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Исследовательская работа: 
Проект "The role of virtual social networks in life of modern teenagers"

2.2. The positive aspects and motives of using virtual social networks by teenagers

The use of the Internet has many positive aspects: it makes possible communication between people in social networks, search for necessary information, access to online public services, Internet shopping, computer games. The Internet has expanded opportunities for citizens who want to improve their educational level.

Benefits that contribute to the popularity of social networking sites:

  1. Communication: anyone online has the possibility to express their opinions, find like-minded people. Communication via the Internet helps to increase their self-confidence.
  2. New friends: Many people nowadays get acquainted via the Internet, this is one of the fastest ways to find new friends.
  3. Leisure activities: Social networks offer us a variety of entertaining games and interesting information, the latest news.
  4. Education and self-education: When reading the news, you can see different tips, from which you can learn something new and try to apply the tips in your daily life. Also, many homework assignments for students are related to information search in the Internet and some of the works should be done electronically: reports, presentations, essays. The Internet is an indispensible tool for these assignments.

    Do not forget that in our society there are adolescents with various serious diseases. The social circle for such children is very limited, especially when they are unable to leave home and have to learn at home. Therefore, the computer can be their only means of communication, source of information, the only entertainment and exercise.

  5. New opportunities. With the help of social networkspeople can make money – if a person has a large number of subscribers, big companies pay him for advertising their products on his homepage. We cannot exclude the possibility of contacts with famous people.

In order to determine the motives for the use of virtual social networks of teenagers I conducted an anonymous survey among 82 students of sixth and seventh grades in several schools in Mytischi.

Teenagers were asked to answer the question: "What in your opinion is the reason for the popularity of social networks?" The students were asked to choose one of the several possible answers. The results of the study are reflected in Table 1.

According to the information received from the survey, the leading motive of using social networks by teenagers is communication, this answer was given by two-thirds of the respondents (77%).

Second place went to a cognitive motive – almost half of the respondents (45%) want to be informed of events in the life of their friends and they value quick search for information of their interest.

The third most important motive was the desire to belong to a group (42 percent); it represents one of the key needs of teenagers: to be included into a group with common interests.

Fourth and fifth places are shared by motives of rest and freedom from control of adults, and the motive of self-affirmation. So 39% of respondents agree with the statement that “a social network is a place free from the control of adults”.

The same number of teenagers (39%) noted that in social networks they can do things which are unacceptable in real life (to express a negative opinion, to mock someone) and remain unpunished.

Also important (35%) is the motive of self-realization. Students say that in social networks it is easier to express their opinion about anything than in the real life.

A quarter of adolescents (26%) indicated the playing motive "in social networks you can be anyone". Communication in the Internet allows you to become the person people want to be. This result confirms that many adolescents are attracted to social networks because of the possibility for anonymity.

Despite the fact that it is sometimes possible to obtain some personal information and even a picture of the interlocutor, they are insufficient for a real and adequate perception of the individual (they can become fictitious characters, create an illusion).

Finally, a quarter of respondents (23%) said that communication in social networks is an established norm of behavior.

So, the Internet gives teens the freedom of speech, anonymity, the opportunity to increase their own self importance and self-confidence. Thanks to social networking, the teenager who wants to separate from parental care,looks for a group where he could prove himself as an adult.

On the other hand, social media has given teens the ability to hone different skills that are important in the real world. Young people are increasingly able to interact more freely and easily in different online social environments, much like they will later on in life in the workplace.

This is a result of the endless exposure they get from being online and talking to different people, some of whom are their potential employers. Young people acquire skills that enable them evaluate and interpret different situations contextually and prepare themselves mentally for situations later on.

Social is also convenient for teenagers because the contacts are voluntary and aspirational, the teenager voluntarily tying contacts or leaving them and can interrupt them at any moment.

Перейти к разделу: 2.3. Negative aspects of virtual social networks