Program will look at generation growing up with smartphones, social media

Reading Eagle, February 20, 2018, By Matthew Nojiri

"Joni Siani remembers the fervor that accompanied Facebook's arrival on college campuses in the mid-2000s.

A few years later, she watched as students in her classroom struggled to go even a few minutes without checking their smartphones. They'd get uncomfortable if they couldn't see who had liked their posts or who had messaged them over the course of a single class lecture.

As Siani watched it all, alarm bells went off in her head.

'We have an entire generation that's trying to figure out this new social structure by themselves,' said Siani, a media and communications professor at Mount Ida College in Newton, Mass. 'I was exploring what I have termed digital socialization, or how this next generation is developing through this digital realm rather than every generation before them where you had to have this very authentic human connection with people.' ...

...'Just because we can communicate with people 24/7 doesn't mean we should,' Siani said.

Kids have to navigate a whole set of challenges that their parents didn't have to encounter, Siani said. Anonymous online conversations, creating an online identity, dealing with the other stresses of social media are unique to this era, she said.

'This is the first thing that replaces human one-one-one connectivity in a very authentic way,' she said 'It has a very different shaping effect than other mass media.' ..."

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