Young People and Social Media: Contemporary Children’s Digital Culture

Steve Gennaro, Blair Miller (Eds.)

by Arup Kumar Ghosh (Jacksonville State University), Sarah Han (Berkeley Media Studies Group), John Tobin (University of Melbourne), Shelley Boulianne (MacEwan University), Mireille Lalancette (University of Quebec in Trois-Rivières), David Ilkiw (MacEwan University), Douglas Kellner (UCLA), Roslyn M. Satchel (Pepperdine University), Laura Nixon (Berkeley Media Studies Group), Sonia Livingstone (UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti), Marium Saeed (UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti), Lori Dorfman (Berkeley Media Studies Group), Molly Gadanidis (Ontario Tech University), Jennifer Laffier (Ontario Tech University), Janette Hughes (Ontario Tech University), Natalie Coulter (York University), Bailey Parnell (SkillsCamp), Ilyssa Salomon (Elon University), Christia Spears Brown (University of Kentucky), Daniel Kardefelt Winther (UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti), Pamela Mejia (Berkeley Media Studies Group), Katharine Jones (Auckland University of Technology), Turki Alelyani , Irmine Kabimbi Ngoy , J. Mitchell Vaterlaus (Montana State University), Kathleen M. Armour (University of Birmingham), Victoria A. Goodyear (University of Birmingham), Hannah Wood (The Active Wellbeing Society), Elia Abi-Jaoude (Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto; University of Toronto), Antonio Pignatiello (Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto; University of Toronto), Karline Treurnicht Naylor (University of Toronto), Jody Berland (York University), Amanda Ikin , Larry Moralez (University of Central Florida), Shion Guha (Marquette University), Pamela Wisniewski (University of Central Florida), Luci Pangrazio (Deakin University in Melbourne), Neil Selwyn (Monash University), Zoetanya Sujon (London College of Communication, University of the Arts London), Melissa Brough (California State University), Ioana Literat (Columbia University), Chris Alton

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‘Young People and Social Media: Contemporary Children’s Digital Culture’ explores the practices, relationships, consequences, benefits, and outcomes of children’s experiences with, on, and through social media by bringing together a vast array of different ideas about childhood, youth, and young people’s lives. These ideas are drawn from scholars working in a variety of disciplines, and rather than just describing the social construction of childhood or an understanding of children’s lives, this collection seeks to encapsulate not only how young people exist on social media but also how their physical lives are impacted by their presence on social media.
One of the aims of this volume in exploring youth interaction with social media is to unpack the structuring of digital technologies in terms of how young people access the technology to use it as a means of communication, a platform for identification, and a tool for participation in their larger social world. During longstanding and continued experience in the broad field of youth and digital culture, we have come to realize that not only is the subject matter increasing in importance at an immeasurable rate, but the amount of textbooks and/or edited collections has lagged behind considerably. There is a lack of sources that fully encapsulate the canon of texts for the discipline or the rich diversity and complexity of overlapping subject areas that create the fertile ground for studying young people’s lives and culture. The editors hope that this text will occupy some of that void and act as a catalyst for future interdisciplinary collections.
‘Young People and Social Media: Contemporary Children’s Digital Culture’ will appeal to undergraduate students studying Child and Youth Studies and—given the interdisciplinary nature of the collection— scholars, researchers and students at all levels working in anthropology, psychology, sociology, communication studies, cultural studies, media studies, education, and human rights, among others. Practitioners in these fields will also find this collection of particular interest.

List of Figures

List of Tables

About the Collection

About the Editors

About the Authors

Editors’ Note

Preface: It Ain’t Easy to Theorize or Teach Media
Shirley R. Steinberg
Werklund School of Education, The University of Calgary

Introduction: Contemporary Children’s Culture in Digital Space(s)
Steve Gennaro, Blair Miller
York University, Toronto, Canada

Chapter 1 Growing Up in a Connected World
Sonia Livingstone, Marium Saeed,
Daniel Kardefelt Winther
UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti

Chapter 2 Understanding the Relationship Between Young People and Social Media: What Role Do Rights Play?
John Tobin
University of Melbourne

Chapter 3 “School Strike 4 Climate”: Social Media and the International Youth Protest on Climate Change
Shelley Boulianne, David Ilkiw
MacEwan University
Mireille Lalancette
University of Quebec in Trois-Rivières

