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Insight into teens online and offline worlds


Narrator:      
This is Science Today. Researchers at the University of California, Irvine, and UCLA have collaborated on a study that sheds more light on the online world of adolescents. Study leader Stephanie Reich, of UCI, says contrary to popular belief about risky behavior on social networking sites, teens are using the popular medium to literally socialize with their peers.

Reich:            It's highly prevalent that teens use social media for beneficial things and for developmental needs that they're grappling with. And for us, we were really interested in social connections and intimacy and how teens might be using this very popular social space to address those needs.

Narrator:       Reich says one surprising finding was they did not find a very high overlap between teens' online and offline worlds.

Reich:            We asked them to name the 10 people they interacted with most in instant messaging and the 10 people they interacted most with social networking sites. What we thought we would then see is a really high overlap - maybe it would be the same 10 across all three - and what we found was it wasn't. When we look at the whole friend network on Facebook or MySpace, they knew all of them from face-to-face contacts for the most part.

Narrator:       For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.