The Dark Side of Social Media Reviews

The Dark Side of Social Media: ISBN 978-1-6782-0078-7 / eBook: 978-1-6782-0079-4
Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 2021

Although young Americans are growing up steeped in social media, there are many disturbing aspects to its omnipresence.
This brief yet richly informative effort covers in four chapters the most serious issues with social media. First, it addresses the repetition of inaccurate or patently untrue information, which creates a large class of badly informed citizens, threatening democratic processes. Alarmingly, those ages 18 to 29 use it as their primary source of news even though information on social media generally lacks any traditional fact-checking. The second chapter covers social media as a virulent forum for hate that appears to inflame prejudice; violent racist shootings by those active on online forums where hate speech is promoted, the use of divisive bots on Twitter, and the rise of anti-Asian harassment during t! he Covid pandemic are covered. Next, the author moves to cyberbullying on social media, something that is difficult to control since many young users use social media without adult supervision. Stories from and about real people adversely affected by online bullying put a human face on the problem. Finally, the book addresses the fact that social media is addictive by design and looks at the toll this takes on people’s lives. Both rich in accurate information and engaging to read, this effort's only flaw is intrusive text boxes that merely repeat statements from the narrative. The text is enlivened with photographs and charts.
Addresses critical issues concisely and thoroughly. (source notes, resources, further research, index, picture credits) (Nonfiction. 12-18)

The Dark Side of Social Media: ISBN 978-1-6782-0078-7 / eBook: 978-1-6782-0079-4
School Library Connection, Nov/Dec 2021

By focusing on the negatives, this short, effective review of research on social media’s unfortunate aspects will be useful for debates and as a reminder that not all is sunshine on the Web. Four short chapters focus on various aspects of the medium that are particularly destructive, but the one on “Cyberbullying and Shaming” is the most personal and perhaps most relevant to students. Small insets pick out some of the most quotable comments which makes it easy to absorb the information at a glance. The reliance on current research, including some 2020 and 2021 studies, helps to affirm that the most recent data available is being presented on this constantly changing issue. The section "Organizations and Websites" included at the end of the title is not only useful for current readers, but also has the potential to lead to more information in the future. Not pretending to be a balanced look at social media helps keep the focus on what can go wrong, how to recognize it, and how to cope with it. Additional Resources. Index. Source Notes. 
Carol Edwards, Retired Librarian, Littleton, Colorado