It’s Complicated

The Social Lives of Networked Teens

by Danah Boyd

Number of pages: 296

Publisher: Yale University Press

BBB Library: Communication, Psychology and Strengths

ISBN: 9780300166316

About the Author

Boyd is a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research. Her research focuses on how youth integrate technology into their everyday practices and other interactions between technology and society.


Editorial Review

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.

Book Reviews

"The book also offers a thoughtful and useful chapter on privacy and technology, where Boyd writes with insightful pith, Privacy doesn’t just depend on agency; being able to achieve privacy is an expressionofagency.'" The New York Times

"It's Complicatedisn't the raciest of reads; it's dry, academic and Boyd does not shy away from the blindingly obvious ("Along with planes, running water, electricity and motorised transportation, the internet is now a fundamental fact of modern life.") but there are, nonetheless, a lot of interesting observations here: that most teenagers aren't "digital natives" as we like to believe. "The Guardian

"Every generation of teenagers is adept at finding new ways of driving its parents mad. When I was young it was a simple matter of under-age drinking, unsuitable boyfriends and interminable conversations on the telephone, handily positioned in the hall so the entire family could eavesdrop."TheTelegraph

"This book is definitely a good work to help adults understand the “mysterious” teens in the Internet Era." Social Informatics Blog.

"Unlike most adults, danah boydunderstands the way teens usesocial media. That’s because she’s spent the past eight years traveling around the United States interviewing and observing teens to learn that what they do online is not only “complicated” but not what many people think." Forbes

"It's Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teensdoes a great job of looking at this very thing and danah helps adults get past the very confusing and often frightening stories we see often see about bullying, online sexual predators and teen addiction to the internet to understand what's really happening with kids online." Blog Her

"Danah Boyd‘s book,It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens,should be required reading for every parent and educator today. " Speed of Creativity

"Danah Boyd’s latest book is a strong text in the dire field of new media studies." Times Higher Education

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Wisdom to Share

Growing up in and being part of networked publics is complicated. The realities that youth face do not fit into neat utopian or dystopian frames, nor will eliminating technology solve the problems they encounter.

Not only are today’s teens reproducing social dynamics online, but they are also heavily discouraged from building new connections that would diversify their worldviews.

Bullies are not evil people who decide to torment for fun. Most of them react aggressively because they’re struggling with serious issues of their own.

The overarching media narrative is that teens lack the capacity to maintain a healthy relationship with social media.

There is no doubt that some youth develop an unhealthy relationship with technology.

Interactions that were previously invisible to adults suddenly have traces, prompting parents to fret over conversations that adults deem inappropriate or when teens share too much information.

Teens do not want their parents to view their online profiles or look over their shoulder when they’re chatting with friends.

Social media has introduced a new dimension to fights over private space and personal expression.