On a Rosebush, the Pricks are On the Outside
That punchline to a really old, somewhat (well, okay, very) tasteless joke kept running through my head the other day as I was driving to work.The 20-something-year-old guy in the brand new gunmetal grey Porsche convertible in front of me had earbuds in his ears (listening to his iphone, which was shoved up into the sunvisor), and was driving with one hand while alternating between the blackberry and the ipad on his passenger seat with the other.
At the stoplight, he somehow managed to get all of his devices going at once, and when the light turned green, he was completely oblivious to the traffic moving on either side of him. After waiting for an eternity (well, okay, maybe about 5 seconds) for him to get a clue, I leaned on the horn.He looked in the rearview mirror, dropped the blackberry only long enough to flip me a birdie, and then drove off, driving with one hand and texting with the other.
The lead-in to the joke is, of course, “What’s the difference between a rosebush and a Porsche?”
What really struck me in retrospect about that incident was the fact that I could very easily have been looking at myself. Well, aside from the fact that my car is almost 20 years old, I don’t ever drive with earbuds on, and I don’t flip people off.But you get the point.Work with me, people.
At any one time, I’ve usually got at least two or three electronic and/or mobile devices going.While driving, I’ve got my headset on, my blackberry and iphone are cuddling in the passenger seat, and there’s usually a laptop or ipad peeking out from the briefcase on the floor.
The Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project released data on electronic device ownership this Summer, and found that more and more people are owning multiple types of devices.Ownership of cellphones (smart or otherwise) is still vastly greater than other types of ownership, with 83% of American adults owning cell phones.(Not that I would call the guy in the Porsche an “adult,” but I digress...) 57% of US adults own either a laptop or a desktop, 52% own a DVR, and 44% own an MP3. The biggest jump in device acquisition is for e-readers.Last November, less than 6% of adults owned one; now, that figure has doubled to 12%, surpassing the 8% who own tablet devices such as ipads. Even within these twoleast-owned categories, there is a lot of overlap in multiple device possession – 3% of American adults own both an e-reader and a tablet.
Yet while ownership is expanding rapidly, more and more studies are finding that knowledge of how and when to appropriately and accurately utilize the accompanying boom in content, crowdsourcing, and social networking is not growing in a commensurate way.We’ve all read the stories about job seekers being asked in interviews to explain inappropriate images or statements posted on their Facebook pages. A recent “Rhymes with Orange” nationally syndicated cartoon featured a guidance counselor at a high school surrounded by posters with slogans like, “What happens on Facebook stays on Facebook…forever…” and “Twitter: The Tattoos of Our Generation.”
A Northern Ireland father has sued Facebook over provocative photos posted on the site by his 12-year old daughter, claiming that the site does not do enough to educate members about the ramifications of improper usage, nor the dangers posed to children by unscrupulous adult predators.It is estimated that nearly 75 million Facebook users are under the minimum age of 13 ostensibly required by Facebook to create a page.
Even sophisticated users often ignore basic mobile device and social networking security precautions.A study by Juniper Networks in May found that “mobile devices are exposed to a record number of security threats.”The Android OS was reported as most vulnerable, with a 400% increase in Android malware in the past year.And security provider BullGuard released a report in June which indicates that 62% of mobile phone users do not have a basic password or PIN protecting the information on their phones.That statistic is especially interesting in light of a simultaneous study by Symantec which shows that 88% of people using work-related cellphones have received training in the importance of passwords (although only 42% of these same workers received training in the danger of downloading unverified apps).
The bottom line is that as our devices become more and more intrinsic to our lives – and the content that we create becomes easier and easier to post, upload, and be seen across multiple platforms by ever-increasing numbers of people – the importance of teaching people to become educated, savvy content creators and consumers rises ever higher.
At ZeroDivide, we know that underserved populations – and in particular, underserved youth – can be especially vulnerable if they are not taught to be thoughtful, discriminating technology consumers and creators.We have invested many years of expertise and financial resources in organizations which help young people to become safer, smarter techies.
And by investing in “organizations,” of course we mean “people.”Because when it really comes down to it, dedicated mentors, teachers, and nonprofit leaders are the ones who ultimately make the greatest impact on peoples’ lives.
One such dedicated person is Malory Graham, the founder of Reel Grrls in Seattle, Washington, who created Reel Grrls to empower young women from diverse communities to better themselves through the medium of media production. Malory will be leaving her post as Executive Director of Reel Grrls next year to pursue her filmmaking career, and we wish her the best and thank her for her legacy of work with young women in the Pacific Northwest.
And we know, Malory, that when you win your Oscar, you WON’T go out and buy a Porsche convertible, right?