Yet Another Study Shows That Social Networks Are Good For Kids

from the yet-politicians-still-want-them-blocked-in-schools dept

This has been covered before, of course, but it’s always good to see more research on the subject. The MacArthur Foundation has just released Mizuko Ito’s latest study about online socializing, and found that it’s an important and healthy part of youth communications these days, and politicians and parents who freak out over the amount of time kids spend chatting with each other online are overreacting. Hopefully, with more studies like this, we can get politicians to stop trying to ban social networks in school, and recognize that it can be a healthy part of the way kids communicate.

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Comments on “Yet Another Study Shows That Social Networks Are Good For Kids”

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Tony says:

I can see the point of allowing this – but what’s wrong with just talking to the other kids in school/neighborhood? I’m not for kids just hanging out on computers all day – regardless of if they’re ‘socializing’. I have two young kids and I already don’t want to have them on the computer or text messaging all day. Get out and do something!

SFU Teaching Assistant says:

Yet another study...

Social netowrking sites CAN be good for kids as a PART of their entire socializing activities, but the danger is in kids avoiding in-person socializing in favour of remaining in front of a computer screen.

As a grad student and teaching assistant in a major Canadian university at a “wireless” campus, my problem is in class lectures or tutorials where students are spending more time using Facebook, Twitter, MSN Messenger, and even the lowly cell phone text message during lectures or class time instead of paying attention to the professor. And then what happens? They come to tutorial having not paid attention to the lecture, usually not having read the assignment, and then asking me what happened in a class that they were attending. I would love to have a way to ban social networking sites and MSN in lectures, but so far the only tools I have are threatening to sit in the back of the room to see just who is paying attention and who isn’t, public embarassment of students caught actively ignoring the lecture, and using their guilty response as general deterrence to the rest of the population.

Given that I’m in the Criminology department, that might suit our lesson plans.

Anonymous Coward says:

I agree with SFU Teaching Assistant. Online social networking sites have their advantages, but like many other things, can be abused. There is such a thing as “too much of a good thing”.

When children spend too much time socializing online, they dissociate from real world activities, as well as real world emotions and thought processes. The internet brings with it a whole new way of understanding human emotions and behaviors, which should not be minimized or neglected in such discussions, such as online social networking.

The nuances of communication via the internet are not the same as that of face-to-face (f2f). Many aspects of f2f communication are altered, or even lost, online. What impact this form of communication has on a whole generation is not widely understood, but some researchers are focusing more and more on understanding it all (see John Suler’s Psychology of Cyberspace at

While the benefits of online social networking should not be minimized, neither should the disadvantages.

Jesse says:

Social Networking should accent communication not become primary...

As stated by SFU Teaching Assistant, and others, there is nothing wrong with online social networking and communication – it is a positive experience when it is a continuation of a healthy “face-to-face” social life. What is happening though is younger people are ignoring face-to-face relationships in many ways and are now supplanting them with far to much online presence – it is kind of sad really. Another problem is that online communication tends to skew to the near retarded side. Punctuation, grammar and style suffer horrendously ( I am a prime example of this 🙂 and I believe that is why reading and writing skills have dropped considerably. So online communication can open up whole new worlds to extend communication – we just have to be careful it is not at the cost of real world relationships and communication.

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