Youth are misinformed about how their social media is monitored and made vulnerable to unfair consequences.
How often are New York City teens suspended from school because of a social media post? How many are in law enforcement “gang databases” because of an Instagram post? How often have teens had their contact with probation or protective services extended because of their online presence?
The Youth Justice Board looked at how city systems, particularly police and schools, use social media to surveil, criminalize, and punish young people. Through qualitative research methods such as focus groups with youth and interviews with experts and stakeholders (including the Department of Education and the New York Police Department), the Board explored the landscape of social media surveillance and the impact it has on youth, particularly youth of color and youth living in low-income communities.
Every year, the Youth Justice Board brings together 15 to 20 young people to study and propose solutions to public policy challenges. At the end of the school year, they present recommendations to key policymakers and partner with local stakeholders to implement their ideas.
In this year’s report, All Eyes On Us, the Board shares their unsettling findings: what adults do with youth’s social media is largely unregulated. Youth are misinformed about how their social media is being monitored and what is being done with their information, thus making them vulnerable to unfair consequences. There is no publicly accessible data on how many teens are negatively impacted by their social media activity and there is no process or opportunity for youth to appeal decisions made.
All Eyes On Us also lays out actionable policy recommendations to address the main problem areas. Each of the Board’s recommendations is rooted in their self-defined core values: transparency, accountability, and education.
Read All Eyes On Us to learn about how all adults can do more to support the positive development of young people in a digital age.