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Some of the practices adopted by these young people are surprising and counter to the conventional advice given by official authorities.The Internet — both a public good and a danger to children Experiments with identity Advancing the argument through case study Katerina’s story Rania’s story Stefanos’ story Dimitra’s story Fivos’ story Mary’s (Dafni’s mother) story Discussion The Internet and the young Drugs and technology Harm minimisation and Internet safety?Webcams vary from rather static landscape views (our university has one which is pointed at the sky for weather enthusiasts) to sites apparently managed by young girls who adopt provocative poses and post lists of presents they would like to receive.The trend seems to be increasingly for such sites to become participative and interactive, Anyone can keep a Weblog—and anyone can read it and respond.One that has become popular in the last few years is ‘blogging’, the keeping of diaries, journals and log books on line (hence ‘webblogs’) and sometimes linked to Web cams, which link video surveillance to a personal Web site.‘Blogging’ has some of the appeal of soap opera, as vernacular ‘stars’ arise, who keep journals which detail their personal lives, or more insidiously in some of the blogs found on sites that celebrate anorexia.On the Internet, you are not restricted to trying on clothes, but can try on different names, origins, life histories, attitudes and opinions, different ways of relating to others, different ages and genders.
Such conversations in the dark allow us to be reaffirmed in the images we have of ourselves rather than being constrained by our consciousness of all the shortcomings that others might see in us.
Many of the girls we have interviewed have told us how their interests in the Internet grew from the Web sites which promote pop music and fashion — at the time of the study this particularly involved sites that promoted boy bands, many of which contain links that lead them into chatrooms and related sites.
These chatroom sites provide opportunities to try on alternative ways of looking and being in interaction with others, who share similar interests and who appear to take you at ‘face value’; a face you can manipulate for effect without fear of detection.
Here, using a small set of these interviews, which were made with students in a tutorial centre in Athens , we will describe how some young people use the Internet to make relationships with others, and particularly how young women and men use the net to meet and talk to one another.
As a place to meet and talk with strangers, one of the appeals of cyberspace lies in its visual silence.