest that exceed common knowledge; this generally involves seeking expert knowledge networks outside of given friendship-driven networks. Rather than simply messing around with local friends, geeking out involves developing an identity and pride as an expert and seeking fellow experts in far-flung networks. Geeking out is usually supported by interest-based groups, either local or online, or some hybrid of the two, where fellow geeks will both produce and exchange knowledge on their subjects of interest. Rather than purely “consuming” knowledge produced by authoritative sources, geeked out engagement involves accessing as well as producing knowledge to contribute to the knowledge network (p. 28-29).
Ito and her colleagues also document how young people use new media tools to develop and maintain social relationships and romantic interests. In short, these tools already are being used as a natural place of social development so...... this seems like an obvious place to both study social relationships among young people and a place to engage young people in "geeking out" on more sophisticated explorations of social ties that intersect with the ways in which social scientists study relationships.


Anonymous said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Robert Hughes Jr, PhD said...


I appreciate the kind words. These are all working ideas and I welcome comments, questions or criticisms.


Baby Jane said...

Teaching online or non-online relationships are great as long as students learn what they are about. I am looking forward to your blog posts... Keep it up.