Eelteismeliste suhtlusportaalide kasutamise praktikad Rate.ee näitel
Social networking site usage practices of pre-teens. Case-study of rate.ee Social networking site rate.ee, which will soon be aspiring 380 000 users mark, is the most used one throughout all age groups compared to sites alike. Its varied opportunities while expressing oneself, promoting communication, and also while expanding social network might be considered the phenomenon of the site. The current thesis paper explored, first and foremost, pre-teens’ social networking site usage, bringing forth main purposes, utilization habits, pre-teens’ experienced emotions and risks that became evident due to the usage of the site. The crucial theoretical part was based on a research made earlier among teenagers rather than among 10-12 year olds. Throughout the thesis paper, data gathered from 10 pre-teens was used. By means of studying the pre-teens’ interviews and observations, answers to four raised questions, which will enable to comprehend pre-teens’ social networking site usage, were found. All pre-teens used, first and foremost, social networking site rate.ee for communicative purposes, for keeping in touch with friends. Finding a girl/boyfriend and new friends, viewing and rating pictures, and, on a smaller scale, self portraying were given as arguments for creating an account as well. Family members: mother, brother/sister and also friends were contributing in the creation of an account, which provides us with evidence that rate.ee is popular among all age groups. Pre-teens, participating in the research, have been using social networking sites on an average of three years. The most popular activities, in addition to e-mails, were reading messages, viewing videos, gathering bonus points, taking tests and questionnaires, rating, playing games, and being part of clubs. Visual and textual updates on profiles were relatively scarce among all pre-teens. The most updates were present in personal statuses, as it is free of charge and does not require any creative approach. The least updates were made concerning pictures due to technical aspects, refusal from moderators, or due to lack of self-confidence because of one’s appearance. The pre-teens were brave enough to publish their personal data as well. Visual identity was chiefly created by using profile pictures, videos, and photo albums. The existence of the priced alternative, such as skin, played insignificant role among pre-teens and was used less. Pre-teens have positive as well as negative emotions while facing the rate.ee environment usage. Positive emotions were the result of viewing photos and videos, reading additional information, the presence of older generation in rate.ee, and also having chosen boyfriend/girlfriend on the site. Negative emotions were mostly caused by received comments referring to appearance which lowered self-esteem. Mood down graders were also activities in association with friends brought about by real life events and transferred into virtual world. Pre-teens come across with dangers in both worlds, in real and virtual. Both, active and less active users perceive dangers encompassed by rate.ee usage. Main hazards the pre-teens have come into contact with have been pedophilia and pornography. Pre-teens come across pictures containing pornography while rating photos. Pre-teens do realize the dangers in pornography and pedophilia, yet, majority of them do not see any harm in publishing their personal and contact data, resulting in having no fear of being taken criminal advantage of their personal and contact data. On the grounds of rate.ee, multiple researches, concerning social networking sites, are yet possible, for instance, an inquiry towards parents’ awareness might be made, whether they are familiar with their children’s activities on social networking sites, or a research into the motive and usage practices of people 40+ could be done. Afterwards a comparison, bringing forth differences and similarities with pre-teens might give interesting examples/results. Social networking sites have also been popular in finding dates, as boyd (2004) brought it out. Hence, a poll in Estonia could be made, in order to find out, how often have people found their partners and soul mates through social networking sites, and also find out if they have stayed together, how long it took time to find someone and whether they were content with the results.