Congratulations! You’ve almost made it through February. If you’re struggling to find ideas for programs or just want to know what’s out there in the research world, maybe this will help.

  • Are your newer patrons the kind who wonder why librarians are relevant and useful? Just tell them that Beyoncé recently hired a personal librarian to archive and catalog her life.
  • A new study in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking looks at what influences teens’ decisions to disclose personal information to commercial websites. The researchers found that these decisions were linked to frequency of Internet use and social benefits of disclosing that information. It might be time to do a program on Internet security with your teens.
    Wannes Heirman, Michel Walrave, and Koen Ponnet. Predicting Adolescents’ Disclosure of Personal Information in Exchange for Commercial Incentives: An Application of an Extended Theory of Planned Behavior. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking. February 2013, 16(2): 81-87. doi:10.1089/cyber.2012.0041.
  • The Journal of Early Adolescence reported on the connections between race, ethnicity, and SES on growing BMI in children and adolescents. For girls, they found that low SES and high birth weight were big predictors of heavy weight gain, while African American and Asian American boys in higher SES brackets were more prone to obesity. It might bear looking at the full article in conjunction with the demographics of your library’s neighborhood or patron base next time you are preparing a book display on health and active lifestyles or when updating your collection, to make sure that you are showcasing materials that might hit the right age groups and cultural backgrounds so as to be extra relevant.
    Fred W. Danner and Michael D. Toland. The Interactive Role of Socioeconomic Status, Race/Ethnicity, and Birth Weight on Trajectories of Body Mass Index Growth in Children and Adolescents. The Journal of Early Adolescence. February 2013, 33(3): 293-314. Read More →
  • Last week, the House Telecommunications and the Internet Subcommittee held a hearing “to obtain testimony on the nature and growth of online virtual worlds; the types of applications and services, both commercial and non-commercial, supported and offered in such worlds; and any policy issues raised by virtual worlds that may need to be addressed or monitored.” The entire audio recording is available here and the transcript will soon be available here. While the representatives of the virtual world were from Second Life and focused discussion mostly on the adult grid, there was a lot applicable to youth no matter what virtual world, especially in regards to questions Congress is asking and why they are interested in the first place. It’s not all focused on wanting to regulate the space but also to understand what it is being used for.

    Acknowledged during the presentation was that with virtual worlds; the possibilities and applications are unlimited, individuals can connect with each other in new and creative ways, the way people and organizations can use the internet is changing, and there is far greater potential to make the real world a better place than with the ‘flat and isolated’ 2D internet.

    Some of the issues the subcommittee was concerned about included keeping youth safe, fraud/gambling, addiction, educational, social and business uses, and the need for an abundance of bandwidth. Two of the most interesting comments I thought were that there is actually more of a lack of anonymity-which we might think would be the exact opposite given that our avatar can look like anything we want it to be but because of the strong identities created they are usually sustainable through repeated interactions online. Also, that virtual worlds might in fact be more police able and more maintainable than websites since it is a rigorously self policed (in terms of Second Life and other sites) and can be a staff monitored community in ways that websites can’t. While that is a broad generalization of all virtual worlds and nothing is 100% safe-it is a way to look at the environments many of our youth engage in.

    Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

    Representative Bradley Daw has recently introduced HB 139 for those providing wireless access to prevent a minor from accessing harmful material and to use a method such as a credit card to determine the users age. The penalty for not complying could be a fine of up to $1,000.
    Read Andy Carvin’s blog post for more information.

    As a recent post on the YALSA blog about social networking legislation asked, if there are any educators/librarians/teens living in the area where this bill would effect, reading this post, please share your comments.

    Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

    Free Image Hosting at February 12, 2008 is the 5th annual Safer Internet Day, organized by Insafe, the European Internet Safety network. The United States is one of many participating countries. National hotline numbers as well as safety and the Internet is discussed in all its facets including gaming, mobile phones, and file sharing.

    As a reminder, the Illinois Library Association and MySpace teemed up to create Internet safety bookmarks. In honor of Safer Internet Day, this might be a great time to purchase a set. YALSA also has resources for librarians about online social networking here.

    Share your projects on helping to address safety and the Internet.

    Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

    “A year ago YALSA launched the 30 days of positive uses of social networking project. Every day throughout October three YALSA bloggers posted ideas and information about using social networking in the school and public library. The postings were in response to the U.S. Congress Deleting Online Predators Act and the realization that librarians working with teens needed support and information on using social networking with teens.
    Now, one year later, the same YALSA bloggers are each going to write an update post, during the month of October, about the world of social networking, teens, etc.”
    At the beginning of this month, Linda Braun posted an up to date summary of where social networking is at on the radar of Congress and where it could be with libraries. A reader left a comment to the post that said in part, “I am still on the hunt for the example that directly engages kids in being media-savvy.”

    Here is a list of sites that might help and that engage youth in fun and creative ways to be safe online. Videos of real teens, animated videos, audio clips, comics, and interactive spaces that work to get the message across of being safe online can be found here. This list is not meant to be comprehensive. Other examples are welcome, especially to the YALSA page and from your library!

    -Links to other resources and teen friendly info. about safety

    Building a Safer Internet
    -Interesting concept for a ratings board. Something to keep your eye on-the blog has just started. Do we want our sites to be rated? By whom?

