Google's futuristic "Project Glass" headgear—which includes a display, a video camera, a microphone and a speaker—won't hit the market until this fall. But it's never too soon to ban new technology. Dave Meinert, owner of The 5-Point Café in Seattle, wrote on the business's Facebook page, "For the record, The 5 Point is the first Seattle business to ban in advance Google Glasses." In a radio interview, Meinert explained his rationale: "First you have to understand the culture of the 5 Point, which is a sometimes seedy, maybe notorious place. People want to go there and be not known … and definitely don't want to be secretly filmed or videotaped and immediately put on the Internet."
Another organization, Stop the Cyborgs, has also formed to oppose Project Glass. Summarizing the group's fears, cnet.com writer Chris Matyszczyk said, "The people behind this anti-cyborg movement claim there's no way you'll ever know that someone wearing Google Glass is recording your every word and movement." [nbcnews.com, 3/10/13; cnet.com, 3/15/13]
"It was a sickening crime that fit an all-too-familiar storyline. Young men who turned a night of partying into an ugly sexual assault. A culture in which high school football players are treated like gods and act as if no rules apply. And an innocent young woman who was abused by people she thought were friends and then humiliated. But what made the Steubenville, Ohio, rape case—which ended … with guilty verdicts against Trent Mays and Ma'lik Richmond—different and what made it feel cutting edge is the pervasive role the Internet played. It is a whole new kind of crime when teen sexual assault meets social media and goes blaringly, glaringly public."
—Adam Cohen, in a column for Time. According to Cohen, every aspect of the trial was influenced by social media: the Instagram photo that depicted the young woman before she was raped; the 12-minute video of the assault; and the text messages from partygoers who seemed to think the rape was no big deal, as well as those to the victim that tried to tell her that nothing happened. All that social-networking evidence played a crucial role in the guilty verdict that was eventually handed down. "We live today in a digital echo chamber, in which the most private of moments may be captured in text, photograph and video, and put online," continues Cohen. "The victim of a sexual assault can be victimized a second time when images and rumors about her ricochet across her peer group—and a third time when they find a global audience on the Internet. Worse still for victims, the Internet never forgets." [time.com, 3/17/13]
New research from the Pew Internet and American Life Project indicates that 78% of teens have a cell phone, and nearly half (47%) of those own a smartphone. Pew's latest survey of 802 adolescents also found that 93% have access to a computer at home, while 23% have a tablet computer. As for accessing the Internet, 74% reported surfing on a smartphone or tablet at least occasionally. A quarter of respondents identified themselves as "cell mostly" Internet users, compared to 15% of adults who report using their phone as their primary online portal. Across all platforms, 95% of teens have Internet access, a figure that's held steady since 2006.
Meanwhile, the most popular website among teens is YouTube. Most teens (93%) between the ages of 13 and 18 check the video-sharing site at least once weekly—compared to 65% who check Facebook weekly. Sites such as Twitter, Google+ and Instagram lagged far behind, according to a separate study by ipsos MediaCT and Wikia. Researchers also found that teens will hop online no matter what they're doing in the physical world. About 56% of them admitted to plugging into the Internet while doing homework or attending church. Twenty-five percent said they usually visited their first online site within five minutes of waking up in the morning, and all 1,203 teens polled said they were on the Internet more than an hour daily. As for YouTube's traffic overall, company officials announced last week that the site recently logged a billion views in a month for the first time, five months after Facebook reported having a billion users globally. [pewinternet.org, 3/13/13; buzzfeed.com, 3/18/13; usatoday.com, 3/21/13 stats]
In our porn-saturated world, parents must help their children think critically about explicit images, says Marty Klein, a California sex therapist and the author of Sexual Intelligence. "Since Internet porn is here to stay, we need to help young people think about it, decode it, and make conscious decisions about it," he told Canada's Globe and Mail. "Adults need to realize the conversations they have with their kids about sex probably won't be comfortable. But if you're talking to your kid about sexuality, relationships, empathy, gender and bodies when they're 9, 10, 12, 13, then you're in a much better position to say at 14, now it's time to talk about porn. You start before there's a problem, by shaping a vision of what their values are and how they want to deal with all this sex that's all over the place."
Regarding where teens view porn, Klein identified smartphones as a major conduit. "A message to parents: 15-, 16- and 17-year-olds don't watch porn on those old-fashioned things we call 'computers.' They're watching on their smartphones. According to research, an enormous number of 15-year-olds take their smartphones to bed with them. We need to initiate the conversation when we first give them their phones." [theglobeandmail.com, 3/6/13]
Once upon a time, girls maturing into adolescence wore so-called "training bras." These days, they're more likely to look for lingerie at Victoria's Secret and similar stores that are increasingly targeting ever-younger consumers. "Sensuality and body image continues to be a message that young girls are seeing and are being exposed to in a much less controlled fashion perhaps than even 10, 12 years ago," says Dan Stanek of the consulting firm Big Red Rooster. Stanek says that younger girls are seeking to imitate celebrities they've seen on the Internet. Stuart Burgdoerfer, CFO for Limited Brands (which owns Victoria's Secret) adds that today's teens aspire toward the kinds of lingerie they perceive older women wear. "When somebody's 15 or 16 years old, what do they want to be? They want to be older, and they want to be cool like the girl in college, and that's part of the magic of what we do at [Victoria's Secret collegiate-aimed brand] Pink." [businessweek.com, 2/28/13]
"I'm honestly still not sure what to make of [the film Spring Breakers]. Is it lush and titillating and mesmerizing? Absolutely. But it's also slow and meandering in parts, and overly invested in shock value throughout. Ultimately I suppose [director Harmony] Korine's point was to tell a tale of girls gone past wild, to rattle our perceptions of what's really going on when the kids of today party by way of a grungy fable. But that feels like an oddly dated message, partly because Korine already told us all about this, in more documentarian fashion, when he wrote Kids 18 years ago. … Adding the extra dimension of seedy violence to the tale is something new, I suppose, but by the film's violent climax, featuring girls in bikinis operatically laying waste to a house full of people, I'd lost my way. What were we talking about again? Were we talking about anything? Or was this just a lovely-looking smudge of base girlsploitation? None of the rich artistry really added up to anything."
—Atlantic film reviewer Richard Lawson, in his article "Spring Breakers: Girls Behaving Terribly" [theatlantic.com, 3/12/13]
According to Christianity Today, nine of the 10 finalists on American Idol this season are Christians. [christianitytoday.com, 3/19/13]
Christian Bale has been cast as Moses for Ridley Scott's forthcoming 20th Century Fox film Exodus, a dramatization of the events in that biblical book. Oddly, another version of the Exodus story is also being planned by a rival studio. "Fox and Paramount have surely noticed the ratings on History Channel's The Bible miniseries," says an uncredited article at deadline.com. "There is certainly a global audience for a retelling of the Moses story with the technological advancements made since Charlton Heston played him in the 1956 Ten Commandments, a film that was one of the biggest blockbusters of its time." [salon.com, 3/18/13]