It’s complicated by danah boyd

iQ was fortunate enough to hear internationally recognised social media researcher danah boyd speak back in 2012 (click here to access all of iQ’s resources on danah boyd). Now boyd has a book coming out entitled It’s complicated. The blurb from the book (via Amazon) explains what it’s about:

What is new about how teenagers communicate through services such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram? Do social media affect the quality of teens’ lives? In this eye-opening book, youth culture and technology expert danah boyd uncovers some of the major myths regarding teens’ use of social media. She explores tropes about identity, privacy, safety, danger, and bullying. Ultimately, boyd argues that society fails young people when paternalism and protectionism hinder teenagers’ ability to become informed, thoughtful, and engaged citizens through their online interactions. Yet despite an environment of rampant fear-mongering, boyd finds that teens often find ways to engage and to develop a sense of identity.

Boyd’s conclusions are essential reading not only for parents, teachers, and others who work with teens but also for anyone interested in the impact of emerging technologies on society, culture, and commerce in years to come. Offering insights gleaned from more than a decade of original fieldwork interviewing teenagers across the United States, boyd concludes reassuringly that the kids are all right. At the same time, she acknowledges that coming to terms with life in a networked era is not easy or obvious. In a technologically mediated world, life is bound to be complicated.

This is not an advertisement for the book, just a pointer to a resource that many people may find useful. Public libraries may stock this book.

Fears for generation online taken too far?

This article, published by Essential Kids, will help put parents’ minds at ease when it comes to worrying about the dangers their children may face online.

Fears for generation online taken too far? explains:

Every era has its own moral panic, and there’s no doubt in many minds that the peril stalking today’s children comes cloaked in the garb of social media. It’s not surprising that many parents, teachers and health professionals are worried when headlines regularly implicate online social media as a factor in everything from school bullying to teen suicide…  The truth is that most kids above a certain age use social media and online networking sites, and the vast majority do so without major incident.

If you read the comments on pretty much any article about the internet gone wrong you’d be forgiven for thinking that for most kids it’s a jungle out there and that inattentive parents are to blame, but the actual figures show that only 3% of children using the internet experience some kind of threatening event online and 98% of parents implement safety and security strategies around internet use at home.

Read the whole piece here.

I’m 13 and none of my friends are on Facebook

Last week, Mashable published this post on the waning appeal of Facebook by a New York teenager.

Now, when we are old enough to get Facebook, we don’t want it. By the time we could have Facebooks, we were already obsessed with Instagram. Facebook was just this thing all our parents seemed to have.

Let’s say I get invited to a party, and there’s underage drinking. I’m not drinking, but someone pulls out a camera. Even if I’m not carrying a red Solo cup, I could be photographed behind a girl doing shots. Later that week, the dumb-dumb decides to post photos from that “amazing” party. If my mom saw I was at a party with drinking, even if I wasn’t participating, I’d be dead. This isn’t Facebook’s fault, but it happens there.

Facebook is also a big source of bullying in middle school. Kids might comment something mean on a photo of you, or message you mean things. This isn’t Facebook’s fault, but again, it does happen there. If my mom heard I was getting bullied on Facebook, she would tell me to quit right away.

An interesting insight into teenagers’ thoughts about social media. Read the whole post here.

Girls switched on to social pitfalls

The Sunday Age has reported on two 12 year old girls who have social media accounts, but are well aware of the pitfalls they can face:

”Basically, I don’t post anything that I don’t want my parents to see,” said Georgia, who admitted her parents check her Skype, Instagram and Kick about once a month.

Eve, who uses Skype and iMessage, says her parents trust her not to accept requests from strangers. And the information she posts online is unlikely to reveal too much about her private life. ”It’s really important not to give too much information about yourself away.”

This is great advice for all parents and their children. Read the whole article here.

A student’s take on selfies

Last week The Age and Sydney Morning Herald published an article by a year 11 student Olympia Nelson on the practice of teenage girls uploading sexy self portraits to social media. She explains:

If social media only caused narcissism, it wouldn’t be the worst thing. Instagram and Facebook are social networks that not only breed narcissistic tendencies but transform relations into a sexual rat race.

On these ubiquitous portals, the popularity of girls is hotly contested over one big deal: how sexy can I appear and bring it off with everyone’s admiration?

A common adult reaction to social media is to restrict things, as if that could ever be possible. You can’t force kids to be nice. The real problem isn’t something tangible like sexting or bullying, which adults focus on in patronising and unimaginative ways. The real problem relates to conformity. Kids are compelled to act the stereotype, because those who opt out commit themselves to social leprosy. Social media doesn’t need adult control. What we need is some good taste.

Read the whole article here.

How Gen Y feels about online privacy

Earlier this year, a group of gen y panelists shared their thoughts about online privacy. The six panelists explained how they now modify their online behaviour as

“We live in public.”

Darius was keenly aware that everything he shares on Twitter or other social media platforms is “out there,” which has made him extremely conscious about what he posts. “I would expect people to be more conscious,” he said.

“I have to filter myself,” Jordan said, explaining that she was concerned that some photos or check-ins she was tagged in on Facebook would send the wrong message to employers and colleagues.

Tess was shocked to find out that she curses more than 90 percent of other people on the social network, and the information has changed her behavior.

It’s great to see young adults in charge of their social media accounts, taking into account the fact that they will be judged by what they post.

Read the whole post here.

Child’s pictures being exploited on Instagram

Recently The Age and Sydney Morning Herald reported the worrying case of photos being posted to Instagram and then being repurposed:

Sarah (not her real name) learnt in April that fully clothed images of her daughter had been linked to role-playing accounts on the photo-sharing site, some of which contained sexual comments.

Yet her complaints to Instagram went unanswered for two days, until cyber safety consultant Susan McLean contacted the site on her behalf and the accounts were shut down.

Again, one of the issues is that once a photo is published online, it can be saved and/or manipulated by anyone who views it. Once the photo is out there in cyberspace, we no longer have control it. Read the whole the piece here.

How teenagers actually use the internet

Buzzfeed has a very brief post and a graphic about how teenagers are using social media.

They have also published a teenager’s view on the hot (and not so hot) social media sites as well as linking to survey results on the same topic.

In a nutshell, Facebook’s appeal seems to be waning for teenagers at least, while Instagram are Snapchat are hot.

Body image obsession due to social media blamed for school boys’ drug expulsions

Social media has taken some of the blame for the expulsion of two Brisbane school boys caught dealing steroids.

The school Principal explains:

“They’re teenage boys. They’ve got Instagram and they’ve got Facebook and all the girls are commenting.

“It’s a minefield and there’s a million different motivations for them to do it…. This incident, while serious, highlights the issues associated with body image for young men.”

The influence of social media on the lives of young adults is increasing. Read the whole story here.

Essendon player suspended after posting photo on Instagram

Late last week Essendon football player Courtenay Dempsey was suspended for a game by his club after being caught out on the town, when he was supposed to be recovering from injury.

It was Dempsey’s own upload to Instagram that publicly outed him, resulting in the suspension.

While not condoning his behaviour, the message ‘think before you post ‘ should have been one Dempsey contemplated.