If kids can’t socialize, who should parents blame? Simple: They should blame themselves. This is the argument advanced in It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens, by Microsoft researcher Danah Boyd. Boyd—full disclosure, a friend of mine—has spent a decade interviewing hundreds of teens about their online lives.
What she has found, over and over, is that teenagers would love to socialize face-to-face with their friends. But adult society won’t let them. “Teens aren’t addicted to social media. They’re addicted to each other,” Boyd says. “They’re not allowed to hang out the way you and I did, so they’ve moved it online.”
It’s true. As a teenager in the early ’80s I could roam pretty widely with my friends, as long as we were back by dark. But over the next three decades, the media began delivering a metronomic diet of horrifying but rare child-abduction stories, and parents shortened the leash on their kids. Politicians warned of incipient waves of youth wilding and superpredators (neither of which emerged). Municipalities crafted anti-loitering laws and curfews to keep young people from congregating alone. New neighborhoods had fewer public spaces. Crime rates plummeted, but moral panic soared. Meanwhile, increased competition to get into college meant well-off parents began heavily scheduling their kids’ after-school lives.
The result, Boyd discovered, is that today’s teens have neither the time nor the freedom to hang out. So their avid migration to social media is a rational response to a crazy situation. They’d rather socialize F2F, so long as it’s unstructured and away from grown-ups. “I don’t care where,” one told Boyd wistfully, “just not home.
so sick of hipster stuff on my dash, i don’t cARE ABOUT PICTURES OF CHILDREN STARING AT NOTHING LIKE WHAT IS THE POINT OF A PHOTO OF A KID STARING AT NOTHING omfG
Oh look, you took a black and white photo of a little boy in the park you must be so broody and mysterious.
What’s the point of the random kid staring at the sky?
I reblogged this, but I can’t remember why
LOL R U GUYS SERIOUS THEres a oh no wait i just scrolled back up it really is just a kid staring at nothing now im confused.
I mean I wonder what he could be looking at? a bird? a plane? SUPERMAN? It must be great though because he looks awfully interested in whatever is in the distance because obviously there’s nothing in front of him.
I know it’s Doctor Who, but I can’t remember why.
I wish there was a codeword for “you sprung that plan on me too last-minute and I didn’t have enough time to mentally prepare myself” because I feel kinda bad when someone spontaneously invites me to do something and I’m just like no no no no I need wARNING I have to have enough time to build up my social energy
I really wish people understood this.
OKAY OKAY OKAY I KNOW THERE ARE SO MANY FANDOMS STARTING NOW, LIKE THE SINK FANDOM AND THE TREEHOUSE FANDOM AND THE BLANKET FORT FANDOM, BUT YOU ARE ALL MISSING ONE.
BUT THEY AREN’T LIMITED TO INSIDE THE HOME
THERE ARE SECRET ROOMS FOR CARS
YOU EITHER LIKE SECRET ROOMS
OR YOU’RE WRONG