    Common Sense Media
    -What to watch for (and watch out for). Aimed toward parents but uses a layout and interactive games friendly for youth.

    -Uses videos and comics with characters that have 3D personalities

    Teen Angels
    -Teens trained by law enforcement to spread the word through projects and presentations

    My Pop Studio

    -Especially the Digital Studio section, teens learn how to have safe online relationships

    -While this is aimed at families and younger kids, I included it for the array of definitions about various aspects of online safety

    Don’t Believe the Type
    -Urges teens to think before they post and talks about safety information related to digital cameras, web cams, and microphones

    Cyber-Safe Kids, Cyber-Savvy Teens>
    -A booklet by Nancy Willard to teens that provides helpful tips for readers and their peers

    i-Safe, X-Block
    -For and by teens. Contests, chatrooms, and peer mentoring regarding internet safety

    -Computer games and scenarios for teens

    Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

    If legislation passes by the full Senate and the House, North Carolina could be the first state to place parental consent requirements for those under 18 to join MySpace and similar sites.
    I wonder what this does for the kids who might not be telling the truth about their age online for good reasons. What if they’re in danger at home and being online is safer in some ways? Chances are, even if the parental consent law is passed, the relationship problems kids already have could be put more in jeopardy.

    Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

    Check out these bookmarks

    • Dealing with Cyberbullies
    • Safe blogging: Tips for Teens
    • Social Networking: Tips for Parents

    Can be downloaded from ILA’s site too:

    Way to go ILA!

    ILA has consistently stayed in the forefront of informing people about the positive values of social networking sites, thanks to the leadership of Robert Doyle, and the many librarians, educators, and teens and parents committed to staying safe online through education. Yet still, Illinois is one of the hardest hit states in regards to such legislation titled, ‘Social Networking Website Prohibition Act.’. What can we do to help?

    Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

    Some of you know that my Meebo is logged in all day – my office is experimenting with being available to members via IM, to encourage our libraries to try it.

    This afternoon, around 5, I got a message from someone I didn’t know, on my old AIM account, and since I am kinda “out there” on the ‘net, and I do get messaged by librarians all the time, I feel comfortable disclosing my name:

    [14:05] Stranger: hey

    [14:05] me: [screen name]… do I know you? 🙂

    [14:06] Stranger: I doubt it. How’s it goin’?

    [14:06] me: ok… 🙂

    [14:06] me: what’s up?

    [14:07] Stranger: Nothing really. Who are you? You’re on my buddy list for some reason…

    [14:07] me: *lol*

    [14:07] me: Beth Gallaway, gamer librarian

    [14:07] Stranger: Gamer Librarian?

    So, at this point, I am still thinking I am talking to another librarian. Then her buddy icon resolves itself, and it is a photo of a teenaged Asian girl.

    [14:08] me: i’m a librarian, working as a trainer and consultant to libraries now

    [14:08] me: and I am writing a book on games and libraries

    [14:08] me: 🙂

    [14:08] me: ring any bells?

    [14:09] me: I teach classes in library topics for Simmons, CT state library, and talk at a lot of library conferences.

    [14:09] me: and I used to work in [Town], and sometimes gave out this AIM there to library patrons 🙂

    [14:09] me: who are YOU? *g*
    [14:09] Stranger: Nope. I live in [Town, State].
    [14:10] Stranger: I am [First name, Last name] possibly the best person you’ve ever met.
    [14:10] me: most definitely.
    [14:10] Stranger: Not to sound cocky.

    So. Within 5 minutes, this young person gave me their town and full name. We shook virtual hands, and I just knew it had to be a kid… a bit later, after explaining what I do, I asked what do you do, work, school… she replied, “school” and that she had the day off due to the extremely cold weather.

    We exchanged some game links (I gave her Set Game and she sent me to Flash Flash Revolution). And I suggested Teen Second Life and she immediately set up an account and gave me her screen name THERE. I gave her my account name and told her to visit the Eye4You Alliance Island.

    Before logging off, I couldn’t let go of the fact that she gave personal information to a complete stranger within five minutes of talking for the first time

    [14:29] me: just a sidenote:

    [14:29] me: you gave me your full name and location within 5 minutes of meeting me…

    [14:29] me: and i am totally legit *g*

    [14:29] me: 32 yr old female librarian

    [14:29] me: BUT

    [14:29] Stranger: Ooh. Wow. Yeah.

    [14:29] me: i would be remiss not to slap you on teh wrists!

    [14:30] me: bad girl

    [14:30] me: my myspace is informationgoddess29

    [14:30] me: and if you DO get into second life, look me up

    [14:30] Stranger: okay

    [14:30] me: and keep sending game links 🙂

    [14:30] me: take care!

    [14:30] Stranger: I will

    [14:30] Stranger: lol

    [14:30] Stranger: you too

    [14:30] me: 🙂

    Should I have asked why? If she did it all the time? What her parents would think? Should I have tried to google her name and location, or looked her up on Facebook or MySpace to further prove my point? What do you all think?

    I still have no clue how I got on her buddy list. Maybe we can play six degrees of separation if she messages me again.