NEW YORK, Jan. 20, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Next month Knopf will release a new book about social media and its impact on the lives of today's youth. Written by Nancy Jo Sales, and based on reporting she has done over the past 30 months, AMERICAN GIRLS: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers, will go on sale February 23 with a first printing of 150,000 copies. It will also be available as an eBook and from Random House Audio. First serial rights have been sold to Time Magazine.
In AMERICAN GIRLS, Sales reports on what teenagers are doing online, and, more importantly, what their life online is doing to them. It is a disturbing and often shocking narrative. Sales documents a new kind of adolescence – one dominated by frightening new social and sexual norms and with a constant digital tether. It's about being a teenager at a time when a girl's first crushes and experiences of longing occur in an accelerated electronic environment; when issues of identity and self-esteem are magnified and transformed by platforms that provide instant judgment; when pornography and images of sexual violence have become ubiquitous; when girls encounter both misogyny and sexism in a barrage of feeds, and they are pushed to reveal all on apps like Instagram, Snapchat, Whisper, Tinder, and Vine. "This shift in how girls spend their time is having a profound effect on the way they think and act," writes Sales. Sales describes the effects of this "pornification of American life" and suggests we are witnessing a shift with seismic repercussions for all teens, but especially for girls.
From being asked by male classmates to send nudes and racy videos – as recently seen in the sexting scandals that rocked Cañon City, CO and Kings Park, NY – to starting "finstas" (fake Instagram accounts) and hard-to-trace Facebook pages that bully others, to consuming and producing porn, the years of middle and high school have become both threatening and dangerous, even more so when you consider how their social lives are concealed from the eyes of parents (Sales was recently asked "What don't parents know about their children's lives online?" She responded "Too much.")
Sales spent the last 30 months in the company of teenage girls, interviewing more than 200 teenagers from coast-to-coast, getting them to open up about their experiences, and documenting the massive change in the way they are growing up, with social media and smartphone technology, a phenomenon that often transcends race, geography, and household income. "I couldn't have written this book without the honesty and generosity of the girls I interviewed," says Sales.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Nancy Jo Sales is an award-winning journalist and author who has written for Vanity Fair, New York, Harper's Bazaar, and many other publications. She is known for her reporting on youth culture and for her profiles of pop-culture icons. In 2000, she became a contributing editor at Vanity Fair.
SOURCE Alfred A. Knopf