Teens and the Web World
Here are some average times spent on social networking sites in the past few years:
- In October 2002 the typical Xanga user spent an average of 1 hour 39 minutes a month on the site.
- In October 2003, Friendster users spent an average of 1 hour and 51 minutes on the site which increased to 3 hours and 3 minutes in February 2006.
- In October 2005 MySpace users averaged 2 hours 25 minutes.
- In September 2006 Facebook users spent an average of 1 hour and 9 minutes on the site.
What are teens doing on these sites? They are posting on blogs (like their parent's diary), looking for their friend's profiles, looking at photos, leaving comments, and finding friendship and romance. There is a whole new type of peer drama associated with these social spaces. Friends are hurt by what is said, being excluded, or just not being "cool" enough to rank as top friends.
Apart from the drama and social chaos caused by the communication on these sites, teens are also victimized by predators pretending to be peers and raking in personal information posted by teens for their friends. Add these social threats to the inactivity associated with hours spent online, and the prognosis is not good. I hate to sound like an old fogey, but we need to make sure our preteens are well-versed in web safety, get our teens off these sites unless they can block strangers, and get them interacting with people in the community and making friends the old-fashoned way. Their health and safety may be at risk!
Photo credit: lorri37