To Understand Teens, Go Online
- By Sam George
- Published 11/28/2007
Sam George is the Executive Director of PARIVAR International - a non-profit initiative to address the needs of youth and families of Asian Indian origin in North America and to the Asian Indian community worldwide. Parivar means family in many Indian languages. Sam George also serves as one of the founding directors of Urban India Ministries
www.UrbanIndia.org Sam George and his wife, Mary have spoken at premarital and family events in many countries. They are parents of two boys and make their home in the northern suburbs of Chicago. Sam is the author of the book “Understanding the Coconut Generation: Ministry to the Americanized Asian Indians." Check out this website www.CoconutGeneration.com Coconut (brown on the outside, white on the inside) is a metaphor for the Americanized Asian Indians. Sam George can be reached at email@example.com
That was the title of an article in USA Today. Having written the book Understanding the Coconut Generation, which was an attempt to understand a particular group of teens in America, that title got my attention right away.
Some think teens are non-talkative, but not so in the virtual world. Social networking sites have proven then teens love to talk about themselves, their vulnerabilities and reveal their souls. No freely share their greatest secrets and fears. They are less concerned what other may think and quick to pour out their hearts before the world. They are looking for affirmation, guidance, relationships and intimacy (though pseudo).
But their increased virtual skills and ability to share openly also resulted in poor skill in the real world. Todays teens are very few adult relationships. Chatting with peers over the Net does not aid in development of relationship skills.
Sure enough, Myspace and Facebook entries of teens could give you some access into their hearts and minds. Youthworkers must have online presence and kids should able to reach you whenever they need us. But online entries alone are not sufficient to get the entire picture. It could be a great starting point. We must help teens develop skills for the real world as well.