For all the parents who feel that teenagers are wasting away their hours with online socializing, there is positive evidence to the contrary. According to a recent study performed by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, in Chicago, being a part of these social communities may play an important role in helping prepare teens to handle 21st-century communications.

The study states that, and I quote: “It may look as though kids are wasting a lot of time hanging out with new media, whether it’s on MySpace or sending instant messages,” said Mizuko Ito, who led the study of 800 young Web users for MacArthur. “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, and how to create a home page.” This story was first reported in the New York Times (which to some, may discredit it) and I happen to read about it in ‘Philanthropy Today’, both an online and hard copy newspaper about global nonprofit organizations. Unfortunately, unless the main stream news media (specifically those on TV) makes mention of this study, detractors may not be made aware of the results and subsequently and will continue to see online socializing as a big waste of time.

Historically all new technologies have suffered a wide range of bias, but when properly utilized most have proven to be a positive and should be further encouraged rather than feared.
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Jim Green is an entrepreneur and a part-time blogger. His blog offers a repository of the types of internet resources that, hopefully, will make the web a little easier for users to understand, navigate and utilize. You can visit his blog here – http://www.understandinginternettechnology.com/