boyd chapters 4-6: danger, bullying, and inequality

I managed to acquire enough space on dropbox to host our readings there. This will make it easy for you to download the readings and read them on your iPad in goodreader (which should be installed on your iPads). So first, I must know what email address you used to sign up for dropbox so I can add you to the folder. I will pass around a sign up sheet. The first reading will be due next week on Weds.

Here are our discussion questions for today:

  • One thing that I am incredibly struck by (even before reading boyd’s book) is that people tend to believe what fears they hear in the media over what is “real” or “true.” For example, people are more afraid of sexual predators on the internet than the ones met through personal connection, even though there are very few encounters on the internet compared to those made through personal connection, e.g., Sandusky and that whole cover up. Why do you think people believe the media over reality? Do you think there’s anything we can do about this?
  • boyd paints a negative picture of Sabrina and teens like her who grow up in the suburbs and think it safer to stay inside and be safe than walk around inside. I grew up in a very different different situation, in a city, where I was taking public transportation on my own at 14 years old. How did you grow up? Do you agree with boyd about the “better safe than sorry” attitude?
  • boyd says that “The internet may not have the power to reverse long-standing societal ills, but it does have the potential to make them visible in new and perhaps productive ways.” (160) I find this argument very appealing, because I’d very much like to believe in things that we can use to transform the world around us. Have you had any experience with social media making these things visible? What role has social media played? I am thinking about what happened at the end of last year with the Juniatian, and how much of that conversation actually got started on Facebook before it came back to campus in the form of a public forum.
  • After reading the chapter on inequality, my main thought was that access does not equal understanding, but access does come with expectations about what teenagers are able to do because of their social media use. However, this has real consequences for teens who can’t live up to those expectations. An example I can think of is expectations of what you can do as college students now because you have more access to data. I’ve heard colleagues say that they don’t understand why students don’t know this or that when they have access to so much data. I think we all, faculty and students alike, have more pressure on us to know a lot more because of our access to technology. What consequences can this have in our lives? How do we get different representations about young people and what they know and what access means out there for the public to believe?

I am really enthusiastic about your level of participation in discussion, and I am learning so much from your perspectives! I can’t wait to tell danah boyd about you at dinner.

I hope many of you are going to her talk, on Tues, Sept 9 at 7:30 in Halbritter.

Homework: we will discuss chapters 7 & 8 on Monday. As always, turn in 2 discussion questions. You might want to start thinking about what you want to write about for your response, due Friday.

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