New MacArthur study lauds teenage time spent online
November 20th, 2008

A front page New York Times online report brings the news that “Teenager’ Internet Socializing Not a Bad Thing”. The Times story calls it good news for worried parents:

“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.”

The announcement from MacArthur begins:

Results from the most extensive U.S. study on teens and their use of digital media show that America’s youth are developing important social and technical skills online – often in ways adults do not understand or value.

“It might surprise parents to learn that it is not a waste of time for their teens to hang out online,” said Mizuko Ito, University of California, Irvine researcher and the report’s lead author. “There are myths about kids spending time online – that it is dangerous or making them lazy. But we found that spending time online is essential for young people to pick up the social and technical skills they need to be competent citizens in the digital age.”


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