My shortest book review ever on American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers by Nancy Jo Sales

Do you always read a book with a smartphone by your side? I remember a time not too long ago when I would read a book and perhaps have a highlighter next to it to capture an important passage. Nowadays I often check my phone for any alerts on Social Media as a break from reading. The author of American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers by Nancy Jo Sales started her book with a similar insight into her current reading habits. (I was not paid to write about this book). Read more below about other trends affecting young adults and teenagers.

I found out about her book because I was researching about Teenagers and their hidden Social Media (Ghost or Vault) Apps for a speaking engagement.

American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers by Nancy Jo Sales

American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers by Nancy Jo Sales

I figured I owed it to myself as a mother (first) and a Marketer (a Social Media Consultant) to learn about this topic further even after I presented.  Here are a few quotes from the book that haunted me as I would spend my nights reading it and reconsider home schooling my daughters:

  • For Moms: “Seven percent of Tinder’s {dating, a “hookup” app} estimated 50 million users are between the ages of thirteen and seventeen.
  • “Seventy-three percent of kids have smartphones. Teenagers spend up to eleven hours a day plugged into an electronic device.”
  • “Kids begin seeing online porn as young as age six”
  • “It’s rare for a woman of our generation to meet a man who treats her like a priority instead of an option” quoted a young woman to the author.
  • “…social media makes girls more needy” quote from another girl.
  • For Marketers: “For kids today, you are what you like…the more active users are {on Social Media}, the more data about them social media companies can collect, and the higher they are valued, as they can then sell the data to other companies...that’s why companies need kids to stay online, clicking and liking and tweeting”

The author visited and interviewed teenage girls all over the country, of all societal classes, and dedicated each chapter to different ages. Stories of girls ages thirteen to nineteen. I often felt sad, heartbroken, and disappointed as I would read about the stories of young girls who experienced cyberbullying from anonymous users on apps. Or the girls who experienced sexual harassment by boys even while delivering “a presentation in school as her classmates flashed pornography at her.” Ironically, these girls don’t realize it is harassment because it has become the norm. Speaking of norm, boys requesting nudes from girls as if they were asking for the time, boys sending pictures of their d*ck to the girls sometimes without their consent at such a young age. The author reflected: “imagine getting a d*ck pic from a boy, maybe before you’ve ever held a boy’s hand.”

I could keep going on but I really want to move on from this book and use that insight for marketing purposes. Again, I’m heartbroken from the stories I’ve read of how students have only been on one date in college or really don’t date much at all.

I’ll end with this quote from another author referenced in the book, reflecting on how things have changed since his high school days,

“If a girl went around passing out naked pictures of herself, people would have would have thought she needed therapy. Now, that’s just Selfie Sunday.”


When I’m not blogging about books related to Social media, I spend most of my working hours personally managing social media for my clients, or teach their employees/staff optimization strategies. I also offer one-on-one training for professionals who call themselves “dinosaurs” to stay up-to-date in their careers. 

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