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This book critically confronts perceptions that social media has become a ‘wasteland’ for young people. Law has become preoccupied with privacy, intellectual property, defamation and criminal behaviour in and through social media. In the case of children and youth, this book argues, these preoccupations – whilst important – have disguised and distracted public debate away from a much broader, and more positive, consideration of the nature of social media. In particular, the legal tendency to consider social media as ‘dangerous’ for young people – to focus exclusively on the need to protect and control their online presence and privacy, whilst tending to suspect, or to criminalise, their use of it – has obscured the potential of social media to help young people to participate more fully as citizens in society.
Drawing on sociological work on the construction of childhood, and engaging a wide range of national and international legal material, this book argues that social media may yet offer the possibility of an entirely different – and more progressive –conceptualisation of children and youth.