Streams

danah boyd: The Networked World of Teens

Friday, March 21, 2014

danah boyd, principal researcher at Microsoft Research and author of It's Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens (Yale), talks about what you should worry about when worrying about teens online (and whether you should worry at all).

Guests:

danah boyd

Comments [31]

How old is this guest? My teenagers' behavior is totally different than what she is describing. For a young, smart person like this to be so entirely out of touch with every teen I know in this rich NYC area suburb, my only conclusion can be that online behavior must change every few months.

Sorry to bust the thesis (nice and articulate) MSFT/Harvard person's thesis -- but in this area I am sure that I am as expert as one can be.

Mar. 22 2014 06:36 PM

@Suzanne from Essex Co. NJ

Suzanne, I'd be inclined to give the librarian a break and look at things from her point of view. Most printed materials are edited so that misspellings and grammatical mistakes are eliminated. Smut and porn (while also printed) had to be sought out, it doesn't cross your desk as a hit in half your online searches and access to 'the press' implied a level of capital accumulation and education that most Internet users rarely display.

From the point of view of a person who makes their living from the archival, catalogue-ing and retrieval of information the Internet could very well be seen as an evil thing.

Mar. 21 2014 12:16 PM

@ john from office

"YOU CALL EACH OTHER THE N___ WORD ALL THE TIME."

What horsesh*t, John. The use of the n-word by African-Americans about other African-Americans is a badge of love and acceptance and recognition of the common experience of living in a nation of 'free men' who accepted the hypocrisy that they could own people and steal the fruit of their labor.

Show me ONE INSTANCE where a white poster uses the n-word in referring to the President and does so from a position of love and respect and then I'll sign on to your silly premise.

Mar. 21 2014 11:56 AM
RUCB_Alum from Central New Jersey

"...the Internet has normalized meanness and cruelty..."

And why in hell would that be? Are we essentially at our deepest core mean and cruel people? I would like to think not but it certainly cannot be proved by any sample of Facebook posts that you care to take. And could it be any other way in which all postings can be essentially anonymous in a country with a First Amendment right to free speech?

The use of racist labels against the President (or anyone else who is not likely to see the comment) cannot run down the President - it can only make the poster feel superior.

Interacting in cyberspace is so new that there is no standard for polite interaction that we can all agree on. There may never be one.

Mar. 21 2014 11:38 AM
Suzanne from Essex Co. NJ

My 13-year-old son and I were in the car together when we heard the caller who is--gasp!--a librarian at the Newark Public Library decry the Internet as filth and horror. Son and I rolled our eyes in unison. "OMG!" he said, "She so totally doesn't get it!" The caller spoke about THE INTERNET as though it is some evil entity--and it made her sound so clueless. My 10 year old daughter recently managed to find Miley's Wrecking Ball online, watched it, and shrugged. "Why would someone do that to themselves?" she asked, and that was that. Whether it's the Internet, the arcades of the 70's, the frat parties of the 80's, the Ku Klux Klan or neo-Nazi's--trouble, degradation, and indecency exist in our world and always will. Love and value your kids, model decent behavior, USE the Internet to teach lessons about life--then let them at it. It's appalling to me that adults with such power--who are in the Info Services business, no less--hold such narrow views.

Mar. 21 2014 11:36 AM
Suzanne from Essex Co. NJ

My 13-year-old son and I were in the car together when we heard the caller who is--gasp!--a librarian at the Newark Public Library decry the Internet as filth and horror. Son and I rolled our eyes in unison. "OMG!" he said, "She so totally doesn't get it!" The caller spoke about THE INTERNET as though it is some evil entity--and it made her sound so clueless. My 10 year old daughter recently managed to find Miley's Wrecking Ball online, watched it, and shrugged. "Why would someone do that to themselves?" she asked, and that was that. Whether it's the Internet, the arcades of the 70's, the frat parties of the 80's, the Ku Klux Klan or neo-Nazi's--trouble, degradation, and indecency exist in our world and always will. Love and value your kids, model decent behavior, USE the Internet to teach lessons about life--then let them at it. It's appalling to me that adults with such power--who are in the Info Services business, no less--hold such narrow views.

Mar. 21 2014 11:34 AM
Taher from Croton on Huson

In days of yore an image of an American was a practical friendly person with real solutions to problems. Today the image looks like a deranged person with a firearm on the inter net spewing hate.

Mar. 21 2014 11:33 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Children are just animals who have to be civilized. A large part of becoming "civilized" in the 21st century is teaching children that all people have feelings and equal rights on this earth. But we must not be myopic or kid ourselves. Racism, antisemitism, and other expressions of ethnic, racial and religious bias come quite naturally and must be combated at all times. Nobody has more natural rights on earth than anyone else and everyone must agree to that to be considered a good citizen of planet Earth.

Mar. 21 2014 11:27 AM
Ginzberg from Inwood

This strident caller finally prompted me to turn off the show. Too bad people are getting so wound up--sounds like a parental frustration thing-- it's an interesting topic.

Mar. 21 2014 11:22 AM
john from office

YOU CALL EACH OTHER THE N___ WORD ALL THE TIME. SO YOUNG PEOPLE THINK IT IS OK. CLEAN YOUR OWN HOUSE FIRST.

Mar. 21 2014 11:22 AM
John A

Every provider of social networking should have at least partial moderation (using staff moderators) to catch the hate speech (mainly boys) and the self destructive speech (mainly girls) that is totally unmonitored at present.

Mar. 21 2014 11:21 AM
foodaggro from Brooklyn

"The Internet gives [kids] Internet muscles!"
Good one, caller - never heard this before. Thanks!

Mar. 21 2014 11:20 AM
Leo

can we create a separate internet for children because their obnoxious conversations and comments are everywhere.

