Share This: Five Myths About Young People and Social Media

Psychology Today’s Peter Gray reviews danah boyd’s It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens (Yale University Press, 2014) on his blog this week, and it’s brilliant. Go read it: Five Myths About Young People and Social Media. If you don’t have time to, let me draw your attention to these excerpts:

“Being ‘addicted’ to information and to people is part of the human condition: it arises from a healthy desire to be aware of surroundings and to connect to society.” (boyd, pg 92)

When adults see that children and teens are using computers and smart phones rather than playing outdoors or socializing in physical space, they find it easier to blame the computer and its supposed “addictive” qualities than to blame themselves and the social conditions that have deprived young people of the freedom to congregate in physical places, away from interfering adults. (Gray)

“When teens—and, for that matter, most adults—seek privacy, they do so in relation to those who hold power over them. Unlike privacy advocates and more politically conscious adults, teens aren’t typically concerned with governments and corporations. Instead, they’re trying to avoid surveillance from parents, teachers, and other immediate authority figures in their lives. They want the right to be ignored by the people they see as being ‘in their business.’  …They wish to avoid paternalistic adults who use safety and protection as an excuse to monitor their everyday sociality.” (boyd, 59)

we, as individual adults and as a society, could do more than we currently do to help teens understand better the social media they are using. Instead of warning them not to use it, or forbidding them from using it, we might help them find ways to use it more intelligently. (Gray)

And there so much more. Read the blog. And pick up the book too.


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