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Monday, October 11, 2004

'Teens on screens'

Sixteen-year-old Cassie Leap hated "these stupid online journal things" when she first started blogging two years ago, the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times reports. But for some reason she stuck with it. Because research data is scarce, I link you to every article I run into on kids' cybersocializing because each offers insights, true stories, and at least anecdotal evidence of a scene still very unfamiliar to parents. One bit of data I wish we had is on whether teenagers are aware of the safeguards available to them in most blogging communities. Most of them - LiveJournal, Blurty, Xanga, etc. - are public, but bloggers don't have to use their real name (most do use screennames instead, I suspect), and usually they can create a password that peers have to know in order to read their journal and/or post comments. Of course, some teens probably establish passwords more so their *parents* can't read the journal, but that's better than everybody in the surfing public being able to read their closely held secrets. "Cassie's parents know their daughter spends $25 a year for a page hosted by," the Times says. "But she rarely shows it to them. It's for her and her friends, she says, like a phone call or an Instant Message." Do they go there every now and then? Yes. Her dad said he looks in on the online part of Cassie's life every now and then.


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