here are a few links about young people and online netowrking:
Taken Out of Context: American Teen Sociality in Networked Publics (pdf)
this is a PhD thesis from dana boyd - source
Abstract: As social network sites like MySpace and Facebook emerged,
American teenagers began adopting them as spaces to mark identity and
socialize with peers. Teens leveraged these sites for a wide array of
everyday social practices - gossiping, flirting, joking around, sharing
information, and simply hanging out. While social network sites were
predominantly used by teens as a peer-based social outlet, the
unchartered nature of these sites generated fear among adults. This
dissertation documents my 2.5-year ethnographic study of American
teens' engagement with social network sites and the ways in which their
participation supported and complicated three practices -
self-presentation, peer sociality, and negotiating adult society.
My analysis centers on how social network sites can be understood
as networked publics which are simultaneously (1) the space constructed
through networked technologies and (2) the imagined community that
emerges as a result of the intersection of people, technology, and
practice. Networked publics support many of the same practices as
unmediated publics, but their structural differences often inflect
practices in unique ways. Four properties - persistence, searchability,
replicability, and scalability - and three dynamics - invisible
audiences, collapsed contexts, and the blurring of public and private -
are examined and woven throughout the discussion.
While teenagers primarily leverage social network sites to engage
in common practices, the properties of these sites configured their
practices and teens were forced to contend with the resultant dynamics.
Often, in doing so, they reworked the technology for their purposes. As
teenagers learned to navigate social network sites, they developed
potent strategies for managing the complexities of and social
awkwardness incurred by these sites. Their strategies reveal how new
forms of social media are incorporated into everyday life, complicating
some practices and reinforcing others. New technologies reshape public
life, but teens' engagement also reconfigures the technology itself.
Also a report on different age groups and social networking here.
I'll look forward to having a read. the four internet users in our house are all facebook friends, and I'm having the odd experience of finding out what my kids are doing, thinking and feeling in their bedrooms via facebook under the same roof!