Valerie A. Ott
If you haven’t already, be sure to register for YALSA’s second annual Teen Tech Week, which will take place March 2–8, 2008. YALSA established this initiative last year in recognition of the fact that technology is integral to teens’ lives. In fact, according to the Pew Internet Study, teens spend an average of more than six hours a day using media of varying types. Considering that teens spend approximately seven hours each day in a classroom, I thought this number seemed high. However, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, especially as, living across from our local high school, I watch as teens walk home at 3 p.m., talking on their cell phones, listening to their iPods, and texting their friends. Similarly, I was amused and slightly perplexed one day when I observed two teenagers at a popular eatery. When one got up from the table to refill her drink, her companion immediately got on his phone and held a twenty-second conversation with another friend that went something like this: “Hey, what’re you doing?” (Pause for reply.) “Nothing, I’m with Britney at Panera.” (Pause for reply.) “Yeah, OK, see ya.” This interaction, though brief, is the way teens interact: digitally and constantly. Presumably, cell phone usage continues on into the evening, not to mention the time spent downloading music, browsing the Web for pleasure or homework, and playing video games. Speaking of downloading music, this year’s theme—Tune In @ your library®—focuses on music and sound. Although teens today listen to and acquire music differently than we used to, one thing has remained the same: music has universally appealed to teens through the decades. Today, music is almost ubiquitous in teens’ lives due to its availability through MP3 players and the Internet.
Hopefully, this year’s Teen Tech Week will help you find ways to make sure teens are responsible users of all that is digital, thereby making you a trusted and savvy professional. Visit www.ala.org/ teentechweek to register for the event and to get activity ideas for this year’s initiative. And, don’t forget to check out the YALSA blog for topics related to Teen Tech Week as well. Not surprisingly, this issue of YALS is dedicated to Teen Tech Week and focuses on issues and ideas pertaining to this year’s theme and on technology in general. The Hot Spot contains a webliography of music-related Web sites, Web tools, and partnership ideas for a successful Teen Tech Week as well as books related to gaming, among other articles. So, if you’re at a loss for how to observe this year’s celebration, or just feel a bit disconnected from your teens due to the constantly changing digital landscape, this issue will help you feel more tuned in.