Saturday, November 5, 2011

Children's Digital Media Center: Teens and the Internet

By Yalda T. Uhls |Patricia M. Greenfield
Children's Digital Media Center Los Angeles
At the Children's Digital Media Center in Los Angeles, we have spent the last eight years exploring life on line and the developmental implications for both adolescents and emerging adults. From the early days of chat rooms to today's pervasive use of social networking sites such as MySpace or Facebook, we have seen digital media grow and change at a rapid pace to the point where adolescents are living a large part of their life electronically - especially online. In this article, we will describe how young people use the Internet, with a focus on social network sites; discuss our assessment of risks and benefits; and provide some ideas for parents.
Research shows that adolescents use a variety of Internet applications to connect with their peers and to explore adolescent concerns such as identity and sexuality, all issues that teenagers grapple with off-line (1, 2, 3).   A 2008 report by the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that 93% of teenagers go on-line and 65% use a social networking site.

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