Danah Boyd (2006) says, “Adults often worry about the amount of time that youth spend online, arguing that the digital does not replace the physical. Most teens would agree. It is not the technology that encourages youth to spend time online – it’s the lack of mobility and access to youth space where they can hang out uninterrupted. In this context, there are three important classes of space: public, private and controlled. For adults, the home is the private sphere where they relax amidst family and close friends. The public sphere is the world amongst strangers and people of all statuses where one must put forward one’s best face. For most adults, work is a controlled space where bosses dictate the norms and acceptable behavior.”
So for a socially active teenager seeking their peers acceptance and companionships, social media outlets online are “safe” physical places where they cannot get themselves into any means of physical harm. So my question to this generation of parents would be, why has this parental “stranger danger” effect continued into their teenagers lives promoting and highly contributing to the mass usage of the online web and social media outlets. Where parents should be allowing their teenagers to experience things and get themselves into some trouble allowing for parental guidance and correction before that same teenager becomes an adult, sooner than not, where they’ll be experiencing those similar real life situations they were deprived of throughout their teenage youth. What’s so interesting about this article is the fact that it was published in 2006, while I was still a Junior High Schooler, but has more relevancy and accuracy in today’s social media world which could arguably be due to the increasing amounts of social media usage by our entire society not just the youth.
Boyd (2006) explains that, “While the potential predator or future employer don’t concern most teens, parents and teachers do. Reacting to increasing adult surveillance, many teens are turning their profiles private or creating separate accounts under fake names. In response, many parents are demanded complete control over teens’ digital behaviors. This dynamic often destroys the most important value in the child/parent relationship: trust.”
It’s sad that parents think they need to keep tabs on their child’s social media to maintain trust while most of those same parents do not trust their kids to attend a social gathering in fear of confronting physical harm or danger, avoiding anything that may negatively alter the way their child thinks. Teenagers think for themselves more than they should, restricting them from socially interacting with their peers in public venues will probably cause those teenagers to browse places or interact with others on the web that are more detrimental than any scenario that would occur at any teenage function.