November 19, 2008

Socializing on the Internet is Not So Bad

According to a new study by the MacArthur Foundation, reported in The New York Times by Tamar Lewin, all those hours teenagers spend socializing on the Internet are not a bad thing.
It may look as though kids are wasting a lot of time hanging out with new media, whether it’s on MySpace or sending instant messages,” said Mizuko Ito, lead researcher on the study, Living and Learning With New Media. “But their participation is giving them the technological skills and literacy they need to succeed in the contemporary world. They’re learning how to get along with others, how to manage a public identity, how to create a home page…”

“It certainly rings true that new media are inextricably woven into young people’s lives,” said Vicki Rideout, vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation and director of its program for the study of media and health...

“The concerns about predators and stranger danger have been overblown,” Ms. Ito said. “There’s been some confusion about what kids are actually doing online. Mostly, they’re socializing with their friends, people they’ve met at school or camp or sports.”

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