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Latino Youth as Information Leaders: Implications for Family Interaction and Civic Engagement in Immigrant Communities
Unformatted Document Text:  Information Leaders My 6-year-old uses my cell phone more than I do. She knows how to videotape people; she can take your picture; she can call her grandma. My daughter! I’m amazed—I tell her to show me how to do it. I ask her how she figures it out. It’s amazing how their brains are just wired to more technical programming. And they are not afraid of it. I am always worried that I am going to accidently delete something. A second mother noted: They can text fast. My daughter can text without even looking at it. We will be sitting at the (dinner) table and she still texts. Parents doubted their abilities to keep up with what youth were saying and doing online: I try to Twitter, so I know a little about that, but I honestly don’t know anything about Facebook. I can’t even lurk because I am not on Facebook. As parents cling to conventional phones, family members can get testy with each other: I have a 13-year-old who has a phone and texts all the time. So, if I call her she’s all “Uhh … what Mom?” The focus group seemed to describe multiple information ecologies, one for parents, another for daughters, and sometimes a third for sons. 2 According to one coach: The majority of my students are sophomore and juniors … All the girls have Facebook and I think a lot of the guys still use Myspace. Parents grant that cell phones allow them to keep in contact with teenagers, but struggle to comprehend the pragmatic and social uses of new technology: Parent: I also tell her that when she is walking to a friend’s house at night, she has to stay on the phone with me until she gets there, which bugs her, but at least I know she is OK. 18

Authors: McDevitt, Mike. and Butler, Mary.
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Information Leaders
My 6-year-old uses my cell phone more than I do. She knows how to videotape people; 
she can take your picture; she can call her grandma. My daughter! I’m amazed—I tell 
her to show me how to do it. I ask her how she figures it out. It’s amazing how their  
brains are just wired to more technical programming. And they are not afraid of it. I am 
always worried that I am going to accidently delete something. 
A second mother noted:
They can text fast. My daughter can text without even looking at it. We will be sitting at  
the (dinner) table and she still texts.  
Parents doubted their abilities to keep up with what youth were saying and doing online:
I try to Twitter, so I know a little about that, but I honestly don’t know anything about  
Facebook. I can’t even lurk because I am not on Facebook. 
As parents cling to conventional phones, family members can get testy with each other: 
I have a 13-year-old who has a phone and texts all the time. So, if I call her she’s all 
“Uhh … what Mom?”
The focus group seemed to describe multiple information ecologies, one for parents, another for 
daughters, and sometimes a third for sons.
2
 According to one coach:
The majority of my students are sophomore and juniors … All the girls have Facebook  
and I think a lot of the guys still use Myspace.  
Parents grant that cell phones allow them to keep in contact with teenagers, but struggle to 
comprehend the pragmatic and social uses of new technology:
Parent: I also tell her that when she is walking to a friend’s house at night, she has to  
stay on the phone with me until she gets there, which bugs her, but at least I know she is  
OK.
18


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