Mar. 21 2014 11:20 AM
Max from Northern NJ

I do not trust the Mark Zuckerbergs of the world to decide who can see information about me or my children. I see Danah Boyd as dangerously naïve.

Mar. 21 2014 11:20 AM
Guy from NYC

i guess we DON'T spend enough time worrying about the social lives of teenagers these days. I was wrong.
All hail microsoft, the cause of and solution to all our problems.

Mar. 21 2014 11:19 AM
MHLD

I am baffled by this... all week, WNYC has been discussing the victims of traffic fatalities, whose killers rarely get more than a slap on the wrist. This is also true for many drunk drivers, who go on with their lives after destroying other families' lives forever. It is appalling that in our society, nonsense posted on the Internet seems to have greater potential to permanently affect lives than something as serious as killing another person! Can our society get any more upside-down?

Mar. 21 2014 11:18 AM
James from New York City

Ultimately, these kids who have grown up on Facebook will be in charge of things one day.

So some aspects that are problematic today will not be so problematic in the future. And I imagine society will grow up to the point where young adults looking for a job, or entrance into college will not be judged on their youthful indiscretions in the way they are today.

Parents fail by trying to police their kids on the internet, and not focusing on more important things such as helping their children to build character, to build judgment skills, etc.

Kids need to be properly prepared to deal with the brave new world, not be shielded from it.

Mar. 21 2014 11:16 AM

Just for fuuuuuun…. Can we hear from a nice-sounding lady who *doesn't* work for Microsoft to talk about how the character of teens (and others) is often being worsened by social media?

Mar. 21 2014 11:14 AM
Barb from NYC

Even apart from the mistakes teens may make online, there is the crucial issue of corporations data mining the sh*t out of them.

That's one of the first things I conveyed to my own child -- when you're making posts you consider to be sharing with your friends, you're actually contributing to the commodification of your information and your life.

When you click on the advertiser's links (or answer a quiz, or enter a contest), you're giving away valuable information that will later be used against you (to coerce you into buying product).

Mar. 21 2014 11:13 AM
A mom from Essex County, NJ

Many kids applying to colleges change their facebook name, so they are not traceable. Does this work, and how much do admissions really delve into your facebook persona? They are reviewing thousands of applicants. There is nothing unacceptable on my son's facebook, except maybe some goofy photos he's tagged in. Should he bother?

Mar. 21 2014 11:12 AM
Chem from Highland Park, NJ

As a 40 year old, what I most dislike about grown ups is that the forget what it's like to be a kid... It is absolutely integral to a human's development to keep secrets from grown ups... that is how the young have real life learning experiences, make mistakes, overcome obstacles... on their own so that they have no choice but to recognize their own resilience and resourcefulness... these life lessons be seared into their pre-frontal cortex... this is how humans grow up... Also, parents who have little faith in their children must have little faith in their own parenting skills...

Mar. 21 2014 11:11 AM
Jane from Brooklyn

Thank you, Danah. You're absolutely right. Parents are so overprotective, and by the time their children go to college, they are absolutely unprepared to be on their own, and make decisions. It's parents' responsibility to teach their kids to make the right choices, and fail, and take the consequences. It was my experience that the kids with more restrictive and hovering parents were binge-drinkers..

Mar. 21 2014 11:10 AM
Syd UWS from NYC

I'm sorry but Facebook is NOT for kids! It started for college students and quite frankly should remian for use by adults only.

Mar. 21 2014 11:09 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Sure, kids can choose their privacy settings, but sooner or later Facebook will change them without notice or permission. It's the new "don't ask, don't tell": They don't ask if you want your settings changed, & they don't tell you they've done it. You can change them back once you find out, but meanwhile your info already got out to people you didn't want to see it. Facebook keeps promising they won't do it again, & they keep breaking that promise. Maybe the encoding Ms. boyd (or should I say ms. boyd?) described reduces the effect, but it's still something Facebook shouldn't be doing.

Mar. 21 2014 11:09 AM
John A

Can your child access the Internet form a neighbor's house? From the library or school? That's opportunity to bypass parents. What Dana just said "trust is so important"... Build that up.

Mar. 21 2014 11:04 AM

If they want to, your kids will outsmart u every time.

Mar. 21 2014 11:03 AM
Joe from New York

For anyone who wants to use Facebook but doesn't want to share every post with everyone on their friend list, there is a simple solution: lists. I'm amazed at how many users evidently know nothing about this feature.

Mar. 21 2014 11:03 AM
Shelly from Hempstead

Please do NOT give my name on air. I have 17-year old boy & 15-year old girl. For children's protection, parents MUST have passwords to their children's facebook accounts, etc . . . although of course, kids can create other code facebook names. Kids are writing inappropriate facebook messages and posting inappropriate photos that can get them into big trouble. They are also accepting "friends" on facebook, etc., who may not be safe. What about Breck _______ - 14-year old killed by online "friend" in online game. BALANCE between giving kids "food for life" versus "teaching them to fish" by giving them privacy. Parents who've lost children to online predators, be it killed by them, or brainwashed to commit suicide don't think privacy is worth it.

Mar. 21 2014 11:01 AM
Nagy

Wtf. In reAl life it's all about the screen grab. That's the teen. Girl currency.

Mar. 21 2014 11:01 AM
John A

Does Dana have data on how many (millions) of ID's are created with fake or anonymous names? Hint, these are your children hiding from you.

Mar. 21 2014 10:59 AM
From da trenches

It's not so much what they are doing online. It's what they are not doing instead. And also how they behave when forced offline momentarily (think "I need a cigarette"). Take your kids iPhone/iPod away for a few days and you might just meet a charming stranger.

Mar. 21 2014 09:59 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.