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Such conversations in the dark allow us to be reaffirmed in the images we have of ourselves rather than being constrained by our consciousness of all the shortcomings that others might see in us.Our interviews suggest that part of the appeal of chatrooms for the young lies in the opportunities that they provide to experiment with extended or alternative identities.Censorship does not work in cyberspace (or works in only partial and transitory ways) and what is generally agreed is needed is education in ‘responsible use.’ This includes developing educational strategies that take account of the appeal and attraction of the Internet and supports young people in reflecting on their own practice as Internet users and the consequences of their Internet interactions on others. Generally speaking we found that the fears that young people had about the safety of the Internet differed from those of adults.In this paper we describe a particular set of Internetbased interactions that have great appeal to young people but create most anxiety among parents and other adults. In the main they were concerned about security rather than pornography, which they saw as amusing rather than harmful.During the period 20002002 we conducted more than 200 interviews with children and young people and conducted case studies in homes, schools, libraries, cybercafes and other places where the Internet is accessed. But it was also clear from our interviews that many were more active in chatrooms than their parents and other adults realised.Here, using a small set of these interviews, which were made with students in a tutorial centre in Athens , we will describe how some young people use the Internet to make relationships with others, and particularly how young women and men use the net to meet and talk to one another.There is a shiny side, celebrated in numerous government policies and programs, which holds out the promise of a new economy based on access to unlimited information, new and exciting curricula and schooling that will engage children and young people in purposeful and useful activity.And there is dark side of illicit information, criminal activity, dangerous knowledge and harmful content.
Many of the young people we spoke to said that they found this continual uncertainty exhilarating and very different from most of their daytoday interactions with others (in ‘meat space’), in which role, status and rules constrain interaction within routine and highly predictable forms.Sherry Turkle tells of her shock and surprise at entering a chatroom anonymously and encountering another Professor Turkle who was there doing research.