"Amanda Lenhart" is a senior research specialist at the Pew Internet & American Life Project who resides in Washington, D.C. She has published numerous articles and research reports, many of which focus on teenagers and their interactions with the internet and other new media technologies.More Amanda Lenhart on Wikipedia.
Our sense from talking with these teens is that the Internet expands their network of friends. They keep in touch with people they normally would not because instant messaging can be a more casual way of talking with someone you met at summer camp or someone you have not seen in awhile.Amanda Lenhart
Teens feel more comfortable online because it is not a physical world to them. While they may be exposed to advances or images they don't like, they don't feel that they will be physically harmed because they know how to block offensive users in chat and they believe it would be hard for predators to track them down.Amanda Lenhart