The widespread use of social networking sites (SNSs) by children and young people has significantly reconfigured how they communicate, with whom and with what consequences. Drawing on cross-national interviews and informed by the tradition of research on media literacy, I will discuss the idea of social media literacy. The empirical material reveals a social developmental pathway by which children learn to interpret and engage with the technological and textual affordances and social dimensions of SNSs in determining what is risky and why. Their changing orientation to social networking online (and offline) appears to be shaped by their changing peer and parental relations, and has implications for their perceptions of risk of harm.
Digiexplorer (not guru), Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing @ Manchester Metropolitan University. Interested in digital literacy and digital culture in the third sector (especially faith). Author of ‘Raising Children in a Digital Age’, regularly checks hashtag #DigitalParenting.