I was a teenager before...and I also one of those who get excited learning about the new technology such as e-mail and instant messenger . I must admit, back in my teen years, instant messenger was my second choice of communication medium after the cell phone. Why you may ask? It’s faster connectivity, less cost, friendly user and many more benefits. One of the popular instant messenger is Yahoo Messenger (YM).
Lindy Keffer in her article Right Now: Teens and Instant Messenger, highlight about teenagers and instant messenger nowadays. In the article, Lindy mentioned that percentage of teens using the technology is 20% more than adults did. According to her, instant messenger are the communication using two free software that allow two internet users to exchanged typed messages in factually. We can say that YM are more alike texting. The difference is YM using computer and internet as the technology and texting or SMS using cell phone as the technology.
Social interaction has changed its way. Teens have more option in communicating with others. The instant messenging has been the better alternative to e-mail as it faster connectivity with others. Teenagers are tend to treat cyberspace as a social place for meeting others and interacting with people (O’Brien, 2010). Why would teenagers prefer to interacting through cyberspace, you may ask. I did a little reading on Jodi O’Brien 2010 book and find the reason.
The first one would be that teenagers are the category that full of curiosity. They are at their transaction from childhood to adulthood. They are eager to find out more about new things. Cyberspace offer them the need to feed the curiosity. They are tend to find the needs somewhere outside their home. However, due to some obstacle such as parent permission, they cannot leave home. Therefore, cyberspace would be the choice to learn about the new things.
Second, teenagers perceive the cyberspace as a safer place to find and meet new friend. They have the curiosity to meet new people and learn new things from them. However, the insecurity lead them to fear. They are insecure on how they looks like and how others will judge them. They are also feel embarrassed meeting a stranger face to face. In Lindy Keffer’s article, 43% of the teenagers use instant messenger to avoid awkward face to face conversation.
The third reason are the teenagers are looking for’ soulmate’. Having conversation online can make them easily related. We often hear that someone describe their new online friend as their best friend, even better than friends they have know quite sometimes.
The instant messenging make the teenagers easily ‘connect’ to the world. Without leaving home, they are able to feed their curiosity and learn new things and meet new people. Parents should aware of how their teenagers child use the technology. Keffer try to emphasis on how the teenagers can relate to the instant messengers nowadays.
O'Brien, J. (2010). The Production of Reality: Essay and Readings on Social Interaction. United States: Pine Forge Press.