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Behind Their Screens:

What Teens Are Facing (And Adults Are Missing)

The MIT Press (August 16, 2022)

Behind Their Screens takes adults on a journey through the hidden lives of teens growing up with social media. The book reveals what teens think, how and why they make the decisions they do, and what they need adults to understand if they are to help teens navigate a tricky landscape. 

Noah sees a series of Venmo transactions between two of his friends and wonders when they started hanging out so much. 

Kailah monitors her ex-boyfriend’s follower count on Instagram and gets a pit in her stomach when she sees it’s jumped up by one—and then painstakingly reviews the entire list to identify a cute girl as his newest follower.

Aly clicks through Snapchat stories from Jaylen about wanting to overdose; her mind races as she tries to decide what to do. 

Diego goes to hang with his friends and notices Vera is missing. Digital receipts of Vera “being fake” are circulating. She’s been canceled, he’s told.

Harrison shows his middle school friends a hidden collection of nudes and says they’re from girls from school. (Spoiler: They’re not. But his friend Peter doesn’t know that when Peter starts asking his girlfriend to snap him sexy pictures.)

Behind Their Screens is based on original research with more than 3,500 teens. The authors - Drs. Emily Weinstein and Carrie James - are Harvard Project Zero-based researchers and experts on teens and technology, They break down research in a way that is as accessible as it is riveting. And they share stories like those of Noah, Kailah, Aly, and many more teens: pulling back layers to reveal how teens think and what they’re really up against. 

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