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Social Media and Urban Youth

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Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Vine, Facebook...if you know a teenager, it's very likely that they use several of these sites and apps, and that they access them through a smartphone.

In fact, a 2012 PEW study found that of teens who have smartphones, more than 9 out of 10 use social networking sites.

What are they using social media for? And how does their social media use affect their relationships, their school life...and perhaps their future?

Those questions will be addressed on April 3, at the Urban Child Symposium at the University of Baltimore Law School. This year's symposium is "Social Media and the Urban Child: The Effects of the Digital Age."

Associate Professor of Law Barbara Babb directs the Sayra and Neil Meyerhoff Center for Families, Children and the Courts. The Center organizes the symposium. Babb joins Sheilah Kast in studio.

Writer Dwight Watkins was a guest on Maryland Morning in February 2014. He has written several articles on urban youth's appetite for and access to pop culture and social media. Watkins is an adjunct English professor at Coppin State University. While he is not a presenter at the Symposium, in this interview he shares his observations about urban youth's preoccupation with social media--and how it could be potentially helpful and potentially harmful. 

There is still time to register for the free Symposium, you can do that here.

Watkins has just published pieces for Salon and VICE. He is very active on Twitter, follow him @dWatkinsWorld.

Sheilah Kast asks Barbara Babb and Dwight Watkins how the positives of social media can be emphasized, and they explain the role of parents and educators.
Sheilah Kast asks Barbara Babb if there are differences in the way teenagers use social media, based upon race and gender.


Sheilah Kast is the host of On The Record, Monday-Friday, 9:30-10:00 am.
Jamyla Krempel is WYPR's digital content director and the executive producer of Wavelength: Baltimore's Public Radio Journey. She collaborates with reporters, program and podcast hosts to create content for WYPR’s online platforms.