Online Time Critical In Teen Development

February 26, 2009 at 9:24 am 1 comment

“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.”

A 2008 study sponsored by the MacAuthor Foundation found that online time is a key part of the social development process of teens, and that many parents do not understand the ways youth interact online.  (Yesterday’s post about Lady Susan Greenfield comes to mind).  This group of researchers took the time to engage with youth about their online activites over the course of three years, 5000 contact hours and 800 kids and parents.  

“This study creates a baseline for our understanding of how young people are participating with digital media and what that means for their learning,” said Connie Yowell, Ph.D., Director of Education at the MacArthur Foundation. “It concludes that learning today is becoming increasingly peer-based and networked, and this is important to consider as we begin to re-imagine education in the 21st century.”

It is encouraging to see that when adults make the effort to understand what kids are doing online, adults can then affirm the meaningful interactions and learning experiences youth discover online.    

(Video found here)

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Entry filed under: Digital Citizenship, Doing Good, Education, Kids, Learning, News, Parents, Social Media, Social Networks, Technology, Youth. Tags: , , , , , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Beth Carls  |  March 2, 2009 at 5:55 pm

    The MacArthur Study was really groundbreaking, I believe, and has major implications for educators, parents and policy makers.

    Of particular interest to me was the question “New role for education?” When will our education system who has been teaching the same way for the past 100+ years, take advantage (or “exploit” as MacArthur states) the potential of the wide variety of resources in the digital world/


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