A number of people linked to this article – unhelpfully titled Facebook, MySpace put teens at risk of suicide: church when it came out earlier in the week, immediately dismissing it as a lack of understanding of the technology.
But most would remember the story of Megan Meier , who committed suicide after being dumped by an online boyfriend (who turned out to be the mother of one of her classmates). A google search on teen commits suicide over online bullying shows that teenagers are increasingly finding the online space as being one with new challenges, and one where schools have less ability to intervene. This is even happening in Australia.
Social networking sites can indeed encourage an attitude towards relationships where quantity is more important than quality – who hasn’t looked at the number of facebook friends, twitter followers, even linkedin contacts, and made an impression of a person.
If teens (and even younger kids) are integrating these tools into their lives, without having the years of experience in “real life” friendship, is it so unreasonable to think that there might be some risks that adults have yet to think through?