Teens' Blogging Shows Little Risky Behavior
Jim LiebeltJim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University. Jim has over 25 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, and has been on the HomeWord staff since 1998. He has served over the years as a pastor, author, youth ministry trainer, adjunct college instructor and speaker. Jim’s culture blog and parenting articles appear on HomeWord.com. Jim is a contributing author of culture and parenting articles to Crosswalk.com. Jim and his wife Jenny live in Olympia, WA.
- 2010 Mar 25
The research has appeared in the current issue of the Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal.
According to Dawn Anderson-Butcher, associate professor of social work at Ohio State, the findings suggests that blogging could be used therapeutically to help troubled teens express themselves in positive ways.
Anderson-Butcher and her students analyzed blog posts from the public Web site Xanga (http://www.xanga.com/) for a month, to find out whether teens blogged about risky behaviors, such as skipping school, doing drugs, or having sex.
The researchers found most teens in the study blogged about positive behaviors, such as studying, participating in school activities, spending time with family, and going to church. Anderson-Butcher said: "We looked at every quote, and the kids wrote about very few problem behaviors.
"They showed a lot of creative expression through poetry, lyrics and song. It was very exciting-and for me, positive-to see the typical developmental activities that they were writing about in their blogs."
While the researchers couldn't know whether parents were supervising the Xanga blogs used in this study, the teens were clearly writing blog entries as messages to their peers.
Among the most common positive activities the teens described were playing video games (65 percent); watching television (45 percent); doing homework (40 percent); going to lessons, such as music, dance, or martial arts (38 percent); browsing the Internet (29 percent); and participating in faith-based activities (22 percent).
Anderson-Butcher said even the teens' most common complaint - boredom (65 percent) - was not such a bad thing if they were blogging about it instead of engaging in risky behaviors.