My tech-savvy 12-year-old niece, Alice, lives across the ocean from her best friend, Lena, who moved to Hawaii last year. Alice and Lena use email and Skype to stay in touch in spite of the distance and an 8-hour time difference. 15 years ago they may have remained pen pals, exchanging letters every month or so, but now technology allows them to communicate faster, more often, and with more friends.
Today, most kids lead active online lives. Eighty-one percent of teenagers between 16 and 17 have a social networking account, and they use these sites to do more than just post pictures and status updates. For children like Alice, online activities impact friendships, education, and even future career prospects.