Christ / College / Culture / August 2, 2007

Teens and Social Networking

The Washington Post carried two stories (here and here) describing trends in social networking among teens. Here are some of the interesting stats:

  • 66% of teens who have profiles say their profile is not visible to all Internet users.
  • 46% of teens whose profiles can be accessed by anyone say they give false information on their profiles, sometimes to protect themselves.
  • 49% of social network users say they use the sites to make friends.
  • 23% of teens who have been contacted by a stranger online say they felt scared or uncomfortable because of the encounter. (That translates to 7 percent of all online teens.)

What teens post on their social networking profiles:

  • 82% include their first name.
  • 79% post photos of themselves.
  • 66% include photos of their friends.
  • 61% include the name of their city.
  • 49% include the name of their school.
  • 40% have included an instant-message screen name.
  • 40% stream audio to the profile.
  • 39% link to a blog.
  • 29% include an e-mail address.
  • 29% included their last name.
  • 29% post videos.
  • 2% include a cellphone number.

It seems to me that as the social networking phenomenon develops, users are maturing (if you can use the term ‘maturing’ for anything related to teens) in at least one sense — they are becoming more conscientious of the consequences of their online decisions. In other words, they are starting to realize that ‘those pictures’ may cost them ‘that internship’. And they are recognizing that it is unwise to make all of their personal info available to all people.

With that being said, the ongoing problem with social networking is that most people portray themselves as who they want to be rather than who they truly are. In the effort to market themselves, people try to reshape the reality of who they are by reinventing themselves online.

Yet, trying to cover up who we really are did not originate with Facebook or Myspace. It’s been going on since the first tailors sowed fig leaf garments to cover up their shame (Gen. 3:7). But a day is coming when the righteousness of those garments will be revealed for what they truly are — filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). A new day is dawning when these garments will be exchanged for those that are white as snow.

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Aug 03, 2007

Do you network socially?

Aug 03, 2007

Yes. In both the online world and the real world. If you didn’t know, so do you.

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