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Tag: teens

The Unfair Tug of War

Danah Boyd begins Chapter 2 of her book, It’s Complicated, by presenting the ongoing war of privacy between parents and teens. More precisely, Boyd makes a bold statement when she says, “Many teens feel as though they’re in a no-win situation when it comes to sharing information online: damned if they publish their personal thoughts to public spaces, and damned if they create private space that parents can’t see.” This statement,  and especially the last part, caught my attention because of its relevance to society today and how easily I can relate.

As a teenager, I personally felt like I had to hide a lot of things from my parents. Sometimes, despite living thousands of miles away from them, I still feel this way. So when Boyd describes how so many teens feel like they cannot have a private for themself, it definitely hits home. At the same time, at this point in my life, I can definitely see why this “war” between parent and teen can be put into comparison with the “war” between the government and the people who are so adamant about their own privacy. And the reason why this comparison is so apt is because it draws from the stubbornness of both sides. The ones trying to hide everything they have and know are unbelievably stubborn about it, while the higher powers seem to ignore what they have to say and push forward. It’s kind of like a tug of war, and until something happens in society that is significant enough to change people’s minds, then I highly doubt that this war of attrition will end anytime soon.


Why We (Teens) Post

“Adults complain that teens are wasting their time publicizing trivia, whereas teens feel as though their audience can filter out anything that appears to be irrelevant.” (Boyd, 62).

Yes. Adults are correct. As teens we tend to post things online that others may or may not find enticing. However when we post we hope that our followers will interact favorably towards the content. My friend Gabby and I were actually discussing this earlier this year one late night. The other day, instagram announced that they would soon experiment with taking away the “like” function of their app. Users would still be able to “like” pictures and videos, however only the creator of the content could view the amount of likes the post received. Like Nikki Minaj, I hated this idea. Unfortunately the point of instagram is to gain followers and “likes”, not to actually connect with friends. Deleting this aspect of the app would completely defeat the purpose of posting. Because of this, I can see why parents believe us teens are wasting our time.

However, I also agree with the notion that if people don’t actually care about my content they will not waste time viewing it. Although I post pictures partially because I believe my viewers might enjoy it in some capacity, I also do it for myself. Instagram is a great modern-day picture book. It has all of my favorite pictures from the years on one easy page. If someone doesn’t like what I am posting, they simply ignore it. Just like if someone posts a picture that I do not like, I will not “like” it, I’ll just continue scrolling. 


Social Media provides more gaps between parents and teens

“Social media has introduced a new dimension to the well-worn fights over private space and personal expression.”

Have you ever hide part of your school life as secrets from your parents through social media? Shared with your friends that you played a trick with your teacher in high school but hide it from your parents? Well, after the birth of social media, teens gradually share less with their parents. Even stay at home, we would not talk about our real life with our parents but chat with our friends through the Internet.

This phenomenon is related to the purpose of social media. As it showed up in our lives, social media become a perfect tool to improve the relationship between friends. People can not only chat in real life face to face but also chat online at any point. Meanwhile, social media also aggravate the tense relationship between parents and teens. Before the era of social media, parents worry about what teens had done outside and tried to talk with them when they back home. Teens enjoyed their time outside and had to face their parents’ question and chatter. However, through the social media, teens could bring their social life and resistance to parents back home. They could lock themselves in their bedrooms and still chat or post with their phones and laptops. It’s much harder for parents to try to learn about their children’s social lives.

Definitely, teens are happy with this change. They have more rooms and freedom now. They could hide their secrets from their parents by simply finishing a privacy setting. At the same time, the gaps between teens and parents become larger and larger. Parents could no longer know what teens want to hide and start to worry more. With almost a blank impression about what their children have posted on Facebook or Instagram, as well as what their children have said to their friends, parents will imagine possible bad manners that kids may be accustomed to. Those imaginations then become new gaps that teens won’t talk to their parents about but parents keeping worrying.


