Internet Socializing Not Bad

According to the New York Times, Mizuko Ito, a research at Univeristy of California, Irvine, claims that internet socializing, which has caused fear in many parents, is not necessarily bad. She says, “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 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.

This article article touched on two parts: the apparent fear of internet usage and the inter-woven presence of new media in everyday life.

In regards to the first topic, it seems pretty outdated to view social networks, such as MySpace and Facebook, as something unknown. The study came to a conclusion that “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.” Duh? It’s pretty surprising to me that a lot of people still don’t get this.

Secondly, we all have to realize that new media is the future, and we better get accustomed to it. By getting accustomed to social networks and new media, teenagers begin to understand how to take advantage of the new communication mediums. For example, it seems almost necessary to have a LinkedIn nowadays. Moreover, people learn what is safe to put in their Facebook profiles. I mean, come on, even Barack Obama is using YouTube to deliver his radio chats. Moreover, many traditional journalists use Twitter now. Communication has changed and there’s no turning back now. Better get used to it, or get left in the dust.

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