Thinking Space - It's Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens

It's Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens by Danah Boyd (pdf version)

Interviews & Presentations & Book Reviews

Online, Researcher Says, Teens Do What They've Always Done
  • Facebook - Difficult because you have to deal with professional situations, friends from the past, friends from the present, all in one environment
  • Context collapse - flattening multiple audiences into one
  • Like adults, teenagers are figuring out how to present themselves in different contexts
  • Teens are trying to figure out the boundaries with regard to their peers. What is cool, what is funny, what will get them a lot of attention, good or bad
  • A phone can be an escape from all of the things in school (or family) - Is escapism good or bad? How much, how often, when, where?
  • Teens are doing online what they've always done. The difference now is that if that teen isn't careful, the world can see it.
  • Context is everything. Teens' behavior online is often misinterpreted without it.

On Social Media, the Kids Are All Right
  • Truth or Myth?
    • Facebook – making teens meaner
    • Twitter – making teens shallow
    • Snapchat – destroying teens moral compass
    • None of the tools help to get them outside to play with their friends
  • What do we really know about how teens use social media?
    • Avg user has 300 Facebook friends
    • Sends 60 texts a day
  • What does friendship mean in a networked age?
  • What does privacy mean?
  • Are today’s teens any worse off than today’s adults were when they were teens?
  • Is there a disconnect between what parents are seeing/thinking and what teens are experiencing?
  • Do teens have any concept of what life used to be like?
  • Adults project our own assumptions about things on to today’s youth.
  • Most of youths’ experience is about boredom.
  • At a football game, youth use devices to coordinate with others nearby, take a selfie. Parents were more isolated.
  • Could teens live without their devices?
    • Teens couldn’t live without their friends. Devices disappear when face to face. (Is that accurate?)
  • We have made it much harder for youth to get together in face to face settings over the last 30 years.
  • Social media is the relief valve. It’s the one place where you can get together with your friends and you don’t even need to sneak out of the house.
  • Myth – Teens don’t care about privacy.
    • They care to control the social situation around them
    • Instead of trying to restrict access to content, they try to restrict access to meaning. How to hide in plain site.
    • All the past would come back to haunt her on Facebook. (A month ago) And, it would create drama in the present.
  • Deleting Facebook puts you through a guilt process.
  • Why do kids like to hang out with their friends online more than to visit?
    • They want to get together face to face, but they don't want to do it in a structured environment or a structured playdate.
    • Tough to find a place for the entire peer group
    • They text even when in the same place so parents won't overhear their conversations
  • Youth are trying to figure out where they fit in their peer group. They are trying to be seen as cool. They try out different modes/identities.
  • Parents need to be extraordinarily vigilant? Obviously, kids would vote for no oversight. How much is enough? How much is too much?
    • You have to engender trust from a very early age
    • You don't want to be the only adult who is in your child's life, people they can see or turn to when things aren't going so well
  • If you say something, you can't take it back. If you text, you have more time to think about it. 1) But if you text something you can't take that back either. 2) What percentage of the time do kids think before they text?
  • Flirting is easier in terms of awkwardness, but ...
  • How would Sherry Turkle view this?
  • Are kids worse off today? (Do these have to do with the internet, or does the internet just show us who is doing well and who isn't?)
    • Teen pregnancy rates are down.
    • Teen violence rates are down.
    • Bullying levels have not changed.
    • Disordered eating rates are up.
  • Crisis support - 100,000 contacts a month
  • Instead of getting upset with the technologies, look at our communities
  • At what edge do teenagers have different uses for Facebook and twitter?
    • Life stages
    • Gender dynamics
    • Parents would help kids lie about their age? (Are they informed enough to do so, or are many parents just ignorant? Or, is it more like speeding on the highway?)
  • What don't we know? Or, what would you like to know?
    • Are these issues the same across race and class? Is their use segregated?
    • How do we use these technologies to create new opportunities of connection across race and class?

  • How does this compare to what Sherry Turkle presents?
  • How does this fit with the PewResearch Internet Project findings?