The Laptop Club: “Games+me=good. Parents+trying=bad.”
“I used to suspect that the idea of Tween Culture was an urban myth created by marketers, but now I believe that wherever it’s coming from, it is a real phenomenon. Eight years old appears to be a watershed year for many girls in which they begin to participate in pop culture and also crystallize their social structure. Knowing who your friends are, and either committing to a best friend or figuring out how to remain friends with everyone, are very important. That’s what fascinated me about their laptops. It was a way to demonstrate their knowledge of pop culture and social networks. Having your name on your friend’s keyboard is a little like being in someone’s “Top 8 friends” on MySpace. And yet these kids most likely don’t even know about MySpace yet.
How often do you use a computer? Five times a week.
What do you like to do when you’re using a computer? Play games and write stories and poems.
What will computers look like in the future? Well you see, if we had whole days to work on it, and bigger paper, I think we could make it way more detailed.
Who is better at using a computer, you or your parents? Games + me = good. Parents + trying = bad. I am better at using games and if you guys try them, you get crushed.
[ After being told this interview would be published on the internet ] “I’m going to be popular! I should make a blog button, right now.”
It is clear that the digital world is already huge for elementary-age kids, whether it is Webkinz, Littlest Pet Shop keychain pets, Club Penguin, or Nickelodeon TV show web sites. I am trying to keep my 8-year old daughter off the internet for as long as possible but it’s hard to resist the social pressure. She has been begging for a Webkinz for six months now. She has even said that she doesn’t care if we don’t let her go online with her Webkinz, she just wants to be able to say that she has one. But of course if she did have one, she would want to go online.
…The mini-laptop club project shows me just how far the concepts behind the virtual world have penetrated into real life. Even with relatively little exposure to computers, these children have absorbed ideas about shopping online, interacting socially with virtual pets and real friends, and even media convergence with their favorite movies and songs loaded on the laptops. They get these ideas from siblings, friends, TV shows and ads, and watching their parents use computers.”
I love this. It’s fascinating to see how 7, 8, 9… year olds would design a laptop from these construction paper prototypes they’ve made. How am I just discovering this project??
Images and borrowed excerpt via here.
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