Posted by: bluesyemre | November 15, 2017

How #librarians can be #DigitalMentors for teens by #AlexandraSamuel @awsamuel

Librarian Working with Student on Computer at a Library

What is the role of librarians, archivists, media trainers, and other information professionals in fostering a healthy digital world for the next generation?

That’s the question I want to tackle this week, in response to a delightful letter I recently received. This letter addressed my recent JSTOR Daily column, “Yes, Smartphones Are Destroying A Generation, But Not Of Kids.”

The letter came from a group of five graduate students in the Masters of Information Science program at the University of Texas at Austin. The students are taking Professor Amelia Acker’s course on Information in Social and Cultural Context, which included a unit about how screens are affecting the reading habits of young people. My earlier article, which addressed the recurring alarm over kids and screen time, talked about the importance of parents guiding kids’ screen habits as digital mentors. Here’s what Prof. Acker’s students still want to know:

[W]e were left wondering how to best serve as digital mentors in our role as information professionals. How can we practically bring these values into institutional spaces such as archives, libraries, community organizations, and cultural centers? Furthermore, do you believe these attitudes on parenting could, or will, change based on technological innovations? Many articles on parenting and technology focus on age differences. How do you think other cultural and identify factors such as race, gender, class and disability inform parents’ relationships and attitudes towards technology?

In her biweekly column “The Digital Voyage,” Alexandra Samuel investigates the key psychological, social, and practical challenges of migrating to an online world.

Alexandra Samuel is a technology writer, researcher and speaker. She is the author of Work Smarter with Social Media (Harvard Business Review Press, 2015), and is a regular contributor to the Harvard Business Review and The Wall Street Journal. Alex holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from Harvard University and a B.A. from Oberlin College. You can find her on Twitter as @awsamuel and on her own site,

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