Are We Caught in the Web?by Jessica Palumbo, No. Providence, RIA sound my parents know all too well - the familiar clicking of my computer keyboard. I am in front of my computer screen so often that my friends wonder if I ever emerge from its electronic glow.As you probably can tell, I spend most of my free time online. In fact, right now, I'm signing on. I look up information on the web and talk to my friends ... chatrooms on the Internet are busy centers of socializing these days. They're like a dating club for the future, busily populated with teenagers who love to socialize."What," you ask, "the Internet, a place to socialize? What is this?" Or maybe you know exactly what I mean. Either way, trust me, some of the most interesting conversations occur on the Internet. It's a major convenience. You can talk to countless friends simultaneously. Also, there isn't a chance of an annoying younger sibling listening in on the other phone while you talk to your significant other. I know that has happened enough to me! In two years, teen online usage has increased by 50%. Although the Internet is a great place to hang out, it also proves to be a crucial tool in learning. The Internet itself is a reference for school, home and personal needs. It's also so much more interesting than your average encyclopedia. Now, how does this work? Personally, I'm not too sure, but whatever it is ... it's working just fine. In fact, 2.4 million teenage girls (sorry, guys) say that the Internet has increased their desire to learn. It could be because surfing the 'net is more fun than paging through a 300-year-old, 500-volume encyclopedia to find information. The Internet is fast, easy and up to date, so you'll be sure to get the information you're looking for.Another plus is the air of anonymity you have. It's easier to open up to others and tell them how you really feel about people, issues, places and things. But the positive aspects of the anonymity only go so far. In some cases, it can turn deadly. (Evil, threatening music plays in your mind.) Inter-net-users, beware. There is corruption among you. That's right. You should never ever give out more than your first name to a stranger on the 'net. It also works on the flip side - don't take others too seriously. An entire friendship formed on the 'net can be based on lies. I speak from experience. Another warning for the Internet is about meeting strangers in person. Never, ever meet someone you do not know (who you have
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.