Are Internet Social Sites a Waste of Time for Teens?

Unproductive?  Bad Habit? Dangerous, even?   What are the researchers saying about teens spending time online just hanging out?  Turns out that social networks like facebook, myspace, youtube, twitter and others promote interactions that are essential parts of becoming competent participants in the digital age.  And it also turns out that Web surfing promotes learning in the forms of literacy, technical skills development & information aquisition.  One important conclusion in a UCI blog article, states:    “All that Internet time isn’t rotting their brains. Actually, it’s almost necessary, according to the study.”

The trickier question is:  Are the adults who hang out at the Orange Juice wasting a lot of time or are they actually as “productive” as a typical teen?     ♥♥♥♥

While reading the article, it got me to thinking about the importance of providing adequate time for teens to develop their skills online.  Are there enough resources available in our communities?   Is there enough importance placed on supporting online social activities?  ♥♥♥♥

Kids denied access to new media, because their family can’t afford it or because their parents, school or library restrict their access or time on social networking sites, are likely to be short on skills that members of their generation are expected to possess, the researchers concluded.

“When kids lack access to the Internet at home, and public libraries and schools block sites that are central to their social communication, youth are doubly handicapped in their efforts to participate in common culture and sociability,” the study reads

  But that’s not the impression most adults have of digital media, according to the MacArthur study. Adults largely underestimate the value of new technology and tend to view online activity as a risky or unproductive distraction.

The internet has been touted as the “Great equalizer” – the tool that will “Level the playing field”.  This study suggests that the playing field between teens who have unhindered access to technology will have an advantage over those who are restricted from access.               

Does that sit well in your particular community? ♥♥♥♥


$15,000 NCWIT Grant to Encourage Inclusion Through Creativity in IT Education for Latina Youth        Pssst….Pass it on!


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