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03-Jan-2018 12:01

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Many of the girls we have interviewed have told us how their interests in the Internet grew from the Web sites which promote pop music and fashion — at the time of the study this particularly involved sites that promoted boy bands, many of which contain links that lead them into chatrooms and related sites.These chatroom sites provide opportunities to try on alternative ways of looking and being in interaction with others, who share similar interests and who appear to take you at ‘face value’; a face you can manipulate for effect without fear of detection.Many of the young people we spoke to said that they found this continual uncertainty exhilarating and very different from most of their day–to–day interactions with others (in ‘meat space’), in which role, status and rules constrain interaction within routine and highly predictable forms.Chatrooms provide more than a stage for trying on new selves; the setting itself can become hyper–real, as all those who participate in it interact in the knowledge that ‘no–one is quite who they say they are’.Some of the practices adopted by these young people are surprising and counter to the conventional advice given by official authorities.The Internet — both a public good and a danger to children Experiments with identity Advancing the argument through case study Katerina’s story Rania’s story Stefanos’ story Dimitra’s story Fivos’ story Mary’s (Dafni’s mother) story Discussion The Internet and the young Drugs and technology Harm minimisation and Internet safety?

There is a shiny side, celebrated in numerous government policies and programs, which holds out the promise of a new economy based on access to unlimited information, new and exciting curricula and schooling that will engage children and young people in purposeful and useful activity.Our interviews suggest that part of the appeal of chatrooms for the young lies in the opportunities that they provide to experiment with extended or alternative identities.