Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Is the Internet a Waste of Time for Teens?

posted by Nell Minow

Parents often fear that their kids are wasting their time clicking around the web. But a new study on teen use of online media commissioned by the MacArthur Foundation found that “America’s youth are developing important social and technical skills online – often in ways adults do not understand or value.”
image_teens_computer.jpgThe most extensive U.S. study on teens and their use of digital media was conducted over a three-year period by 28 researchers and collaborators at the University of Southern California and the University of California, Berkeley. They interviewed over 800 young people and their parents, both one-on-one and in focus groups; spent over 5000 hours observing teens on sites such as MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, and other networked communities; and conducted diary studies to document how, and to what end, young people engage with digital media.
“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.”
The study found that there were two primary categories of online activity, “friendship-driven” and “interest-driven.” “While friendship-driven participation centered on ‘hanging out’ with existing friends, interest-driven participation involved accessing online information and communities that may not be present in the local peer group….Youth are navigating complex social and technical worlds by participating online.” But, the study concluded, they are not taking full advantage of opportunities to go beyond their known social connections to reach out to new contacts and educational opportunities.
I agree that these skills are important. But I worry that we are ignoring some other skills children and teens also need. No matter how wired we become, in-person social interaction (call it analog if you must), from polite conversation to thank-you notes, will always be indispensable skills, as will research that can only be conducted off-line and the ability to write complete and grammatical sentences. The online world is an important one, but so is RL.
Thanks to my dad (and BFF), Newton Minow, for sharing this study with me.



  • http://www.troubledteensguide.com/ teenshelp

    Using internet is a considerable issue because if the teens are using it for improving knowledge of their academics, and finding books, music and etc then it would be fine, other than that spending more time on internet to chat and to watch movies then it is considerable thing. Being a responsible parent, one must explain the consequences about the effects of using more internet in detailed. Parenting today’s teens is not the easiest things for parents, find more teens related information by sharing views and giving your views on troubled teens.
    http://www.troubledteensguide.com/discuss-teens-problems.php

  • Tiffany Hampton

    What a great blog. You should contact the bizymoms Irvine community to get your blog featured to their large mom community. I am sure they would love your posts.
    http://www.bizymoms.com/irvine/index.php

  • Try disconnecting

    No, the internet is not a waste of time for teens – It’s (largely) a waste of time for everyone, particularly those who use it primarily for socializing or entertainment, i.e. internet “addicts.”
    The waste is apparent to most people old enough to remember how much happier, more productive, and physically active they were before the internet.
    Try disconnecting from the net and email for a while, and see if life doesn’t take a swing upward.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    I’m glad you used the internet long enough to express this point of view! Many thanks.

Previous Posts

Remembering the Vietnam War: 10 Movies
As we observe the 50th anniversary of the War in Vietnam, here are ten of the best of the movie and documentary depictions of the war and its impact on history and culture in the United States. The best-known films about Vietnam include "Apocalypse Now," "Full Metal Jacket," "Platoon," "The Deer Hun

posted 8:00:34am Jul. 25, 2014 | read full post »

Lucy
I always enjoy Luc Besson's stylish car chases and shootouts. I like his use of locations, his strong female characters, and unexpected flashes of sentiment in the midst of mayhem.  While

posted 6:00:51pm Jul. 24, 2014 | read full post »

And So It Goes
A second marriage is, as Samuel Johnson famously said, "The triumph of hope over experience." And as lyricist Sammy Cahn wrote in the song Bing Crosby sang in "H

posted 6:00:13pm Jul. 24, 2014 | read full post »

The Memory Book -- This Saturday on the Hallmark Channel
A budding, young photographer stumbles upon an old photo album chronicling the ideal romance of a happy couple. Intrigued by their love and unable to find her own “true love,” she sets out to find the couple and figure out if true love really exists.  The film stars Meghan Ory (“Once Upon a T

posted 8:00:57am Jul. 24, 2014 | read full post »

Interview: Michael Rossato-Bennett of "Alive Inside"
Michael Rossato-Bennett agreed to spend one day filming Dan Cohen's remarkable music therapy work with people struggling with dementia. He ended up spending three years there and the result is "Alive Inside," an extraordinary documentary about the power of music to reach the human spirit, even when

posted 3:58:01pm Jul. 23, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.