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Sixty-one percent of boys have more than one address – almost a quarter have four or more.Half of online girls (50%) have more than one screen name or email account and nearly one in five girls have more than four online identities.
“At one time, I had a friend online who I considered a better friend than anyone else in my life,” reported a 16-year-old boy in the Greenfield Online group discussion. Well, online, we have [the] mask of the computer screen.The oldest boys (15 to 17) are the most likely to have more than one address, with two-thirds reporting multiple addresses.The most active Internet users are the most likely of all to have multiple addresses.Some who say that use of the Internet takes time away from friends argue that this is balanced by the increased level of communication young people have with friends who live too far away for regular face-to-face meetings.“If the Internet did not exist at all, I would probably be out doing things with my friends or getting homework done,” maintained one girl, 17, in the Greenfield Online group discussion.“Unless you know the person really well, they’re just some anonymous typist hiding behind a funny screen name,” said one 17-year-old boy from Maryland in an email exchange with the Pew Internet Project.
“I don’t see people at school and think that’s somebody I know from AOL.Strengthens friendships About half of online teens (48%) believe that the Internet has improved their relationships with their friends.Frequent users of the Internet are more enthusiastic about the friendship-enhancing quality of the Internet – more than six in ten say that it helps “some” or “a lot.” But some teens, while they appreciate the ease of communication over the Internet and its ability to help them keep in touch with a larger group of people, also recognize that it may not be the best medium for starting or maintaining deeper relationships.Pat doesn’t worry about what you look like or what people say about you. Of course this could also be a bad thing, because it’s easy to manipulate someone online.But I choose to believe in the better of the two situations.” To others, appearance still matters a great deal.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.