UK Social Networking: Making friends online is good.

Ninety percent of British youth have access to a computer at home, and more than 60% of UK 13-to17-year-olds have profiles on social-networking sites, The Telegraph reports in its thorough, thoughtful article, “Can u speak teenager?” Like the New York magazine piece I linked to last week, this one reflects some interesting analysis occurring about how all this online socializing is affecting growing up now – and how it compares to the way we grew up. For example, we maybe had a few really close friends with whom we shared “everything.” The average teen now has 75 friends rather than 5, London School of Economics Prof. Sonia Livingston told The Telegraph. Today’s youth are connected to a whole community of peers. Closeness, intimacy, the sharing of secrets is distributed rather than individual and private. This gives new meaning to “strength in numbers.” And there is a “culture of openness” now that Dr. Arthur Cassidy, a psychologist at the Belfast Institute, told The Telegraph can be “particularly therapeutic for teenage boys.

BlogSafety Community: ‘Distributed friendship’ …

So… will social communities like myspace/bebo/facebook/friendster become networks like MTV, Cartoon Network, Fox, etc? Strong outlets in a pop-culture filled diet? Pillars in society?

Is it possible for this social networking/online community era to outlast the terms of “fad” & “trend”? Can they stay edgy? Young? Interesting? Social?! Perhaps the aesthetic quality of the sites and the currant web-tools will be the trends/fads, and their networking/simple social core will last decades?

Time will tell. What do you think?

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  1. March 29, 2007 at 10:14 pm

    Very cool argument. What happens when few years later the tweens become older? Is there a progression of the channels. My kids used to spend more of their time on PBSkids and now are onto Nick.

    Very facinating. Thanks for sharing.

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