Teens gain valuable social skills online
14:44 20 February 2006
NewScientist.com news service
Roxanne Khamsi, St Louis
Instead of steering them away from their computers, parents should recognise that teenagers sharpen important social skills online, say psychologists and anthropologists studying internet behaviour.
They stress that many of the traditional teenage hangouts, such as convenience stores and parks, have banned these youngsters or become viewed as unsafe. Danah Boyd, at the University of California, Berkeley, US, and other experts see this as a leading reason why children turn to the web to communicate with their peers.
There have been numerous recent reports in the US of teenage girls being assaulted after being contacted through websites by older men. But Boyd says her analysis of MySpace.com – a leading networking website with 15 million accounts and half the users under 24 – found that most teens sought almost exclusively to socialise with their friends from school, rather than strangers.
And one in five online teens in the US – about 4 million people – have their own blog, according to the Pew Internet and American Life Project. Keeping this type of online diary helps to enhance teens' communication skills, says David Huffaker, a doctoral student at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, US.
He thinks the blog format enhances their understanding of how to build a narrative. And Huffaker adds that teens also make a considerable effort to reach out to fellow bloggers, frequently linking to and commenting on other people's postings
I was reading and happened to come across this article, what do y'all think of it?? and btw, anyone who has MySpace, please delete it because it probably will harm more than help you