We all have that one crazy relative who swears—swears—that Facebook is all just some plot by the government to control your life or some other elaborate, looping scheme you can’t quite make sense of. And we’ve all
briefly skimmed totally read those studies that claim social media is actually making us less social. But mostly we give in to the magnetic pull of beautiful Instagram filters and Twitter feuds because how else are we supposed to legally stalk people? But read these YA books, which take a look at social media through a very dark lens, and you just might start agreeing with your Crazy Aunt Sue:
My Invisible Boyfriend, by Susie Day
Okay, so this fun novel isn’t exactly a thriller. But when Heidi invents a fake boyfriend and suddenly has to deal with the unexpected secrets that come along with a faux-beau, it’s hard not to worry about how easily things get out of hand online. Also, a serious(ish) reminder that if a high-school girl can convincingly create a fake person, maybe anyone could be fake. Be careful about those online friendships, pal.
Life By Committee, by Corey Ann Haydu
This book. It may feel lighthearted at times, but it’s actually terrifying. When Tabitha’s friends abandon her, she turns to an online committee that runs on a somewhat sinister system of Truth or Dare—users confess a secret, then complete an increasingly high-stakes series of assignments to keep it that way. It’s essentially a confirmation of that thing your parents always warned you about: be careful what you put online, because it will always be there…for other people to blackmail you with. Also, people you think you trust may be major creeps.
The Future of Us, by Jay Asher
On first read, this book might seem pro-social media. After all, a magic look into their future Facebook profiles does help (*spoiler*) Emma and Josh get their lives together. But underneath all that romantic comedy is a reminder that an objective, outsider’s view on our social media activity probably reveals waaay more about our flaws and insecurities than we want to the world to see. Avoid Facebook. People judge what you put on there, dude (including your future children, because boy are they going to laugh at your angsty status updates).
The Social Media Experiment, by Cole Gibsen
Reagan’s experience is your worst nightmare: all her private texts and messages are printed out and displayed in public. Just another reminder that online secrets rarely stay that way, plus a nugget of paranoia now implanted in the back of your mind. ARE YOUR FRIENDS REALLY YOUR FRIENDS? CAN YOU TRUST ANYONE NOT TO FORWARD THAT ONE TOP SECRET TEXT MESSAGE? Probably not, so just avoid it altogether.
serafina67 *urgently requires life*, by Susie Day
Author Susie Day is seriously trying to get you to abandon social media, because having a secret blog is not so fun when it’s not so secret anymore. Especially if your parents are reading it (awkward.) So just remember that your dear old Mummy and Daddy are online, too, and if dealing with the social torpedoes that are their (mortifying) comments isn’t enough to keep you off Facebook, we don’t know what is.
What books make you fear the internet?