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Study: Online socialization is not bad for teenagers

teen computer
Image credit: Flickr / San José Public Library

Think kids spending too much time online is harming the kids? A new study confirms that teenagers socializing on-line is not a bad thing. This study reminds me of a Daily Show report on social networks like MySpace.

The study, part of a $50 million project on digital and media learning, used several teams of researchers to interview more than 800 young people and their parents and to observe teenagers online for more than 5,000 hours. Because of the adult sense that socializing on the Internet is a waste of time, the study said, teenagers reported many rules and restrictions on their electronic hanging out, but most found ways to work around such barriers that let them stay in touch with their friends steadily throughout the day.

One item in the study that should be reported but won’t because of success of NBC’s ‘To catch a Predator’ series, the Internet is not filled with predators.

Ms. Ito, a research scientist in the department of informatics at the University of California, Irvine, said that some parental concern about the dangers of Internet socializing might result from a misperception.

“Those concerns about predators and stranger danger have been overblown,” she 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.”

File this study under ‘duh!’