“Not So Social, Not So Networked: Teens’ Perspectives of Privacy and Trust on Social Media”
In the past two years, The eQuality Project has conducted a series of research projects exploring how teens use social media in their daily lives. Our findings suggest that teens do not share aspects of their interests or activities online, but instead undertake a complex process of selecting content for a notional audience based on the cues that are built into the platforms themselves. Their personal lives are considered “random” and therefore not “post worthy”; instead they look for content that conforms to a narrow set of visual representations that will attract the “right kind of attention”.
This shift away from personal memories, interests and relationships reflects the fact they have been unable to secure the kinds of privacy they need on those sites and the sites are accordingly not trustworthy. As a result, the emancipatory potential of social media for connection has been constrained and social media platforms are increasingly being used as channels for passive entertainment and scheduling.
This presentation provides an overview of our data, demonstrating how and why young people have lost trust in social media, and presents recommendations from teens to make social media more welcoming and inclusive of all youth.