“By and large, the kids are all right. But they want to be understood.” -Dr. danah boyd (lowercase letters intentional)
Tonight (Thursday) at 9pm EST, I’m moderating an #isedchat discussion of boyd’s book, It’s Complicated, on Twitter. If folks are interested in participating, but haven’t gotten a chance to read the book, I’d encourage you to listen to an NPR story about the book and/or read the introductory chapter (link at the bottom of the NPR story).
For purposes of the chat, I’ve written a question for each of the primary chapters of boyd’s book. We may not get through all of them or the discussion might shift to a different direction, but for the structure lovers among us, I thought they might be useful. If you have additional thoughts that we don’t have time to address or if you won’t be able to make the chat, please feel free to post in the comment section below.
Q1- Identity– boyd explains the concept of context collapse as occurring “when people are forced to grapple simultaneously with otherwise unrelated social contexts that are rooted in different norms and seemingly demand different social responses” (31). When have you (or students you know) experienced context collapse?
Q2- Privacy– boyd notes that, for teens, privacy often consists of controlling access to meaning, rather than access to content. Does boyd’s description of privacy resonate with your experience? How could different conceptions of privacy create misunderstanding between teens and adults?
Q3- Addiction– boyd writes that an important part of teen life is socializing and that when teens don’t have the ability to do that in-person, they will use social media to connect. She thinks claims of teen “addiction” to social media are overblown, but encourages adults to help students seek balance. In what ways could adults help find balance in their use of social media?
Q4- Danger- boyd suggests that “teens who are struggling in everyday life also engage in problematic encounters online” (113) and encourages adults to find ways to “open their eyes on the digital street” (127). What are the challenges and potential benefits of being aware of what’s going on on the “digital streets”?
Q5- Bullying– boyd argues that social media hasn’t substantially changed the dynamics of bullying, but that it has made it more visible. How might teachers/admin use the increased visibility of negative behavior to productively address difficult situations?
Q6- Inequality– boyd says that inequality (of a host of types) is present online because it is present offline. How might a school’s tech polices diminish or exacerbate inequalities that are already present in the school community?
Q7- Literacy– boyd has a high regard for educators and writes that they “have an important role to play in helping youth navigate networked publics and the information-rich environments that the internet supports. Familiarity with the latest gadgets or services is often less important than possessing the critical knowledge to engage productively with networked situations, including the ability to control how personal information flows and how to look for and interpret accessible information (180). How does your teachers/admin help students navigate networked publics or how do you wish your school would?