On Formspring, an e-Vite to teenage insults

It’s the online version of the bathroom wall in school, the place to scrawl raw, anonymous gossip, reports the New York Times: Formspring.me, a relatively new social networking site, has become a magnet for comments, many of them nasty and sexual, among the Facebook generation. While Formspring is still under the radar of many parents and guidance counselors, over the last two months it has become an obsession for thousands of teenagers nationwide. By setting up a free Formspring account and linking it to their Tumblr or Twitter or Facebook accounts, young people invite their hundreds of online friends to ask questions or post comments, without having to identify themselves. In part, Formspring is just the latest place to hang out and exchange gossip, as teenagers have always done. But because of the anonymity, the banter is unvarnished. Comments and questions go into a private mailbox, where the user can ignore, delete, or answer them. Only the answered ones are posted publicly—leading parents and guidance counselors to wonder why so many young people make public so many nasty comments about their looks, friends, and sexual habits…

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