Richard Holland and his friends Samantha and Ali are typical teenagers. The Plano West juniors love the internet, especially Ali who spends hours online. "Uh, I'd like to say one to two hours, but that is frankly not true, I spend maybe six or seven hours a day on the Internet!"
Richard spends about two hours a day on the internet, most of it he says, checking in with friends on Facebook. "Yea, I say I have to talk to all of my friends on Facebook and if I don't I am going to get out of the loop and lose touch and I don't know the next day I'll be totally out of the loop."
Psychiatrist Gary Malone agrees, he says while many adults worry about the dangers of the internet, kids are learning valuable lessons on line. "Something that you would find dull and uninteresting in a class, you would find very exciting if you were trying to make your computer work so you can talk to somebody in New York."
Samantha doesn't spend much time on the internet, but when she does she's socializing.
"Definitely, I use the Facebook, daily probably, yes."
Dr. Malone says the internet, and Facebook, are tools that many parents never had.
"Where it might be very difficult if you are in a certain social strata in a high school to walk to a different social strata where the quarterback and head cheerleader are standing and say hi, how are you guys? That may be a dramatic risk. You can do that on the Internet."