a year ago
It's that potentially awkward phase every one of us goes through, perhaps at this moment – our teens. Coinciding with the onset of puberty and the seismic changes which occur when we develop an interest in potential sexual partners, the teenage years can be fraught with uncertainty, but also a lot of excitement. Where more recent generations have definitely benefited in coping with social relationships has been ready access to the Internet, especially with the advent of the dating sites.
For many teenagers, stepping out into the world beyond school means exploring the possibilities of further education or employment. Sites such as LinkedIn are ideal in this respect, providing access to an extensive network of potential employers, or the ability to join a community tapping into information about universities and colleges. Like any other social arena, this is based on a combination of information and the fostering of relationships. This is all such a vast improvement to what was available to teenagers of previous generations.
One of the aspects of being a teenager which is often cited as being the most stressful is connecting with a love interest. While the modern age has broken down a lot of boundaries when it comes to sexuality and gender, there remain the age-old teenage dating barriers of natural shyness. Offering the ability to check out and then interact with other singles from the convenience of your own home, or indeed no matter where you happen to be – thanks to the prevalence of apps for mobile devices – Internet dating has revolutionized how single people can get-together. Chat rooms offer a relaxed environment allowing site users to build a rapport in a short period of time.
Sharing in entertainment
Another way in which the Internet can provide assistance to teenagers with their socializing is in creating shared leisure experiences. Gamers can not only immerse themselves in virtual worlds, but they can also cultivate a wide friendship circle as they compete communally. The same goes for appreciating music, where fans of a particular band or singer can get to know each other under the overarching umbrella of their mutual devotion.
With the democratization of music, sites such as SoundCloud offer tremendous opportunities for users who possess a creative spark to upload examples of their compositions. Their efforts can be listened to and rated, and a small but dedicated fanbase develops. While creating these tunes is a relatively solo process, the moment the finished product is released onto the Internet, a whole new community can develop.
This can stretch far beyond music, encompassing any hobby or passion, as those with a shared interest form discussion groups on forums or chat rooms. For any shy teenager, this can create a sense of belonging, and although there may be an extent of trolling going on in any part of the Internet, site administrators are there to be complained to whenever antisocial behavior is encountered.
Sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, and many more, are ideal for teenagers, providing a convenient and user-friendly platform where they can invite new friends into their circle, follow other site users, share photos and generally interact with the outside world. It's possible to develop considerable friendship groups, and while there will always be the argument this is far from the same as ‘real' friends, the Internet makes it possible to keep in touch with others far beyond your immediate geographical location. Teenagers can cultivate relationships with their peers in different
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