lindy_b's review against another edition
This is because boyd conducted her fieldwork for this book between 2005 and 2012. I graduated high school in 2012, so the teens she interviews are my peers. I too was subjected to constant hand wringing about message boards, Blogger, and MySpace would lead to a lonely life of mindless distraction unless a serial killer nabbed me first. I remember being frustrated because while I could tell that there was a fundamental misunderstanding, I could not articulate it. I didn't necessarily want to revisit that feeling. As I settle into my adult life, however, I keep finding myself in positions where I need to defend younger peoples' interactions with technology as, well, weird, but also developmentally important and probably harmless to the broader workings of society.
As boyd wryly notes, portions of this book were already out of date by the time it went to print, and three years after its publication, this is even more true. However, as boyd herself concludes, her work does provide a record of several specific events and junctures in time; the MySpace/Facebook divide of 2006-2007 is one example. I do think that the book's central thesis regarding teenagers' desire for and creation of public lives driving most of the consternation around their use of the internet still stands, and likely will for the foreseeable future. I also want to take the chapter dispelling the myth of "digital natives" and send it to everyone who works in university administration.
boyd shows more understanding issues of race, class, and sexual orientation than many writers who approach the teenagers-0n-the-internet topic, and I appreciate it. However, discussion of how gender structures non/engagement in networked publics was missing entirely.
This isn't negative or anything but it's not in the title or cover copy and it's worth knowing before you read, but It's Complicated is explicitly about American teenagers.
battybookworm's review against another edition
Minor: Death, Adult/minor relationship, Emotional abuse, Child abuse, Misogyny, Pedophilia, Child death, Incest, Mass/school shootings, Racial slurs, and Racism
library_kb's review against another edition
cook_memorial_public_library's review against another edition
Check our catalog:
jim96's review against another edition
laylajohnston's review against another edition
gmeluski's review against another edition
carolynf's review against another edition
1) Teens are not "addicted" to the internet in most cases. They socialize on the internet because their lives are over-structured and there are few opportunities to just hang out with a group of friends. Plus groups of teenagers are banned from many places, even if they had the transport to get there.
2) Teens gain power in relationships by telling secrets about their friends. So many teens will post embarrassing photos themselves so that they can control the spin, rather than risk someone else making it worse.
3) Teens expect people to know if they are the intended audience for a FB post. If you don't know the context of a post, it isn't meant for you and you should not comment on it. Teens sometimes intentionally obscure context in order to have a private conversation in a public space.
4) Minors who are at risk for victimization by an online predator show at risk behaviors offline as well. Girls who get involved in inappropriate relationships online and then offline are not tricked, kidnapped, and raped. They usually engage in explicitly sexual conversations and voluntarily pursue relationships offline because think that they are in love. The predator in the relationship is usually the teen's own age, or in their early 20s.
5) Teens don't see harassment and cruelty as bullying unless it happens repeatedly. Even if they have their feelings hurt, they are more likely to call it "drama" or "pranking" and to avoid labeling themselves as victims. 9% have used the internet to anonymously bully themselves, in a digital form of self-harm.
6) Due to the filter bubble and stranger danger, communities online tend to be even more homogenous and isolated than communities in real life.
7) "Digital natives" are really appallingly ignorant about technology and how it works.
Reading Boyd's book is an education about WHY teens do what they do online, but she doesn't offer solutions. Instead, she points out that online behaviors are a result of circumstances in teens' lives offline, and so there won't be any easy fixes here. But we can at least start by no longer vilifying teens, or the technology.
jbojkov's review against another edition
anetq's review against another edition
Thus went the first five chapters: Identity, Privacy, Addiction, Danger & Bullying.
The last chapters: Inequality, Literacy and the finale Searching for a Public of Their Own - was more interesting, and there was great ammunition to fight the next old american white dude at a conference preaching his new book on how to deal with those all-knowing "digital natives".
There might not have been that many new points to me, but she is an academic, so there are plenty of good notes and references for future reading.