Parents need not worry if their teens are into social networking sites - they are savvy enough to minimize risks for themselves, according to a recent study.
Kerry Mallan, of Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and colleagues who interviewed 170 students, found that teens who spend time on social networking sites are savvier than thought.
"Often, young people are seen as vulnerable and naive and as having no resources to protect themselves when it comes to social networking sites," said Mallan, a professor.
"While I am in no way advocating that adults abdicate responsibility, we need to find out more about the knowledge young people bring to these sites and what measures they take to protect themselves."
"The popularity of MySpace is a clear indicator that young people see these social networking sites as having value, and much of this appeal lies in how these sites contribute to shaping identity and extending friendship networks" explained Mallan.
"They know to block people they do not know, they do not put addresses or phone numbers on there, and often will use photos of themselves in a group so that they do not stand out."
Mallan said she believed online friendships acted as an extension of 'real life' friendships, and allowed young people to express themselves in often different and creative ways, said a QUT release.
"For example, working adults feel reliant on their mobile phone and e-mail; some are hooked on their i-Phones, because it is important to their work and social and information networks."
"It is similar for young people, who are at a stage when exploring their identity, expressing themselves, and bonding with peers are so important," added Mallan.