MySpace Fans, While Glib Online, Are Tongue-Tied Offline

by Tanya Thomas on Aug 12 2009 8:31 AM

Avid MySpace users, a new survey has shown, are a lot more comfortable talking about themselves online than in real life.

The new research conducted on British MySpace users aged 14 to 21 showed that 36 percent found it easier to talk about themselves online than in the real world.

They also thought their online friends knew more about them than their off-line ones.

Nearly three quarters (72 per cent) of youngsters said that they felt "left out", and that they did not fit into any particular social group.

And more than four-fifths (82 per cent) reported moving between four or more different groups of friends as they found it more and more difficult to be accepted.

Indicating how big an issue this difficulty in sustaining close real life friendships might be, 43 per cent of those questioned named having a good group of friends as the most important factor in their future happiness.

Money came way down the list of keys to future happiness, with family, health and friends all rated as more important.

"This study shows us to what extent young people are using online as a way to explore and settle into their burgeoning identities," the Telegraph quoted Rebekah Horne, MySpace Europe managing director, as saying.

But children's charity NSPCC cautioned against viewing the Internet as a safe haven, warning that young people could be vulnerable to bullying online.

"The technology has...brought (young people) new ways to make friends. But it is also open to misuse and children can be vulnerable to bullying and abuse through this medium," Phillip Noyes, Director of Public Policy at the NSPCC, added.