And while some Web cams invite voyeurism, others allow you to interactto choose which clothes someone should wear that day from their wardrobe, for instance.
One that has become popular in the last few years is ‘blogging’, the keeping of diaries, journals and log books on line (hence ‘webblogs’) and sometimes linked to Web cams, which link video surveillance to a personal Web site.
‘Blogging’ has some of the appeal of soap opera, as vernacular ‘stars’ arise, who keep journals which detail their personal lives, or more insidiously in some of the blogs found on sites that celebrate anorexia.
On the Internet, you are not restricted to trying on clothes, but can try on different names, origins, life histories, attitudes and opinions, different ways of relating to others, different ages and genders.
And you do so knowing that those you are talking with are probably doing the same.
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.
Chatrooms provide more than a stage for trying on new selves; the setting itself can become hyperreal, as all those who participate in it interact in the knowledge that ‘noone is quite who they say they are’.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.Webcams vary from rather static landscape views (our university has one which is pointed at the sky for weather enthusiasts) to sites apparently managed by young girls who adopt provocative poses and post lists of presents they would like to receive.The trend seems to be increasingly for such sites to become participative and interactive, Anyone can keep a Weblog—and anyone can read it and respond.Some of the practices adopted by these young people are surprising and counter to the conventional advice given by official authorities.