teen-internet-behavior-researchA new study suggests the majority of teens use social networks to discuss “risky behaviors.” A separate study finds the majority of researchers use experiments to discuss what teens are discussing.

“We’re seeing an ongoing trend in highly paid researchers spending their time quietly watching what teens talk about on the Web,” Dr. Stanley L. Dorkus, who led the latter study, explained. “Knowing how often young people talk about sex on the Internet seems to be a strong priority for the scientists of today.”

Cataloguing this week’s “risky behavior” study was the final piece of Dorkus’s research. The University of Washington scientists involved in that experiment spent months observing and analyzing teens’ MySpace profiles to see how often they chatted about things like sex, alcohol and drug use, and violence. They found 54 percent of teens talk about such issues on social networks.

The number pales in comparison to the percentage of researchers found to be discussing what teens are discussing. A full 67 percent of scientists “frequently” observe how teenagers use the Web and what sort of information they share, Dorkus’s study indicates.

“These people are really concerned with how frisky the current generation of adolescents is feeling from month to month,” Dorkus said. “The Internet has provided an instant way for them to monitor that, and they are taking advantage of it with high regularity.”

The study was funded by TechCult and the Institute for Researching the Research Habits of Researchers.

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