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Are teens using social networking to their advantage?

Narrator:       This is Science Today. How teens interact on social networking sites has been getting lots of press these days — including reports about the high incidence of texting while driving, cyber-bullying and now debate about whether or not preteens should have Facebook accounts. Researchers at the University of California, Irvine, recently teamed up with UCLA's Children's Digital Media Center to determine what developmental processes and needs kids have and how social networking sites serve them.

Reich:            So we're less focused on the platform that's being used, but why it's being used and why children are using it the way that they are.

Narrator:       Study leader Stephanie Reich of UC Irvine says their study found that teens using social network sites were actually building upon an important developmental need to connect with their peers — most of whom they have offline friendships with.

Reich:            In our data, we didn't find any evidence of risky behaviors of disclosing personal information, of seeking out strangers and so what we really see are teens have multi-faceted relationships and they use different platforms to connect socially to different people in different ways.

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