Teens and Social Networks

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Sobering reality of the challenges of parenting:

Researchers continue to document just how deeply social networking Web sites have impacted American youth culture. The latest assessment from the Pew Internet and American Life Project finds that 55% of all American adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 have a profile on MySpace, Facebook, Xanga or another similar site.

For 15- to 17-year-old girls, that figure rises to 70%, compared to 54% of boys in the same age group. Of those, most teens use these sites to stay in touch with nearby friends (91%) or those whom they don’t often see in person (82%). A strong majority (72%) utilize them to make social plans, while just under half (49%) report meeting new friends as a main motivation.

MySpace easily outdistances its competitors as the most popular social networking destination, attracting 85% of those teens who’ve created a personal profile. It’s followed in popularity by Facebook (7%) and Xanga (1%). Other sites, such as Yahoo, Piczo, Gaia Online and Tagged, each garner less than 1% of the remaining social networking pie.

[pewresearch.org, 1/7/07; publications.mediapost.com, 1/8/07 stats]

I’m waiting for the fad to fade, and see what’s left behind. There is great value in this technology, and helping teens find their next date is not one of the life-changing uses for tagging, RSS, and social networking.

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