An article in the New York Times demonstrated from anecdotal evidence how many teens are indeed engaging in ‘normal’ teen behaviour – only through the internet. Keeping in touch with friends, maintaining romantic relationships, and looking for information (such as how to install a video card) are a few common examples of what teens typically do during long hours on the internet.
Personal computers and home internet use are quite prevalent today, especially among young people. There have been concerns about the well-being of our young children and teens because of this pervasiveness. Adult concerns are often related to unknowns of the internet and potential threats, such as adult predators, which give way to moral panics. There is an another worry which many adults fear, which is that constant use of the internet and social forms of technology are detrimental to reading, writing, and comprehension skills. In this day and age where use of computing is integral in essentially all types of work, youth are teaching themselves the technical skills that they will find useful later on in life. This is a new form of socialization that is occurring in a unique way because information is democratized and youth have much more influence in what they are exposed to. Socialization is the social process in which people are engaged in throughout experiences in their life, learning the patterns of their culture, including social norms and behaviours. This new way of socialization can link different cultures and generations from all over the world. Perhaps excessive amounts of internet use will facilitate a new generation, tolerant of different cultures in ways which can break down barriers.
Georgia Hall on Teens and Technology: Preparing for the Future