A new book, It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens, suggests that internet may be safer for teens than moms and dads may think.
The internet is not making teens social misfits — The writer says that teens would love to go out and be with their peers but often are not allowed to wander about so instead they congregate on social media.
“To make up for this lost freedom, teens have turned to their computers. “The success of social media must be understood partly in relation to this shrinking social landscape,” Boyd explains. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and other sites “are not only new public spaces; they are in many cases the only ‘public’ spaces in which teens can easily congregate with large groups of their peers.””
The internet isn’t full of sexual predators
“Boyd is careful here, clearly not wanting to dismiss parents’ apprehensions about their kids’ security and wellbeing. “They are afraid because terrible things do happen to children,” she acknowledges.
“But she argues that parents should keep things in perspective. “Internet-initiated sexual assaults are rare,” she writes, adding that the overall number of sex crimes against minors has actually been falling for more than two decades—a strong indication that “the Internet is not creating a new plague.’ ”
In fact, the author notes that studies show teenagers are far more likely to be attacked by a family member or someone they know.
Teens aren’t as Internet savvy as we think
Just because they are comfortable on the technology doesn’t mean they understand its power or can critically examine sources and information they find.
I used to see this a lot in the digital media classes I taught. The kids would tell you they knew how to use Facebook and Twitter but then didn’t really understand all aspects of it. They also didn’t always have a good understanding of a reliable source to quote from on the internet. I would be shocked by things they would be willing to use as sources for articles.
So what do you think? Is it much ado about nothing or are our kids voice chatting with potential threats online?