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Friday, October 08, 2004

The IM life of middle-schoolers: A school's role

Of course, young Net users will tell you that their social scene is not limited to instant-messaging via AIM, Yahoo, MSN, or ICQ. Depending on their social network, it's also at,,,, the angrier, etc. Besides IM, MySpace is the online hangout of choice at Amanda's school, an independent middle school in Salt Lake City (which she asked not to be named); at Evergreen High School in San Jose, Calif., it's Xanga (see my 7/16 issue). Cell phones play a role too, and occasionally email. It's all very fluid.

So naturally what goes on in this online space spills over into school, "in the sense that they have to show up and sit next to one another the next day and they have to make eye contact and interact with each other," said Amanda, a kind, youthful, tech-literate, very professional school counselor. "Sometimes I'll sit the whole buddy list down" to work through one of the social emergencies she described for Part 1 of this series) but asked not to be detailed in order to protect counselor-student confidences. Please click here for more on how one school handles students' online social emergencies.


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