Comment 37003

By Meredith (registered) - website | Posted January 13, 2010 at 13:16:13

I hear what you're saying, especially on privacy. And it's especially true that culture is shaping these expectations. I wonder at the in

I do differ in what I think of Erikson and Hall, especially the concept of "moratorium."

Many problems are caused because we now give an extended period, often over a decade, for young men and women - now called "teenagers" - to experience "relatively consequence-free experimentation."

That's not what the transition from child to adult was for most of history. It was a transition, often with ceremony, to becoming an adult, albeit a young one. With that came real responsibilities, serious roles, expectations, risk, and ability to fail.

There was always stress in the transition. (I once looked at cultural abd behavioural differences at this stage in life between Northern and Southern states in 19th-century America. Really interesting how it highlights how culture exacerbates or minimizes the stress inherent in the transition and what roles existed.).

But adolescence as a separate phase of life, as Hall (with his expectations of sturm und drang and educational theories) and later Erikson defined it, and as it came into being over WWII and turned into a marketing term, is a relatively new and unsuccessful phenomenon.

And we have teenagers who seek out experiences where failure is an option and risk is real because it doesn't come anywhere else in life... and I don't think that's the answer

And it's a big tide. And I don't know the answers about how it's reversed, especially in a world where education and employment is absolutely focused around 14-22 being the bare minimum of adolescence (no one expects adult behaviour of university students in the sense that it's culturally a time of enjoyment, vacation, freedom from responsibility and the continuation of similar academic duties at a higher level.)

I do know that the idea of "future consequences" from Facebook posts aren't in young people's minds, or even something to worry about now. There's no immediate risk of any kind... and when it gets to the point where it may cost them, the bed has been made and then one copes with it as best possible.

And when it comes to privacy, is there any other area in life where they've been told they have rights in that regard? Perhaps personally, but I don't think there's much real discussion about that. There's certainly very little they can do in the way of engagement, lawmaking, civic empowerment, government, voting, etc - so where is the education or empowerment to change any of that?

Just thinking it through, and I know there will be points I've missed or misspoke... but I guess I don't see how a society such as ours gives teenagers any reason to expect they could change any aspect of things like this - so it's not only the cost of communication, it's an absolutely unchangeable one, at least as far as their world is concerned.

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