Park City teens online with MySpace
Although the Internet can connect people from across the globe, 14-year-old Emma Lugner uses it to meet other kids in Park City.
Lugner is a veteran user of the MySpace.com, the popular Web site that makes blogging simple. People can log on to write journal entries, post pictures, and meet new friends. "You meet people from Park City, people from everywhere really," said the Treasure Mountain International School student. "I am friends with some people I know from Heber and Kamas, but mostly just kids at school." MySpace is free and requires no hard or software beyond an Internet connection. Posting on the Web site also requires no real computer knowledge beyond basic Internet proficiency. MySpacers customize their own site with the images and text they want to use. Park City High School senior Kelli Tompkins uses MySpace to keep in contact with friends who have moved. "I guess it’s just the most efficient way for me to keep in touch with them," said Tompkins. She just uses it for email, but a lot of Park City teens use it to blog or post pictures from dances or other events. Park City High School junior Stephanie Stoler said, "It’s a fun environment, you have the ability to meet a lot of cool people from around the world that see something on your profile that catches their eye. The ability to share pictures is a great feature, and having a lot of my favorite bands use MySpace is very cool indeed. I enjoy the bulletin factor, which give you a chance to shout something out to all of your friends at once." Park City High School 2005 graduate Elizabeth Leader uses MySpace to keep in contact with friends while she’s at Claremont Mckenna College in California. In one blog, she writes: "Hello my lovelies. I miss you and am thinking of you all often. But college life is treating me very nicely. I would be ecstatic if you dropped me a note (if even a free postcard from a restaurant). Or the bill for something of yours I damaged. That works too." Parents: up and in your business? "I like MySpace because it’s only between you and your friends really," Lugner said. "Your parents aren’t always up and in your business. It’s a more advanced email connection, you can see pictures. You don’t have to use the phone for people who are long distance."
In fact, some of the material posted on MySpace could get teens in trouble. Max, a 17-year-old Parkite who uses MySpace under the screen name Maxipad, emailed The Park Record.
"Park City teens find it okay to meet adults off of MySpace or put pictures of them at their ‘Deer Valley parties’ where they are all drinking or smoking reefer on their pages," Max wrote. He also that sometimes teens form groups against teachers and students and recruit others to these groups and "really hurt people’s feelings." Technically, people have to be 16 to use MySpace, but "it doesn’t really matter" as long as they use it safely, Lugner said. "A lot of parents don’t like their kids using AOL Instant Messenger because you can get messages from people you don’t know, but on MySpace you’re in control of everything," Lugner said.
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