“Unless you know the person really well, they’re just some anonymous typist hiding behind a funny screen name,” said one 17-year-old boy from Maryland in an email exchange with the Pew Internet Project.“I don’t see people at school and think that’s somebody I know from AOL.Risky online behavior, in turn, was tied to meeting Internet "friends" offline.But because the study included a large number of at-risk youth, some experts doubt those numbers apply to the general population.Teenagers may first meet a friend-of-a-friend online and meet face-to-face later, but complete strangers are a different story, said Parry Aftab, an Internet privacy lawyer who runs Wired The kids have gotten very sophisticated about this issue," Aftab said.[Adolescent Angst: 10 Facts About the Teen Brain] "Straight strangers? Janis Wolak, a senior researcher at the Crimes against Children Research Center, agrees.In general population surveys, Wolak has found that very few teens meet online strangers in person.
For them, face-to-face interaction and some telephone conversations have been partially replaced with email and instant message communication.
However, bonding, as measured by both self-report and affiliation cues, differed significantly across conditions, with the greatest bonding during in-person interaction, followed by video chat, audio chat, and IM in that order.