I’ve become comfortable with socializing both on-line and off and I’ve made a large number of friends by participating in small on-line communities.” Multiple identities: Experimentation and self-protection Fully 56% of online teens have more than one email address or screen name and most use different screen names or email addresses to compartmentalize different parts of their lives online, or so that they can experiment with different personas.
Relationships that once might have withered are now nourished by the ease and speed of instant message exchanges and email messages. Difficult conversations with friends are now mediated by the emotional distance the Internet provides.
Intimate conversations sometimes seem easier than those that take place face-to-face.
We don’t have to worry about what we look like or what other people think of us.
Imagine, for instance, meeting a teenager online named Pat. Pat knows what you are feeling and who you REALLY are, based on what you talk to Pat about.
“Unless you know the person really well, they’re just some anonymous typist hiding behind a funny screen name,” said one 17-year-old boy from Maryland in an email exchange with the Pew Internet Project.
“I don’t see people at school and think that’s somebody I know from AOL.I would not even recognize them and times that I do…it’s ‘Hey, there’s HAPPYKID113.’ The Internet has helped me socialize with more people, but at a very unpersonal level.” Time with friends: A modest impact America’s youth do not believe the Internet takes much time away from friendships.Some 61% of online youth say teens’ use of the Internet does little or nothing to detract from the time teens spend together, while only 10% say it takes away a lot of time they think young people would otherwise be enjoying in the company of their friends.“I’ve always been very shy in real life,” noted one boy, 16, in the Greenfield Online group.“I’m home-schooled, and have avoided most contact with children my own age.Strengthens friendships About half of online teens (48%) believe that the Internet has improved their relationships with their friends.