The Many Stages of Virtual Websites [Teen Article]

Sofia is a 16-year-old from Los Angeles, CA.  She loves the beach, shopping, and enjoys studying psychology because she would like to become a psychologist when she is older.
virtual worlds
Virtual Websites.  The two letter word that has become the center of all entertainment for children and adults alike.  Where do we begin?  Most kids start exploring the World Wide Web with harmless simulation websites, such as Neopets, Club Penguin, and Webkinz.  These sites offer the ability to create a customized character, where the different appearances are virtually endless, and lean the basis of earning enough money to build a home, fill it with furniture, obtain priceless items, and win contests that will improve popularity all from the comfort to of their own home. These sites provide hours of fun and entertainment for kids and are extremely popular for their ability of letting a child do all the things they cannot do in reality.

There is of course an age when kids decide that they have had enough with children’s play and want to move up towards a more mature environment.  It is commonly around the age of 12 when a kid realizes that they will have a much better time on social networks such as Facebook, or, more popularly, Myspace.  Myspace is frequently used by kids in middle school, usually from grades six-eight, and lets kids explore a newer and more advanced aspect of the internet.  The site is, nowadays, not viewed as a mature site, but more of a popularity contest for younger kids.  As an example, my friend’s younger sister currently has a Myspace. She is in the 7th grade, and the topics she writes about on her homepage are mainly obscure and vulgar, not because she actually believes or even understands what she is writing about, but because she is “Myspace friends” with many older kids and sees what they write and feels that if she writes these things too, she will be accepted into an older crowd.  Myspace has begun to lose its popularity, as the main users are realizing that it is not being taken seriously any further.

The next stage in social networking/virtual websites is either Facebook or Twitter. By the time a kid reaches their high school and college years, a Facebook is usually obtained.  Facebook helps a lot of people, including myself, keep in touch with friends that move away, either to different states or best friends who enroll in different colleges.  Many of my friends who graduated this year were seniors, and the easiest way to remain in contact with them is Facebook.  Many kids check their Facebook weekly, if not daily and will usually get back to you within a week of writing a short wall post.  Twitter is a new and innovative way to remain up to speed with friends and family.  The constant updates of your whereabouts and activities will keep the family notified of new improvements in your life and will also help your friends know when is a good or bad time to talk.

Craigslist is the final step in the virtual world, as it provides constant updates of jobs, housing, and other personals for sale and other events in your local area.  Most adults use this as a method to hire others for their businesses or sell their houses faster.  Craigslist is a growing phenomenon that is helping people find jobs, and with the present state of the economy, nothing could be better.

Today, there are many stages of the web that every person will experience through their lives.  Kids as young as seven will begin using the internet for their pure enjoyment of living in a virtual world; they will continue the journey all through their middle school, high school, and college years, and will finally look no further as they find Craigslist as an easier way of living.

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