Why and how do young people adopt and use information and communication technology? Based on social constructivist theory and empirical research we propose a model of ‘technology appropriation’. When young people are faced with a new technology we have observed three outcomes: non-appropriation, appropriation and disappropriation. How the technology is affected by, and in turn affects, young peoples’ identity, their experience of power and the degree of cohesion in their activities and relations with others appears to be critical in determining the appropriation outcome. The novelty of this work lies in ‘opening up’ the way that technology is shaped by users after development; in describing the process of appropriation and in examining some of the key influences upon young people’s appropriation of technology. This work contributes to a body of work that sees technology as socially constructed.