It’s Complicated – The Social Lives of Networked Teens by Danah Boyd is a book that seeks to explain the appeal of using the Internet for teens and how they use it. Social media plays a big part but what about privacy, danger, and bullying?
It’s Complicated is available from booksellers as a hardcover, audio book, and Kindle book. The author wanted to reach as wide an audience as possible though and is providing it for free as a PDF from her website. She explains why she is giving this newly published book away for free. You can download the free PDF from www.danah.org/itscomplicated/
If you buy the book, it supports the author and sends a message to the publisher that people are interested in these types of books. The chapters cover topics that are brought up in every discussion of teens and the Internet:
- Identity – why do teens seem so strange online?
- Privacy – Why do youth share so publicly?
- Addiction – What makes teens obsessed with social media?
- Danger – Are sexual predators lurking everywhere?
- Bullying – Is social media amplifying meanness and cruelty?
- Inequality – Can social media resolve social divisions?
- Literacy – Are today’s youth digital natives?
- Searching for a public of their own
The book is 213 pages if you don’t count the appendix, notes, bibliography, and index. I haven’t had the chance to read it fully but I have started a few chapters and I like the tone used to convey the book’s message. It is easy to read and advocates for an understanding of using technology, not condemning it as one might expect with a generation gap between the author and the interviewees. Danah Boyd does a great service in writing It’s Complicated to give parents and teens an equal playing field to have a discussion about what can and what should be done online. I could easily see this book as a topic for a book club or community discussion.