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

tioned by 11 percent.

But there was relatively little mention of "bad" behavior: just 8 percent said they had cut class, 6 percent said they had consumed alcohol, drugs, or cigarettes, and only 1 percent referred to engaging in sexual activity.

Instead, the bulk of teens used blogging to discuss positive events and behaviors central to teen living.

Video game playing was the prime topic for 65 percent of the teen bloggers, followed by TV-viewing (45 percent), homework (40 percent), after-school non-religious activities (38 percent), Web surfing (29 percent), and religious activities (22 percent).

The researchers did not explore whether or not the very public nature of this particular Web site -- which has relatively less restrictive access policies than sites such as Facebook -- influenced the positive nature of the observed teen content.

Parental supervision of the site -- self-described as "accessible to anyone, including people who are not registered Xanga users" -- was not assessed. Nor was the degree to which teen users might have engaged in self-censorship.

Nonetheless, Anderson-Butcher said the study demonstrates that the world of teen blogging is not the social threat some have suggested.

"Contrary to what many people might assume, the kids we looked at weren't describing problem behaviors very often or rambling on about negative interactions," she noted. "They were just talking about their day in ways that we might have talked about ours on the phone when we were kids."

One expert wasn't surprised by the findings.

"There only has to be a very, very few inappropriate uses of new media to grab our attention and get us to jump to the wrong conclusion that inappropriate behavior online is common," said Sam Gosling, a personality and social psychologist and professor in the department of psychology at the University of Texas, Austin. "But it's clear that what makes the lat
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