I always knew my teenage sister was addicted to her cell phone, but I didn’t realize the severity of her problem until we were out shopping one day and went into a public bathroom, where I heard a distinct clicking sound coming from the next stall over, and I realized she was texting from a toilet. Now she has an iPhone so her texting is silent, but that only hides the problem (she has admitted to waking up in the middle of the night holding her iPhone and realizing that she moved the icons around in her sleep).
The F.C.C. plans to investigate the risks, if any, that the increasing pervasiveness of mobile devices and Web connectivity poses to children and teens in a forum Tuesday, December 14, called “Generation Mobile.” The forum will be held at a high school in Washington DC and will cover such issues as sexting, cyber bullying, over-use, privacy, and texting while driving. And the Pew Internet and American Life project will be in attendance to present its findings from its recent study, “Teens and Mobile Phones.”
The F.C.C. has lined up an impressive list of speakers and panelists, including Glee’s Jane Lynch, F.C.C. chairman Julius Genachowski, author of Queen Bees and Wannabes (which was the basis for the movie Mean Girls) Rosalind Wiseman, Facebook’s director of public policy Tim Sparapani, and more. Additionally, a panel of teens will discuss how they use mobile technology.
Jane Lynch, Rosalind Wiseman, and Julius Genachowski will be hosting the first panel, “Generation Mobile Speaks,” and the second panel, “Ask the Experts About Generation Mobile,” will feature researchers, educators, teens, and parents.
The Pew Research Center's studies have found that texting among teens now surpasses face-to-face contact, and half of all teens send 50 or more text messages a day. Julius Genachowski told New York Times reporters that the forum will not be about considering regulation, but rather, he explained, “it is natural, as we focus on the opportunities of broadband, to ask about the dangers or risks, particularly with respect to kids.”
The event is free and open to the public, and Web users can go to the F.C.C.’s website to submit questions for the forum to discuss on Tuesday.
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