Despite the fact that for the majority of these adolescents the main social networking sites which provide opportunity to meet people remain the likes of Facebook, My Space, Twitter and Instagram, there is a small emergence of teens, as young as 13, who are now adding hook up, chat rooms, and dating sites to those that they visit.My LOL is one such online dating site that is marketed as “Google’s Number One Dating Site for Teens”, with a minimum age requirement of 14, whilst another is Teenspot, which offers chat rooms for its members entitled “singles”, “flirting” and “hottub”.
Whilst the main reasons for internet use were the same across all age groups, it was quite apparent that the use of social networking remained as one of the top motives for young adolescents to be on the computer, with the breakdown of figures reflecting a 69 percent usage amongst the 12 -13 year olds, an 86 percent usage amongst the 14-15 year olds and a 92 percent usage amongst the 16-17 year olds.
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It’s no secret that teenagers are keen and able users of the internet, and with the continued growth and ever evolving trends in social media and social networking it looks like things are not set to change anytime in the near future.
An article published last year in American magazine, Seventeen, whose target audience is females aged 12-19, appeared to put the idea out there that online dating sites may be the way forward, with the writer of the article (a college aged blogger) enthusiastically regaling the story of how her friend had become engaged six months after meeting her partner on line.
Rachel Hynes, mum to a teenager and publisher of the website for parents of teens The Kids are All Right, believes that at the present time social networking sites remain the way in which most teenagers are meeting people and describes these connections, rather aptly, as the equivalent of modern day pen friends.