My rating: 4 of 5 stars
American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers is one of the most depressing books I have read in a long time but I couldn’t put it down. The interview subjects begin to sound exactly like each other whether they are 13 or 19 and the symptoms of “social media” addiction can be a little repetitive.
What’s really interesting about the book is how teenage boys are portrayed as dumb assholes; it made me want to slap them across the back of the head when I saw one on the train to work. After a while I began to wonder who the hell is raising these kids and do they have any interest in seeing them become healthy well-adjusted adults.
The one criticism I have about the book is that it makes it sound every kid is hooked on social media and addicted to porn. While I believe both are prevalent in teen life, I have a hard time believing this is the case in every case. It would have been nice if she had talked to a teen whose mom and dad monitored their social media use and paid attention to what was happening in their lives for contrast. It felt like most of the interview subjects are pretty shallow with or without social media.
It’s a great book; I would recommend it to anyone with a teenage son or daughter or an adult who is questioning their own relationship with social media and porn. I’m just really glad that I was a teenager in the Eighties when all you needed was a pair of high tops and Sony Walkman to fit in.