The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Imagine a drug that made American teenagers think and talk more about the timeless concerns of adolescence: who’s cool, who’s cute and who’s going out with whom. Then imagine that millions of teens were taking this drug, every day.
Actually, you don’t have to. The drug already exists, and it’s called “MySpace.” There’s a competitor drug, too, known as “Facebook.” Between one-half and three-quarters of American teens already have a profile on an Internet social networking site, where they spend hours per week — nobody really knows how many — sharing pictures, gossip and jokes. And we should all be worried about that, although not for the reasons you might suspect.
That’s because the newspapers keep reminding us about “online predators” and other malfeasance on the Net, which makes us miss the digital forest for the trees. In this medium, the real danger doesn’t come from depraved adults. It’s much subtler than that, and it comes from teenagers themselves — specifically, from their insatiable desire to hang out with each other.
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