Monday, January 27, 2014
Gifted sons, gifted daughters, and Google searches
A little over a week ago, the New York Times printed Seth Stephen-Davidowitz's analysis of Google search data. One result? Parents are 2.5 times more likely to search for the phrase "Is my son gifted?" than "Is my daughter gifted?" Parents are also more likely to search for "Is my son behind?" or some other phrase implying that a child is having academic problems than searching for similar phrases about their daughters, but the difference is less pronounced, he notes. So what are we to make of this? Stephen-Davidowitz notes that girls tend to have more developed vocabularies at a younger age. He also notes that in schools, girls are more likely to be in gifted programs than boys. It may be that parents are, at least in the privacy of their internet searches, more concerned with their sons' intelligence than their daughters'. Parents turn out to be more likely to search phrases like "Is my daughter overweight?" vs. "Is my son overweight?" -- implying that people are more concerned about girls' looks than their brains. That would be unfortunate -- though probably not terribly surprising. Of course, as some parents have mentioned here, sometimes gifted girls very much want to fit in, and so will hide their intelligence or do their best to act like all is well in school. If boys are more likely to act out when frustrated and bored, this might create a crisis situation that then triggers an internet search for answers. I'm curious what Gifted Exchange readers think of this article. In your experience, have you seen parents be more likely to advocate for gifted sons vs. gifted daughters?