Privacy of the Teens in Social Media

Teens are increasingly sharing personal information on social media sites, a trend that is likely driven by the evolution of the platforms teens use as well as changing norms around sharing.

While there is now increasing awareness of and hence established defense protocols to protect against overt dangers of social media such as bullying and trolling, the silent perils of social media for youngsters remain to be tackled. These include hacking by inimical elements and phishing. Setting parent controls parental control on computers and websites is very effective for younger children, but it gets dicey with teens because such controls can be perceived as stifling for the youngster.

The severe inconsistency in the perception of privacy awareness among teens is not surprising – the concept of “privacy-paradox” has been the building block of the panoptic web of social media that provides “constant view of individuals through mechanisms that influence behavior simply because of the possibility of being observed” It is believed that teens worry more about social privacy than the privacy risks posed by third parties, in contrast to the reverse penchant for an adult.

I like the sentence in the material is that: “Teens often grow frustrated with adult assumptions that suggest that they are part of a generation that has eschewed privacy in order to participate in social media.”

The Benefits and Drawbacks of Online Transparency

“In his book Discipline and Punish, philosopher Michel Foucault describes how surveillance operates as a mechanism of control. When inmates believe they are being watched, they conform to what they believe to be the norms of the prison and the expectations of their jailors. Surveillance is a mechanism by which powerful entities assert their power over less powerful individuals.”

In this blog post, I will be responding to the post made by Xinyi about this same quotation that I have provided above. Her claim in her blog post is that people behave differently knowing that they are being watched and could be caught doing something at any moment. She also discusses the idea of the panopticon, and how it violates the fundamental right to privacy. I think that her argument makes a lot of sense, but I disagree with certain parts of it. People know that when they post things on social media, they are more permanent. There is, however, a kind of paradox with this. On one hand, people are more uncivil online because they feel removed from the people they are talking to. On the other hand, there are more repercussions to comments made online, and without this balancing factor created by the lack of privacy, social media may be more toxic than it already is.

Although I believe that social media creates an accountability that doesn’t exist when people talk in person, I do agree with the point that Xinyi made that social media makes people not be their true selves. She makes the point that people online only post the best parts of their lives, and they leave out the struggles many times. People viewing these post misinterpret the context of these posts, and may not get the full picture of who someone is. They may form preconceived notions about people they barely know, and this is an issue with the lack of privacy that social media creates.

The Spectrum of Privacy

“Privacy is not a static construct. It is not an inherent property of any particular information or setting. It is a process by which people seek to have control over a social situation by managing impressions, information ows, and context.”

In other words, privacy is what you make it. There is not a definite definition and it is varies from person to person. I think that everyone perceives privacy differently and that in someways it is a spectrum. While some adults struggle to understand how teens can demand privacy while maintaining a social media presence, it is completely feasible and possible for teens to do so. Privacy isn’t synonymous with being off the grid and anti-social and it shouldn’t be. I think, especially in the 21st century, there is an expectation that everyone has a social media presence and there still exists the expectation to keep somethings private. It all depends on what each person is comfortable with. Some teens are comfortable with sharing every aspect of their life on a public account while others control their social situations by maintaining a private account that only a select few can see. It all depends on the range in which someone is comfortable with sharing personal information about their lives. For instance, it lately has become a trend that many teens will have “rinstas” or real Instagram accounts where they may share less personal, general posts and “finstas” or fake accounts which usually are private and only followed by close friends. Finstas give teens the opportunity to be more open about their lives and many people use it has a place to post rants and more personal information, all while controlling more specifically who can see what they post.

I personally think that there is this connotation that if you have a social media presence, you must be comfortable sharing anything. That is not the case, I think when posting something online most teens put it through their own personal filter, their own definition of privacy. This filter questions whether something upholds the image they want to maintain and does it give followers a look into their life without revealing too much. This is the modern way that teens interpret privacy and seek more control over the social situations and expectations.

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