“Identity Production in a Networked Culture: Why Youth Heart MySpace” written by Danah Boyd

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.


5 thoughts on ““Identity Production in a Networked Culture: Why Youth Heart MySpace” written by Danah Boyd”

  1. A solid question for today’s parents. I would think you have an especially keen insight into this, having worked closely with kids and teens through coaching and lessons.

    One direction you might take this post is to consider is whether you can point to specific examples from your own experience working with those kids and their parents (keeping their identities private of course) that you could bring to bear on this question: does boyd’s (she doesn’t capitalize her name) argument hold up in light of your experiences work with kids and their parents?


  2. I find it interesting that this mentality has not only carried over from parents protecting their children from the outside world in youth, but is beginning grow into social media outlets as well. As horror stories of social media stalkers grow, media outlets are encouraging parents to become increasingly observant and restrictive of their child’s access and activities on social media.
    Because of this restriction, youth are showing increasingly rebellious behavior on their social media sites. It is this rebellious behavior on the openly visible internet that is causing so many problems. These problems are in a way self cycling. Parents mistrusting their children and being increasingly controlling over their personal social lives, leading to children becoming rebellious on their social media sights, in turn giving cause for parents to be controlling over their child’s interactions on social media. The cycle of mistrust needs to be broken by educating parents on the freedoms their child needs to have for independent growth and development. The children also need to learn about internet interactions and how to best manage their internet and social media interactions independently.


    1. What kind of education do you think parents are getting about social media and control from social media sites themselves? What does Facebook teach us parents about this? Twitter?


  3. I am very understanding of parents fear of the Internet. These teenagers are being exposed to things they are not yet mature enough to handle, as much as they would like to think they are. I wouldn’t advice free reign of the Internet for young people under 18.


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