I suddenly feel out of place, as if I'm wearing a thick turtleneck at a summer rave. Different fonts, different colors, the words whiz by, everyone's screen name sounding vaguely pornographic. In any given week, according to Teenage Research Unlimited, nearly 70 percent of all to year-olds yokng on line. I went undercover as a cyberteen to find out.
If people are bored, they'll check out just about anything. Another girl, 17, asks, "Are your parents cool with it?
This is where you can post a message that either attracts a response or goes completely unheeded. I chat with a Croatian teen-ager about obscure Scandinavian death-metal bands. I say no, but agree to send him a kiss, which I do.
He tells roo, he is 16, from Honolulu, but wants to get out of there soon to come to the continental U. I never hear from Brian again.
I've been on line, off and on, for months trying to determine if there is such a thing as a cyberself and, if so, what goes into the making of this most modern of personality constructs. You can take your old self, or don a fresh one, and hang out in a group of jocks for a postgame chat, argue the banality of Britney Spears with an international posse of pop connoisseurs, post a note to a youhg guy from Detroit -- all without ever having to leave your bedroom.
Ylung tell him I have a boyfriend and say, "my boyfriend n i are planning 2 b 2gether 4 ever," and after I log off I begin to wonder if "Brian" isn't actually some year-old boy living two floors above me. Even though this is an experiment, and even though he says he's "crazy 4 older women" this time I've said I'm 18it still feels weird.
Maybe this is the Internet's greatest asset to teendom: access, and the confidence to slip in and out of personalities, the ability to try on identities, the adolescent equivalent of playing dress-up in the attic, standing before the mirror in heels and lipstick long before you own your own. Once a generation saw itself grow up on TV; now a generation is watching itself grow up on line.
As the psychoanalyst Erik Erikson contended, adolescence is a period "during which the individual through free role experimentation may find a niche in some section of his society, a niche which is firmly defined and yet seems to be uniquely made for him. Are they surfing the waves together off Waikiki?
Dan Pelson, co-founder of the site, is right -- if being on AOL fr like driving your father's Oldsmobile on the Interstate, being on Bolt. Teen-age years -- at least in my memory -- are reserved largely for trying out different personas.
Some Ways 2 Chat on the Web Four sites that offer u chat technology:. For all the crowds and clamoring, there's not much being said in this chat room, cchat rather, not much that's being paid attention to. This kind of access is new to me. I write something like "peck.
He says he is This feels a little too real. The randomness makes me dizzy.
I choose "camarules" as my screen name, ditching my letter-digit combo. I log on to the friendly blue-and-orange homewith features and bulletins, a quote of the day and a daily poll: "Would you date someone of different ethnicity? I struggle to remember their big hit but realize I'm dating myself in doing so.
I spend a lot of time cruising E-zine sites for teen-agers and connecting to the ever-multiplying of hyperlinks a lot of the Web s offer. We are engaged on the issue and committed to looking at options that support our full range of digital offerings to the EU market. August The measure of a successful site, an Internet entrepreneur tells me, is fkr "stickiness.
He actually sounds serious! I have to think to remember "girl" not "woman. The success of a message depends on a lot of factors: the catchiness of the subject line, the popularity of the board and, most important, the general level of boredom of those on line.
March I'm on line as Red, a cumbersome screen name that I believe, young, sounds teen-age blunt and allows me gender flexibility. For all the identity shifting that occurs on chat, teen-agers tend to talk in a uniform way that leaves me scrambling. In fact, I really haven't said much beyond commiserating with the pregnant girl, telling her that when my sister was pregnant she for cocoa butter helpful, that it helped her adult feel "not as stretchy.
The Internet has shaped them -- room as television shaped their parents, and cuat their grandparents. Someone new has just entered the room, yoing for love.