The secrets of teens and social media: “It’s complicated”

The news is full of stories about what teenagers are doing online, but does anyone over the age of 18 really understand what’s going on?

Microsoft researcher danah boyd does.

In her new book, It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens, boyd leverages more than ten years of research and interviews with teens to move past the cultural anxiety surrounding these issues and find out what teens are actually doing online, what people think they’re doing, and where there’s a gap in understanding. It’s an opportunity for parents to take note.

Get the book

Resources to inspire conversations

Kids may be savvier when it comes to how the devices work, but parents can be instrumental in helping shape how kids think about, engage with, and generally behave around technology both online and off.  We know that eight-years-old is the average age at which parents talk to their kids about being good digital citizens according to a recent Microsoft survey.  But the interactions children experience on social networks and through online gaming are actually conditioning their interpersonal skills no matter what age they go online. Setting kids up for success early is important. 

If you’re a parent, guardian, or educator and you want to help your child navigate the online world, visit Protecting young people and Cyberbullying: Stand up to it, or check out our research on parent’s perceptions of their children’s online lives.

And before you hand over a digital device to your child, take a look at this checklist.

About the Author
Eve Blakemore

Group Manager, Trustworthy Computing

Eve Blakemore is a Group Manager for Trustworthy Computing who delivers consumer guidance around the latest trends in security and privacy. Eve joined Microsoft in 1998 and has worked in corporate and field roles with Microsoft Learning, US Public Sector, Read more »