Researchers: kids use the Internet; adults should get with program

JISHOU, HUNAN — Social scientists seem to have a knack for spending huge amounts of time and effort to state the obvious. The most recent example is from a study funded by the MacArthur Foundation: teens spend a lot of time online and on their cell phones communicating with others, and it’s good for them! Dudes, like I didn’t already know. Seriously, I respect the John D. and Catherine T. MacArtur Foundation. It funds a whole slew of wonderful pursuits, like National Public Radio, a really nice oceanside nature reserve in Florida, and many others. Spending three years to conclude what seems to be patently obvious may seem to be time and effort misplaced, but the conclusions of the report should give us educators something to think about. Led by Mizuko Ito of the University of California-Irvine, a team of researchers interviewed 800 teens and young adults and spent more than 5,000 hours online to investigate youth media use. They refute the oft-cited scourge of Internet predators out to abscond with our children’s virtue. In fact, the overwhelming majority of young people use electronic media to talk with one another, or with people they know. Despite adult fears that all ...
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