Chapter 4 Resisting Youth: From Occupy through Black Lives Matter to the Trump Resistance
Douglas Kellner
Roslyn M. Satchel
Pepperdine University

Chapter 5 Trauma, Resilience, and #BlackLivesMatter How do Racism and Trauma Intersect in Social Media Conversations?
Laura Nixon, Sarah Han, Pamela Mejia, Lori Dorfman
Berkeley Media Studies Group

Chapter 6 Youth’s Relationship With Social Media: Identity Formation Through Self-Expression and Activism
Jennifer Laffier, Molly Gadanidis, Janette Hughes
Ontario Tech University

Chapter 7 Living Their Best Life: Instagram, Social Comparison and Young Women
Bailey Parnell
Natalie Coulter
York University

Chapter 8 The Selfie Generation: Examining the Relation Between Social Media Use and Adolescent Body Image
Ilyssa Salomon
Elon University
Christia Spears Brown
University of Kentucky

Chapter 9 The Video Kids Are All Right: A Comparative Analysis of Moral Panics Around Youth and Social Gaming
Chris Alton
York University

Chapter 10 Playing with Pets, Playing with Machines, Playing with Futures
Jody Berland
York University

Chapter 11 Digital Media and Kidfluencers in the Twentyfirst Century Are Here: What and Who are the World’s Children Watching?
Katharine Jones, Irmine Kabimbi Ngoy
Auckland University of Technology

Chapter 12 Connected or Disconnected?: Parent-Adolescent Relationships and Interactive Technology
J. Mitchell Vaterlaus
Montana State University

Chapter 13 Young People and Their Engagement With Health-Related Social Media: New Perspectives
Victoria A. Goodyear, Kathleen M. Armour
University of Birmingham
Hannah Wood
The Active Wellbeing Society

Chapter 14 Smartphones, Social Media Use, and Youth Mental Health
Elia Abi-Jaoude, Karline Treurnicht Naylor,
Antonio Pignatiello
University of Toronto

Chapter 15 Examining Parent Versus Child Reviews of Parental Control Apps on Google Play
Turki Alelyani
Stevens Institute of Technology
Arup Kumar Ghosh
Jacksonville State University
Larry Moralez
University of Central Florida
Shion Guha
Marquette University
Pamela Wisniewski
University of Central Florida

Chapter 16 Young People’s Understandings of Social Media Data
Luci Pangrazio
Deakin University
Neil Selwyn
Monash University

Chapter 17 Disruptive Play or Platform Colonialism? The Contradictory Dynamics of Google Expeditions and Educational Virtual Reality
Zoetanya Sujon
London College of Communication,
University of the Arts London

Chapter 18 “Good Social Media”?: Underrepresented Youth Perspectives on the Ethical and Equitable Design of Social Media Platforms
Melissa Brough, Amanda Ikin
California State University
Ioana Literat
Columbia University



Dr. Steve Gennaro holds a Ph.D. from McGill University. In his thesis, he explored the intersections of media, technology, psychology, and youth identity. He completed a Postdoc in Philosophy of Education at UCLA with Douglas Kellner. Apart from being one of the founding members of the Children, Childhood, and Youth Studies Program at York University, Steve is the author of ‘Selling Youth’ and co-author of ‘The Googleburg Galaxy’ (forthcoming in 2022). He regularly publishes in areas related to the philosophy of technology, education, critical theory, and media studies of youth, identity, and politics.

Blair Miller is a published author and poet. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and a Master’s in Film Studies, and his scholarship and publications continue to explore the connections between the self and media technologies. Blair teaches at York University in the Department of Humanities and the Department of Film Studies, where he has taught Stories in Diverse Media, Popular Technology and Cultural Practice, and Information and Technology, among others, for the last decade.

social media, children’s rights, international law, information technology, Black Lives Matter, BLM, youth, Twitter, protest, youth activism, Instagram, data literacies, teenagers, privacy, security, YouTube, Apps, Parent-Child Relationships, Adolescence, Smartphones, Mental health

Bibliographic Information

Book Title

Young People and Social Media: Contemporary Children’s Digital Culture





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Publication date

October 2021