So this is the world's smallest sample, but I was heartened today to have a conversation--face-to-face, I might add- with a 12 year old girl from Connecticut about her communications with friends and others. She told me she stopped using emails "about two years ago" when it became "dumb, because all my friends have phones." So they could text each other.
When I asked her how much she texts a day, she said about a half hour,..."well, maybe 45 minutes." I told her that people like Sherry Turkle, who wrote Alone Together in which she discusses the many hours per day many pre teens and teens spend on their phones, texting the world, she said that "is lame." She says she has too much homework to do, and besides she sees most of her friends at school. She texts usually to make arrangements to get together with them when they aren't near enough to discuss face-to-face.
We moved on to discussing her Facebook presence. Did she agonize over setting up her profile? "Not really," she said, "although I know friends that have done that. Changed their pictures many times and stuff like that." She says really she can't stand to get tons of pictures from all her friends detailing their latest session feeding their dog, taking a bike ride, whatever. She prefers to use it for what she called "important information" although she declined to say just what qualifies for that.
She said "Facebook is just a tool...and it isn't my life."
So there is hope, right? Or is it that she is 12 years old and this will all change when boys are more a presence in her life. Her mother is as eager to learn as I am. Probably more.