Close online relationships in a national sample of adolescents
This paper uses data from a national survey of adolescent Internet users (N = 1,501) to describe online relationships. Fourteen percent of the youths interviewed reported close online friendships during the past year, 7% reported face-to-face meetings with online friends, and 2% reported online romances. Two hundred forty-six youths provided details about one close online relationship. Most of these relationships were with same-age peers (70%) and crossed gender lines (71%). Many intersected with face-to-face social networks because they were initiated by introductions from friends or family (32%), involved people who lived in the vicinity (26%), were known to parents (74%), included offline contact by mail or telephone (70%), or involved face-to-face meetings (41%). Few youths reported bad experiences with online friends.
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Wolak, J., Mitchell, K.J., Finkelhor, D. Close online relationships in a national sample of adolescents. (2002) Adolescence, 37 (147), pp. X-455.