Danah Boyd’s book, “It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens,”should be required reading for every parent and educator today. Living as we do in a media-saturated society, many adults are prone to believe the hype and buy the overly-simplistic portrayal by mainstream media outlets of how technology is to blame for many ills which beset both teens and our society as a whole.
Dana has spent years interviewing hundreds of teens around the United States about their uses of social media. Her anecdotes as well as research conclusions paint an important picture (as her book title indicates) of a much more “complicated” landscape of teen social media use and social lives than many people perceive today.
Digital communication technologies, including social media, have definitely changed the landscape of adolescence and “coming of age” in the United States in the 21st century. Danah persausively argues in her book, however, that many of the challenges faced by teens and our society which get blamed on technologies stem from other root causes. She observes “For some adults, nostalgia can get in the way of understanding teens real relationship to social technologies today.” Reading her book, and following up that reading with personal discussions with teens you have contact with in your life, is one of the best ways to move beyond nostalgic, often overly-simplistic perceptions of teen feelings & desires about online privacy as well as social media use more generally.
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