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It's Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens Paperback – February 2, 2015
"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Pre-order today
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"[T]here is something marvellously sensible about Boyd’s resolutely academic style. . . . Boyd’s anatomy of teenage life is penetrating."—Jane Shilling, The Sunday Telegraph
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The ways that Boyd constructed her arguments throughout the book were honest and open-minded. In the ‘Danger’ chapter, Boyd stated: “As always happens whenever adults obsess over child safety, restrictions emerge and fearful rhetoric abounds (pg. 103).” I did notice how Boyd used absolutes like this throughout the book that weren’t always accurate. To say that something ‘always happens’ is an unrealistic extreme. I know parents who are overbearing when it comes to the safety of their children and they focus their fears by having healthy conversations, not automatically imposing restriction. Overall, the ways that Boyd argued were very fair in addressing both sides of the issue and giving teens a fair say in what was expressed. I found her stories to be engaging and accurate.
One thing that I wished Boyd touched on more throughout the book was the issue of safety from a privacy standpoint for teens on the internet. A fear that I have for young people comes from the horror stories of young girls or boys getting involved with adults online and getting taken advantage of in vulnerable ways. I admit that this is an aspect of the digital world that I do not fully understand so I do want to know how I can better equip young people to not fall into those traps. I found it interesting when Boyd said: “When parents choose to hover, lurk, and track, they implicitly try to regulate teens’ practices. Parents often engage in these acts out of love but fail to realize how surveillance is a form of oppression that limits teens’ ability to make independent choices (pg. 74).” I see what Boyd is talking about here, but I do wonder how to achieve the balance of having some sort of surveillance without making teens feel limited. It would have been nice for Boyd to elaborate on this more.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this read and appreciated Boyd’s refreshing style of writing that provided clarity and perspective on a prevalent topic in our society today. I would recommend this book to be read by educator’s and parents who desire a holistic understanding on the social lives of networked teens. Boyd creates awareness about many aspects of the online world while also helping eliminate misconceptions that adults might have. If we are to better reach our students today, I think we need to be more like Boyd and try to understand their desire for an online presence from their point of view.
I have worked in Internet publishing since 1999. One would think I would not freak over my daughter using technology. But when she told me recently she wanted an Instagram account, I blocked her without thinking. Then I read danah's book, and though I'm still not giving my girl an Instagram account (not yet, anyway), I'm not as worried about her use of technology as I was before. Just as we adults once had to "learn the software" in order to do anything with a computer, we adults are going to have to learn the kid in order to understand what level of trust is appropriate. It's not the tech, it's the kid.
I particularly liked danah's discussion of collapsed contexts, as I run into that myself all the time on social media since I use it both for professional and personal purposes. Understanding that makes me much less likely to snoop on my daughter unless she gives me reason to. The biggest takeaway from danah's book? Get your teen to her friends in an unstructured way as often as possible -- they need that time. -- Rita Arens, author of young adult novel THE OBVIOUS GAME (InkSpell Publishing, 2013) The Obvious Game
PS: I especially enjoyed the discussion of lolcats as a cultural artifact. It totally is, but, well, ha.