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Latino Youth as Information Leaders: Implications for Family Interaction and Civic Engagement in Immigrant Communities
Unformatted Document Text:  Information Leaders Coach: We have actually heard that that is more dangerous because it distracts them. Disconnect between adults and youth emerges in the temporal dynamics of how and why devices are used. Youth texting occurs spontaneously, even impulsively. If adolescent fail to communicate in the moment, information evaporates into air. One coach explained: Sometimes I ask the kids to text their parents’ right then. That way they won’t forget. Parents initiate phone calls at designated times, typically for practical reasons, such as confirming where a child should be picked up after soccer practice. The third and fourth focus groups assembled Centaurus students at school. In total, the groups consisted of 28 students—17 girls (12 Latina) and 11 boys (10 Latino). Discussion in Group 3—the first without parents or coaches—took on a critical edge. Students wanted to talk about Arizona’s immigration law, which requires police to stop and question people if officers have reason to suspect those persons are in the country illegally. Students recalled receiving email, Facebook messages, and especially text messages about the law. One student added: There is even jokes going around about it … “Dora has been busted. The Arizona law is for real. Keep running Diego!” There is a picture of Dora the Explorer beat up. 3 Also, there is a taco in a box, saying that is how they are planning on catching the Mexicans. Students complained, however, that while social studies teachers were talking about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, they would not touch immigration. Youth also criticized local news media —including Univision and Telemundo—for superficial coverage of immigration. This, in turn, led to a critique of how English-language news stations represent Latinos. Yeah, when you hear about a shooting, you hear about Latinos or blacks. But you never hear about a white-person shooting. Like if a white person gets shot, then it makes big news. But if one of us—a person of color—gets shot, then you never hear about it. 19

Authors: McDevitt, Mike. and Butler, Mary.
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Information Leaders
Coach: We have actually heard that that is more dangerous because it distracts them. 
Disconnect between adults and youth emerges in the temporal dynamics of how and why 
devices are used. Youth texting occurs spontaneously, even impulsively. If adolescent fail to 
communicate in the moment, information evaporates into air. One coach explained:
Sometimes I ask the kids to text their parents’ right thenThat way they won’t forget. 
Parents initiate phone calls at designated times, typically for practical reasons, such as 
confirming where a child should be picked up after soccer practice. 
The third and fourth focus groups assembled Centaurus students at school. In total, the 
groups consisted of 28 students—17 girls (12 Latina) and 11 boys (10 Latino). Discussion in 
Group 3—the first without parents or coaches—took on a critical edge. Students wanted to talk 
about Arizona’s immigration law, which requires police to stop and question people if officers 
have reason to suspect those persons are in the country illegally. Students recalled receiving 
email, Facebook messages, and especially text messages about the law. One student added:
There is even jokes going around about it … “Dora has been busted. The Arizona law is 
for real. Keep running Diego!” There is a picture of Dora the Explorer beat up.
3
 Also, 
there is a taco in a box, saying that is how they are planning on catching the Mexicans.
Students complained, however, that while social studies teachers were talking about the oil spill 
in the Gulf of Mexico, they would not touch immigration. Youth also criticized local news media
—including Univision and Telemundo—for superficial coverage of immigration. This, in turn, 
led to a critique of how English-language news stations represent Latinos. 
Yeah, when you hear about a shooting, you hear about Latinos or blacks. But you never 
hear about a white-person shooting. Like if a white person gets shot, then it makes big  
news. But if one of us—a person of color—gets shot, then you never hear about it.  
19


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