It’s Complicated: danah boyd Gives A Glimpse Into A Teen’s Socially Connected Mind


This post was written by Vivian Nunez.

On the last day of Social Media Week NYC, the session held on the Change Stage took on the task of deciphering the lives of networked teens. The panel was aptly called It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens after danah boyd’s book. The discussion centered on a conversation between boyd and Andrew Rasiej.

boyd doesn’t boast of knowing all the answers for how teens deal with technology and social media, but her book is definitely a good start.

As she explained throughout the session, she set out to paint a different picture of how teens use social media. One of her main goals was to highlight her stance that all teens and all social media platforms shouldn’t be painted by the same brush.

The manner in which teens conduct themselves on social media platforms are completely individualized experiences and should be treated as such. Within the same parameters, it was pointed out that parents shouldn’t be afraid of allowing their teens to use such sites, instead they should trust them while encouraging responsible use.

One way to do so, said boyd, is to buy an old school piggy bank and use it as a safe for the entire family’s social media passwords. This tactic encourages dialogue because the only way to get anyone’s passwords is to break the piggy bank.

Privacy online is something that should be respected whether you’re a teenager or an adult, explained boyd. The important aspect is to frame the conversations being had in the most positive way.

Especially because even though teenagers might allow parents access to their social media sites, they don’t always make it easy to decipher the meaning behind the song lyrics they post. And, that’s when the conversation should transition from digital to IRL.

Vivian Nunez is a senior at Baruch College studying marketing and journalism. Follow her on Twitter @vivnunez.

Vivian is one of our SMW Press Corps members, managed by OpenCommunications. Learn more here.

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