Adolescent Weblog Use: Risky or Protective?
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Weblogs, or personal websites updated in time-based fashions, are common media used for expressing thoughts and networking socially online (Lenhart et al. in Teens and social media, Pew Internet and American Life Project, Washington, DC, 2007). This qualitative study describes the content of 100 adolescent weblog users’ communications through a risk and resilience framework. These users primarily utilized weblogs for community building, as most of their postings involved communications designed to foster and nurture relationships with peers via the weblog. The majority of the content posted involved the discussion of common prosocial behaviors, such as doing homework, hanging out with friends, or planning for events such as dances. A surprisingly small amount of weblog content included text about risk factors and related problem behaviors. Findings are described in relation to adolescent use of the Internet. Specific implications are drawn for social workers and other professionals involved in youth work.