The new 'Inteenet': Adolescents surf - and shape - the Web

It's like a seminar - of millions. With teens spending more time online than ever, a new study finds them turning to the Web as a cultural forum, shaping their own "electronic commons."

The study, released by Washington's nonprofit Center for Media Education (CME), explores the online teen culture targeted at, and often created by, its young audience. The report finds 3 in 4 12-to-17-year-olds using the Web, often as an arena of unfiltered teen discussion - analysis of everything from high-school trends to the ramifications of Sept. 11.

CME calls for greater academic attention to new media's effect on youth, policies to promote equal access to multimedia, and consumer protection laws for teens new to the marketplace. The report explores the economic foundations of teen commerce and the future of an adolescent "civic culture" devoted to sociopolitical engagement and public service.

To read the full CME study, "Teensites.com - A Field Guide to the New Digital Landscape," go to www.cme.org/teenstudy.

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