Survey reveals teens’ experiences on social networking sites

Ninety-five percent of all teens ages 12-17 are now online, and 80 percent of online teens are users of social media sites.

As social media use has become pervasive in the lives of American teens, a new study finds that 69 percent of the teenagers who use social networking sites say their peers are mostly kind to one another on such sites. Still, 88 percent say they have witnessed people being mean or cruel to another person on the sites, and 15 percent say they have been the target of mean or cruel behavior themselves.

The findings are detailed in a new report called “Teens, Kindness and Cruelty on Social Network Sites: How American teens navigate the new world of ‘digital citizenship,’” from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project.

Adult social network users are less likely to say they witness or experience this type of behavior, but they still report that it is prevalent. In fact, 69 percent of the adults who use social networking sites say they have seen people be mean and cruel to others on those sites.…Read More

Pew study: The web is redefining our relationships, reputations

Most people agree that the internet has and will continue to be positive for social relations. But according to a survey by the Pew Research Center, it’s also presented many more challenges, and perhaps opportunities, for how reputations are made, tarnished, and remade, reports the Washington Post. In its annual future of social relations survey, the Pew Internet & American Life Project asked 895 experts how eMail, social networking sites, and video conferencing, among other applications, are redefining the way we think of relationships. “As information shrinks our world, it will become easier for one’s misdeeds to return to them or for outbursts of regrettable behavior to be reported and shared,” said Stuart Schechter, a researcher for Microsoft and former staff member of MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory. “For better or worse, technology makes the citizenry its own Big Brother. Some will welcome this as transparency; others will feel oppressed.” Privacy and security experts say users need to be as concerned about how their reputations online are being translated to peers and employers…

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Jump in U.S. college enrollment highest in 40 years

The nation’s colleges are attracting record numbers of new students as more Hispanics finish high school and young adults opt to pursue a higher education rather than languish in a weak job market, reports the Associated Press. A study released June 16 by the Pew Research Center highlights the growing diversity in higher education amid debate over the role of race in college admissions and controversy over Arizona’s new ban on ethnic studies in public schools. Newly released government figures show that freshman enrollment surged 6 percent in 2008 to a record 2.6 million, mostly owing to rising minority enrollment. That is the highest increase since 1968, during the height of the Vietnam War, when young adults who attended college could avoid the military draft. Almost three-quarters of the freshman increases in 2008 were minorities, of which the largest share was Hispanics. The enrollment increases were clustered mostly at community colleges, trade schools, and large public universities, which tend to have more open admissions policies and charge less tuition. Still, the gains in minorities were seen at almost all levels of higher education, with white enrollment dipping to 53 percent at community colleges and 62 percent at four-year colleges…

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Teens prefer texting vs. calling … except to parents

For teenagers, texting on mobile phones has dethroned actual voice calls when it comes to connecting with their friends, according to a new report released today by the Pew Research Center, Live Science reports. The report also shows that when teenagers do bother with an old-school phone call, it’s more often to contact their parents than their peers. This trend reflects a digital divide between generations of mobile phone users but also some psychological strategizing on the part of teens. Among its many advantages, teens interviewed as part of a focus group said texting is a quick way to say “hi,” report where they and their friends are and to get to the point. “Teens tell us how [texting is] more efficient, how they don’t have to go through the preamble and niceties [of a phone conversation],” said Amanda Lenhart, a co-author of the new study and a senior research specialist who directs the Pew Internet & American Life Project’s research on teens, children and families. But for socially nuanced situations when the inflection and expression of a voice takes precedence over the brevity of emoticons and crafty punctuation, phone calling is still preferred.

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