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.
SBS online has reported that New York Knicks basketball player J.R. Smith was fined US$25,000 by the NBA after publicly threatening Detroit player Brandon Jennings on Twitter.
NBA president of basketball operations Rod Thorn said the fine was imposed “for directing hostile and inappropriate language to another player via his Twitter account, in violation of NBA rules”.
Interestingly, Smith was the target of a tweet back in 2009 that cost Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban a $25,000 fine. It’s a shame that Smith has joined the league of sports people who have fallen foul of public expectations via his ill-thought-out tweets.
In an interesting development, CNN is reporting that a California school district is spending over $40,000 on monitoring students’ Facebook posts, comments, tweets and the like for a year.
The district in Glendale, California, is paying $40,500 to a firm to monitor and report on 14,000 middle and high school students’ posts on Twitter, Facebook and other social media for one year.
Though critics liken the monitoring to government stalking, school officials and their contractor say the purpose is student safety.
As classes began this fall, the district awarded the contract after it earlier paid the firm, Geo Listening, $5,000 last spring to conduct a pilot project monitoring 9,000 students at three high schools and a middle school. Among the results was a successful intervention with a student “who was speaking of ending his life” on his social media, said Chris Frydrych, CEO of the firm.
Today the Herald Sun is reporting that a Victorian footballer has been suspended over public tweets criticising umpires. Although the footballer, Noble Park player George Angelopoulos, says that his account was used by someone else, the Eastern Football League still suspended him for two games. The Herald Sun explains:
In a league first, the EFL hit the dual Noble Park premiership player with the two-match ban for social-media misdemeanour, having previously slapped clubs and players with only fines and suspended sentences.
EFL chief executive Rob Sharpe said the board considered the tweet “unbecoming of a member of the league”.
Although we can’t comment on Angelopoulos’s defence, this is yet another example of how posts on social media can affect us in day-today life. As always, think before you post.
Last week The Sydney Morning Herald reported that a court has upheld the sacking of a public servant who criticised the government via social media, even though her name and job was not linked to her Twitter account.
Likely to shock all of those who openly criticise their places of work, this judgement means everyone who uses social media in Australia must be more aware of what they publish.
In a decision likely to curtail bureaucrats’ use of social media, Federal Circuit Court Warwick Neville rejected Michaela Banerji’s application for a stay on her dismissal.
Judge Neville found Australians had no ”unfettered implied right (or freedom) of political expression”.
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.