The History and Mathematics of Codes and Code Breaking

Old Man Yells at Cloud

“In her New York Magazine article describing people’s willingness to express themselves publicly, Emily Nussbaum articulated a concern about youth that is widespread: “Kids today. They have no sense of shame. They have no sense of privacy. They are show-offs, fame whores, pornographic little loons who post their diaries, their phone numbers, their stupid poetry—for God’s sake, their dirty photos!—online.”” (pg. 55-56)

As it happens with every generation to the next, adults are constantly criticizing the younger generations and rejecting the advancements that come with them. Popular culture is constantly demonized in a way that can redistribute the blame for modern problems in our society – whether or not they are actually authentic. Regardless of why this is, perhaps because of a reluctance to change and to technology, or because of greater political implications, this attitude will always have real consequences in the ways youth navigate their daily lives. The privacy of teenagers is chronically under an inspective microscope while teenagers are simultaneously under fire for “not respecting privacy”: a little hypocritical, isn’t it? As the author discusses further into the chapter, what is shared on social media is selectively chosen by the user. And as intuitive as this concept should already be, it seems that people expect “privacy” to be a strict definition and expression for every individual. The value my privacy is not what someone else deems it to be, it is what I deem it to be. What I choose not to share with others – that is my “private” life. And because social media is a powerful medium for teenagers to choose who understands what, who reads what, who sees what, they are able to comfortably navigate the perhaps intricate stratification that exists within the very idea of privacy.


Semantics, Semantics


Sharing Is Caring – Or Is it?

1 Comment

  1. Derek

    I love the title of your post.

    “Don’t share all that stuff online! Maintain your privacy! Also! Let me see everything you post!” Yep, that’s hypocritical.

    The generation gap argument is an interesting one. If one generation has a very different set of social norms than the next generation, that’s going to lead to conflicts between parents and children. One of danah boyd’s main arguments is that social media changes what these gaps look like, but doesn’t really change the nature of the gaps. Teenagers have always sought freedom from their parents to navigate public and social spaces without oversight. Back in the 80s, the “public and social space” tended to be the mall or the movie theater. These days, it’s online, but the generational tensions are very similar.

    I suspect a lot of parents don’t understand the ways that their teens are navigating privacy (“achieving privacy” to use boyd’s term) online. That lack of understanding leads to some conflict, too.

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