Teens are more likely to reinforce existing friendships than seek new friends through social networking, according to a survey by Pew Internet and American Life Project (the organisation that produces reports on how the internet impacts on families, communities, civic and political life).
The survey of 935 US teens found that 55% use social networking sites, two-thirds of whom have set their profiles to be viewed by friends only.
Over 90% of respondents said they use social networking to stay in touch with friends they see frequently while 49% said they try to make new friends.
Social networking has taken off in the past two years with MySpace becoming a leading global web property while sites like Facebook (US) and Bebo (UK) have gained huge followings in specific markets.
But the perceived vulnerability of children on social networking sites has lead to access to them on public computers in the US being restricted. Leading social networks in the UK have since joined forces with the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) to work to protect children who use their sites.
The survey was conducted in October and November 2006 and involved 935 12 to 17-year-olds.