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.Boys more often than girls report having multiple email addresses or screen names.They believe it is easier to make contact with new people online than it is to make friends. He was a little too shy, a year younger than I and incessantly irritating.“One person I met [online] was about to move to our town, so he IM-ed me [sent an instant message],” said one 16-year-old boy in the Greenfield Online group discussion. I would prefer not to have a repeat.” A teen’s “true self” Some teens feel that Internet frees them to be more fully their true selves.“I continued to chat with these two girls for a long time,” says one boy, 15, in the Greenfield Online group.“Then when I met them…they did not look like what I expected. After meeting our online and offline friendships died off.” Research by Elisheva Gross of UCLA and others suggests that teens with strong social connections tend to look to email and instant messaging as a way to reinforce pre-existing bonds, while teens with smaller or less developed social networks look to the Internet to find new companions and social ties to fill-in for the ties they lack offline.Sixty-one percent of boys have more than one address – almost a quarter have four or more.
But I choose to believe in the better of the two situations.” To others, appearance still matters a great deal.Many American youth say that Internet communication, especially instant messaging, has become an essential feature of their social lives.For them, face-to-face interaction and some telephone conversations have been partially replaced with email and instant message communication.Teens say this can be very helpful, especially in otherwise awkward situations or at times when they are too shy to speak.
Conversely, relationships with friends and romantic partners are sometimes hurt or destroyed because of misunderstandings sparked by the very voiceless aspects of Internet communication that make it attractive to youth.
The oldest boys (15 to 17) are the most likely to have more than one address, with two-thirds reporting multiple addresses.