Title: It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens by Danah Boyd
Review by Maria Burnham, Media Specialist at Sauk Rapids-Rice High School
For the recent ITEM conference (Information and Technology Educators of Minnesota), I had the opportunity to read this book and discuss it with my peers from around the state. It was such a wonderful opportunity, and a motivator for reading a professional development book.
I thought Danah Boyd did a nice job of providing perspective on why teens make the kinds of decisions they do on social media. The book weighs in on online predators, cyberbullying, teens creating personas in the digital world, and privacy, addressing these topics in how they are portrayed by parents and society compared to actual facts and statistics. I particularly LOVED that the book wasn’t just “Teens are ruining their lives with social media!”; rather, it was a commentary on the evolution of teen life over the years and how that behavior manifests itself in this very digital age. I felt as though Boyd gave students credit for being savvy and finding digital tools that fit their needs. It was an optimistic read, but yet insightful and full of discussion points.
My only squabble with the book is the enormity of references to MySpace, making the book feel more dated than it actually is. Overall, a book I recommend for parents and professionals alike.