Blogging is a Way of Life for Teens
Posted on November 1, 2005Many of today's teenagers are not afraid to openly post and discuss every aspect of their lives. They write candid posts about their personal lives, provide photos and fearlessly share their emotions. USA Today does a good job of explaining how teens are taking advantage of new publishing tools, like blogs and social networks, in an article called "Teens wear their hearts on their blog".
Teens complain about parents and homework, using language that would make Tony Soprano blush. They share daily dramas, post songs from the latest bands, display pictures of themselves, sometimes wearing next to nothing or taking bong hits. They write angst-ridden poetry, detail supposed sexual exploits and complain about each other or offer support. But mostly they simply relay the details of their daily lives.While the FBI thinks blogs can be dangerous some teens think they are not as dangerous as chat rooms according to an article in the Union Leader.
Teens are ecstatic, hooked and hopeful about the medium. Law enforcement officials are wary. There have been cases where predators have found kids who posted too much information about themselves. And parents -- those who actually know what their kids are doing online -- are "freaked," says Parry Aftab, executive director of online child safety site WiredSafety.
"Parents look at this and see the kids are talking about how they got drunk last weekend, how they had sex last weekend, and using language that's unbelievable."
Besides hearing from their friends, teen bloggers also tell of receiving "creepy" solicitations from strangers. Most of the time, it's older men asking to meet teenage girls, according to New Hampshire bloggers.The main argument from the FBI agent was the blogs increase your exposure to dangerous people and the above paragraphs seem to back up this assertion. Some teens are aware that there is a risk involved.
"They'll just try to chat to you and talk to you. You can tell from their user pictures they're older men," said Cara Cabral, a 17-year-old Manchester Memorial High School student. "They're just real creepy. You'll find that the strangest people will want to be your friend on myspace.com," which is a popular teen blogging Web site.
Teens agreed, saying they know there are dangerous people on the Internet, as well as in the real world.Many teens and young adult are aware of the risk of using blogs and social networking services. They know they are putting information about themselves in a medium that can be viewed by anyone. But teens are unlikely to abandon these new communication tools that have become a way of life for many of them.
Angel Drouin, 17, a junior at Manchester Memorial High School, says she is up to date on how to protect herself: "I watch Oprah. I know what happens."