The fact is we all stare at screens more than we would like and many of us rely on these tools to communicate with others, even during times when we should be spending quality time with our families and friends. So does all this time staring at screens, which may take time away from looking at faces, change the nature of what we learn about the social world? Our study, at the Children’s Digital Media Center@LA, at UCLA, asked this question. We compared two groups of approximately 50 6th grade children each over a period of five days, one group had no access to screens of any kind, while the other did.
Phones are being used by teens for sexual exploration via the exchange of sexually suggestive content (sexting). Sexting includes explicit text, and nude or semi-nude personal pictures or videos captured on a cell phone or digital camera and sent via personal texts, emails, and instant messages. (Uhls et al, 2011). Pew research in 2009 found that 4% of adolescents report sending sexts while 15% report receiving them. The report also found that there was no difference in the amount of sexts sent or received even when parents checked their children’s cell phones. Thus, kids seem to do it, even if they know their parents may see the photos!
Yet even adults, elected officials such as Anthony Weiner, have made these kind of boneheaded moves. And so far, he is claiming that he won’t resign. In this environment where everyone has access to this tool and thus bad (or stupid) behavior is easily documented and passed on to many others, should youth be punished?