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Most Teen Bloggers Play It Safe Online
Date:4/16/2010

Study finds vast majority of chat sticks to everyday concerns, not risky behaviors

FRIDAY, April 16 (HealthDay News) -- Parents have little to fear when their teens turn to blogging, new research suggests.

In fact, most adolescents blog to maintain friendships and engage in positive discussions of everyday teenage life.

The finding, based on a month-long review of teen content on a popular blogging Web site, may help relieve parental concerns that teens are hopping online to participate in violent, drug-laced or sexual discourse.

"There's a lot of hype about the use of online technology and the abuse of it, but here we found that it seems that it's just another example of typical adolescent behavior," said study author Dawn Anderson-Butcher, an independent social worker and associate professor in the college of social work at Ohio State University in Columbus.

Anderson-Butcher and her colleagues reported their findings recently in the Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal.

To explore the world of teen blogging, in 2007 the authors analyzed an entire month's worth of quotable content posted by 100 American teens from across the country (aged 13 to 18) on the Xanga.com social networking Web site (pronounced "Zanga").

The goal: to count up how many times teens remarked on so-called "good" or "bad" behaviors.

About three-quarters of the teens were female, and teen usage was uneven, with some teens adding posts daily while others threw in their two cents just once or twice a month.

Teens did engage in some degree of complaining and expression of negative feelings. Sixty-five percent blogged about being bored, while others discussed feeling blue (30 percent), feeling angry (28 percent), and/or feeling like they didn't fit in (22 percent). The age-old reluctance to do homework was a subject raised by 16 percent of the teens, while concern about bad grades was men
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