Thanks secretscwirrels - just had a look at the student room and it looks like a good place to start! We don't have an xbox but we have an awful lot of Sims ... which does have an online forum which can be fun (finding you're chatting to someone across the world). But oh yes, TeensNet! For the second generation of MNers ...
We are also very rural. I have two boys and all their friends are spread around distant villages so I understand the problem.
For all it's faults the xbox is a useful tool. They play alongside their friends and chat while they play. DS2 plays Minecraft on his PC and has Skype set up so that he can see and chat with his friends who live 5 miles away. The Student room has lots of forums for chatting about exams and all sorts of other stuff. I haven't come across anything resembling "TeensNet" yet. Perhaps it's a gap in the market!
We live in a rural area so my kids don't see their friends after school very much. My DS (16) in particular is a bit isolated. Does anyone know of any online forums where teens get together, chat, gossip, swap problems, and just hang out? Not that I desperately want him to spend MORE time on the computer (!) but it would be good if I could point them in the direction of something friendly. I've had a search online but the ones I found seem to be very specific (Christian oriented, for example) or without much traffic on the forums. Any suggestions would be much appreciated!