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Teens and Technology: Embrace It and Use It for the Good

“The first thing I do in the mornings is wake up and read Twitter updates,” jokes Priscilla Gonzales, a college sophomore. She says she’s joking, but as a social network junky like most of the ‘iGeneration’—you know she’s not. What you don’t know is—she’s an Unplain Jayne, and there are a lot of us.

Unplain Jayne represents one of the many girls and guys of the iGeneration that receive censure instead of credit. They are teens who pull out their phone in the middle of class to schedule the assigned homework or to look up an unfamiliar word, but they get in trouble for “texting.” They are then reprimanded and dismissed as any other off-task, hands-glued-to-their-smartphone teen.

Technology can be fun and scary at the same time. Right after you say, “I’ll take the white one,” it’s been replaced by the newer, better, faster version. And the method of communication changes with the same rapidity; posting, tweeting, texting, video chatting. The list goes on.

While youth become more engrossed, parents grow more wary, with images of cyberbullying, sexting, pornography and online black market shopping flashing through their minds.

Adults worry about this access to information through technology.

But Unplain Jayne is more responsible with technology than most adults would expect.

She uses Instagram as a platform to share current events, news and links to organizations that support different causes. Sure, she also posts statuses about her day—about the creeper that tried to flirt with her or a pic of the embarrassing moment when she realized she’d worn two different shoes. Adults may feel that she makes her personal life too public, but the truth is,she chooses the degree of privacy she wants.

Parents can take away cell phones or ban computers, but teens will find a way because technology is everywhere. Computers can be accessed in school and public libraries; several schools have one-to-one device programs; teens can send texts from certain Internet sites, most media is online; college courses can be accessed online; and connecting with someone on the other side of the world happens within seconds.

Unplain Jayne has realized this and she harnesses it for her benefit. So, it is time for everyone, not just the youth, to become technology-savvy and benefit from the positive instead of being fearful of the negative. Unplain Jayne is prepared. With your encouragement, all youth can be Unplain Jaynes.