Common Sense Media Forms Moms On Media Community

mom-csm.jpgPromise I’ll finish my Earth Day eco-posts on Dizzywood’s Arbor Day Foundation digital alliance, Zookazoo’s water and power eco-games & Habbo’s greening of their virtual worlds for eco-consumption (or in this case, ANTI-consumption, yay!) along with their prior Greenpeace/United Nations teen survey on eco-concerns…

In fact, I’ll up the eco-ante and promise an all green, all week kid-fest and analysis of positive media notables, including pbs kids’ Mama Mirabelle Earth Day special on ‘Gourmet Grazing’ in the Savannah…but right now, so many new digital developments have transpired in just the last 24 hours it’s hard to keep up!

For starters, the Common Sense Media newsletter is plugging “MOMS,” their new social media community, Moms on Media to hear how folks are managing media in their own homes and connect concerned voices out there to engage, share, and have a say in how different media issues are landing on kids at various ages and stages.

Should be interesting research, and I wish I could participate more fully, but like most moms, I’m time crimped and juggling as it is…CSM will probably discuss it tonight at their public forum co-sponsored with the MacArthur Foundation on new media in the everyday lives of youth, called “From My Space to Hip Hop”—which looking at the clock, I can see I’m late for already.

Is there an island I can buy (not just a virtual one) to retreat from this dashing/frenetic pace a tad? Time for a visit to my eco-community in Roatan.

Speaking of islands, Global Kids’ Barry Joseph informs us Global Kids has just launched RezEd (first podcast here) which serves as a crossroads for learning, virtual worlds, and the formation of community in the digital sphere.

globalkids_150-150.jpgRezEd looks very cool on the info-sharing educator front, and worthy of a full-blown post in itself, particularly as it relates to testimony before Congress and new media policy in general! (finally, we’ll get to that interview with Barry we’ve been talking about since the November ‘what are kids learning in virtual worlds’ event from the same CSM/MacArthur crew at USC’s Annenberg campus that Izzy Neis wrote about here; complete with ‘penguin bumping,’ and other behavioral ‘ahas’ for adults…)

For now, I’ll wait until AFTER this evening’s event at Stanford to put all of the digital learning and virtual worlds into a larger new media context…but here are some of the topics just to get you thinking about questions we should all be asking in the media/techno sphere…

Here’s the agenda on tonight’s event…dashing out…

From My Space to Hip Hop: New Media In the Everyday Lives of Youth

A public forum on how digital technologies and new media are changing the way that young people learn, play, socialize and participate in civic life.

A MacArthur Foundation/Common Sense Media Forum,Wednesday April 23rd, 2008 Hewlett Teaching Center, Building 200, Stanford University 370 Serra Mall

Featured Panel Participants 5:00- 5:15 Introduction

Julia Stasch, Vice President of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation will present an overview of MacArthur’s $50 million digital media and learning initiative and introduce speakers

5:15 – 6:30 Research Presentations
Researchers from the Kids’ Informal Learning with Digital Media project will present case studies from a three-year ethnographic study that seeks to document what young people are doing with new media and online networks, from the perspective of youth themselves. The research has been conducted through a set of 22 distinct case studies that target different online sites, practices, and populations. The complete research study is to be published in summer 2008.

Teen Socialization Practices in Networked Publics
danah boyd, University of California Berkeley
Drawing from interviews of teens across the U.S., boyd will explain how social network sites such as MySpace and Facebook have become an integral part of how youth relate to one another and develop their social identities.

Understanding New Media in the Home
Heather Horst, University of California Berkeley
Looking across a range of case studies, Horst will examine how families of varying backgrounds negotiate the changes and challenges of incorporating new media into everyday family life.

Hip Hop Music and Meaning in the Digital Age
Dilan Mahendran, University of California Berkeley
Based on his study of youth hip hop production in the Bay Area, Mahendran will describe how young people learn, mobilize, and develop meaning through collaborative digital media production.

New Media from a Youth Perspective
Mimi Ito, University of Southern California and Principle Investigator of the Kids’ Informal Learning with Digital Media project
Ito will conclude the research presentations with an overview of project cases studies, ending with a discussion of what parents, educators, and technology developers can learn from youth engagement with new media.

6:30-7:30 Panel Discussion
A panel of respondents representing four constituencies – educators, parents, media, and technology leaders – will highlight the implications of the research findings and pose questions to the presenters to stimulate audience conversation

Tim O’Reilly, Founder and CEO O’Reilly Media

Deborah Stipek, Dean, Stanford University School of Education

Linda Burch, Chief Program and Strategy Officer, Common Sense Media

Kenny Miller, EVP & Creative Director MTV Networks Global Digital Media

Moderated by
Connie Yowell, Director of Education MacArthur Foundation

7:30 Reception
An opportunity to converse with a broad group of people interested in digital media and learning. Research team members from all 22 cases involved in the Kids’ Informal Learning with Digital Media project will be on hand to discuss their projects in a poster session format.

