One problem with this can be that they may not always realise who their on-line audience is so trying to work toward appearing a certain way can be difficult. Boyd believed that these teenagers could create lasting ties to develop in to future relationships. She also found that these sites encouraged teenagers to find like minded people to converse with and improved communications skills. (Boyd,2008, Rheingold, 1993, Katz and Aspden)
Teenagers are finding their identity in the world, they are the “myspace generation” (Livingstone, 2008) the internet has allowed them to connect with people from all over the world but do they choose to do that? According to Haythornthwaite ( 2002) “despite the potential for global networking, most people’s contacts are local, with stronger ties centred on pre-existing study or work contexts”.
This appears to be the case with older teenagers , they seem to be on sites like facebook as a form of keeping in contact with the friends they already have rather than setting out to meet new people.
They enjoy sharing what they have done together off-line via uploading pictures and videos and leaving each other comments about events they had participated in, in a non virtual world. (Boyd, 2008, Livingstone,2008, Gross et al 2002)
Although Gross did find that due to the intimacy levels between two people whilst engaging in instant messaging some of the participants did feel a slight increase in day to anxiety and loneliness whilst in school.
They want to show how their peer group are together. They appear to use sites like Facebook as a way to fill the void between face-to-face conversations. This is what one of the young boys who was interviewed by Livingstone during the study said in regard to the matter.
“When we go out together, like they take photos on their phones and stuff and then they upload them on there … So everybody else can see what we’ve done and, like, see all of our friends and when we’re together and it’s just like remembering the time when we did it.
” (Livingstone, 2008)
They still turn to their family and friends in times of need or when something is bothering them and need to talk. Although it may help teenagers to keep in contact with their peers, the question of privacy and intimacy arises when we look in deeper.
According to Livingstones and Boyds research teenagers believe that they do not give that much information about themselves online but what they reveal on-line to millions is very different to what they would reveal to a stranger on the street.