Posted by : Deborah Takahashi Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Goodstein, A. (2007). Meet a Totally Wired Tween. In Totally wired: what teens and tweens are really doing online. New York, NY: Saint Martin's Griffin.

In chapter one, "Meet a Totally Wired Tween," Goodstein introduces a variety of information and statistics that define a wired 'tween. In this particular article, the following statement really got me interested:
[...] today's teens and twentysomethings [are characterized] as being special, sheltered, confident ("with high levels of trust and optimism), team oriented, achieving, pressured, and conventional. They are "the largest, healthiest, and most cared-for generation in American history"(Goodstein,p.19). When I read this statement, and being a 27-seven-year old woman, and currently work with many teens and 'tweens, I have noticed a few similarities between my upbringing and theirs. However, despite the the 13-15 year age difference, the one thing that sets people my age and adolescents apart is technology.

I actually remember the first time my family got AOL dial-up service and man, did I love being on the internet. At fifteen, I was in chat rooms, playing games, and surfing the internet for whatever I could find; my only joy coming home from school was to get on the internet and chat with friends from all over the country. Today, 'tweens not only have high-speed internet, they have cell phones, iPads, laptops, and PSP's that can not only jump on the internet, but play music and stream movies. Moreover, they have unlimited text messaging and video chat that lets them contact anyone wherever they are...they don't necessarily have to wait to go home and jump on a computer. With these advances, parents are not only to provide their children with the new and coolest toys, but at cheaper rates than ever before (just because an iPod is $200, non-brand names sell MP3 players at $25). Moreover, with the demand for new technologies, and their use in this world, it has become mandatory to own some of the devices not only for necessity, but convenience and social status.

With all of this technology at their hands, 'tweens can spend hours upon hours learning how to do new and different things without help from their parents; for some odd reason, the young people today are born with this innate ability to use, create, and handle all new forms of technology. With this advantage over the parental units, they have gain an independence that they can easily use to their advantage for good things as well as bad. It is amazing to hear and learn how easily these techno savvy 'tweens can bypass filters, hack their iPhones, illegally download software/music, and infiltrate social networking sites. As the "most cared for" generation, 'tweens have many opportunities to change this world since they are not only catered to by the media and commercial enterprises, but so much research has been done, in regards to early development, that 'tweens are more well rounded then previous generations.

So how exactly can libraries keep up with these highly intelligent and motivated 'tweens? Get to know them, their interests, and interact with them. They may walk around like they know everything and anything, but, in reality, they need guidance to learn how to decipher and utilize information that will help them develop the critical thinking skills they will need to become productive members of society. Yes, all of this research has been done on how 'tweens grow and behave, but it's our jobs, as adults and mentors, to help mold those behaviors.

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Deborah Takahashi
Pasadena, CA, United States
My name is Deb and I am a Librarian who absolutely loves to read and recommend books to teen and tween readers. In this blog, you will find reviews on a variety resources ranging from books, movies, video games, and much more. Please feel free to leave any feedback, especially book recommendations!
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