I just sent this to the NYT Magazine Letters to the Editor. I doubt it will
be published, but it's a discussion I'd like to have, so here it is:
In response to:
Virginia Heffernan's *My Wired Youth*
in the Sunday, Feb 3rd edition of the magazine.
Virginia Heffernan's response to the PBS Documentary "Growing Up Online"
immediately made me consider the impact of the community surrounding the
online encyclopedia Wikipedia. On Wikipedia, unlike so much of the web,
youth are simultaneously welcomed, protected and encouraged to contribute in
equal measure with adults. The accounts of predatory adults are blocked
indefinitely and without question. The site's founder, Jimmy Wales, has been
quoted as saying,"I don't care if they're a high school kid or a Harvard
professor; it's the work that matters." In contributing content, the voices
of minors are given equal weight with adults, and age discrimination is
considered inappropriate. This is exactly the kind of "growing up online"
that needs to be recognized as wholly beneficial. It amazes me that whenever
the media speaks on child participation in online communities, they neglect
one that is 75,000 members strong.