After several years of intensive academic research on adolescents and electronic media, it's now possible to get a "metaview" of how the Internet shapes the self-identity, relationships and sexuality of young people, says Patti Valkenburg, a professor at the University of Amsterdam's Center for Research on Children, Adolescents and the Media.
The results are largely encouraging -- with a few caveats.
"With every new media, there's always panic," she said. "For most adolescents, it's still positive, but not when it's used too much. They can get easy access to everything, but there are dangers on the Internet, just like in our daily lives."