MacArthur Foundation
The MacArthur Foundation launched its five-year, $50 million digital media and learning initiative in 2006 to help determine how digital technologies are changing the way young people learn, play, socialize, and participate in civic life. Answers are critical to developing educational and other social institutions that can meet the needs of this and future generations. The initiative is both marshaling what is already known about the field and seeding innovation for continued growth.

Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media is the nation’s leading non-partisan non-profit organization dedicated to improving the media lives of children and families. Today, hundreds of thousands of parents, educators, and young people will turn to the Common Sense Media Guide for trustworthy information, easy-to-use tools and practical guidance they need to raise a generation of media savvy kids and families. To become a member, please visit us at

Stanford University School of Education
The Stanford University School of Education is a leader in groundbreaking, cross-disciplinary research and analysis that help shape educational practice and policy. Internationally distinguished faculty integrate practice and research by working collaboratively with administrators, teachers and policy leaders around the world. The school develops the knowledge, wisdom and imagination of its students to enable them to take leadership positions in efforts to improve the quality of education around the globe.



  1. Follow up post from TechCrunch here on the CSM/MacArthur aevent above, called, “Are wired kids well served by schools?” (hat tip to Kirsten Bollen, many thanks!)

    Highlights/pull quotes that I concur were top topics:

    “…Are schools disconnected from real-world tech skills? Dale Dougherty, founding editor and publisher of Make and Craft magazines, said during the panel that his team asked an audience of programmers where they learned to write code. Only 15 percent said that they learned programming at school.”

    …”Kids are drawn to create media online because their work can be immediately recognized or judged among their peer group or a larger audience, according to Mimi Ito, a cultural anthropologist of technology use and a principal investigator on MacArthur’s project. That, she said, can be immediately gratifying.” In contrast, it can take kids much longer to reap the rewards or build recognition from hard work in school.

    “It’s the context of publicity now (online) vs. delayed gratification of getting a job in 10 years,” Ito said. “The assessment of what they do happens internal to their community (of peers). Kids get to be the evaluator as much as the producer in interest-driven groups. School is much more of a future trajectory.”

    And my total agreement along these lines, when they mention that more questions were posed than answers given.

    Whew. I’ll say. Yours truly posed one on ‘commercialization encroachment into the digital space altering the creativity and conversation’…Unfortunately, that one is an entire ‘summit’ in itself!!! 🙂 –AJ

  2. Dr. Jennifer Leigh says:

    Amy, The seminar indeed left more questions opened than it answered. The segment on Hip Hop was disappointing as it showcased an after school program for teens to hang out and create music, as opposed to exploring the real work of commercial hip hop and its messages and effects on our teens. In my own two years of research with teens, compiled in my newest book, “Laid or Loved? The Secrets Guys Wish You Knew About Being A Dream Girl Instead of a Just-In-His-Jeans Girl, both guys and girls had much to share about hip hop and rap lyrics. Many (most?) are put downs to girls/women. Frankly, I was hoping to hear more “meat on the bone” from a research project that was funded with 50 million dollars. Gosh.. I spent 30-40 thousand out of my own pocket to research my book, and feel I have more answers as to what is going on out there! with 66K “friends” on MySpace, I have been in the trenches with these kids. They have more to say than what was presented Wednesday night, IMHO. 😉

  3. Agree it was very basic, Dr. Jen; in fact, I just posted on Sara Grimes great blog, Gamine Expedition (see our sidebar) echoing same…

    Specifically, I said:

    “…I went to hear Mimi Ito and danah boyd et al again, but was a bit restless that the research wasn’t more readily avail with takeaways, and the Q&A was limited, and basic.

    I snagged the mike for one of the handful of questions allowed, and asked them to address the encroachment of commercialism!

    Specifically…how we can prevent it from altering the creativity, innovation, conversations, digital dialog and frankly, the overall platform!

    A hush fell over the crowd and you could hear a pin drop.

    The panelists deferred to the MTV guy saying, “um…er…you wanna take that one?” sigh.

    It was right at the tail end of the event, and I was swarmed by a plethora of people sounding off about same, carping, “Why didn’t they discuss this in the first place!?”

    Guess it was meant as more of a ‘primer’ and overview, but for Silicon Valley environs, it was ‘internet 101’…and no hard balls were lobbed at all.

    Even Jim Steyer of Common Sense Media said to me later, ‘wow, that was the million dollar question now, wasn’t it?!’ — Others came up and said, “no one answered your question, did you notice that?” Uh, yup. Dying to hear your take on the new virtual worlds ‘blue book’ and such too…”

    As for your discussion of being in the trenches and the sexualization of teens/impact, etc.—check out this post on the alternet called “Helping Girls Navigate Sexualization in the Media” by Joyce McFadden:

    You should participate in her ‘women’s realities’ study with your research and field work to add to the mix!

    Looking forward to reading your book…Best, Amy

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