Facebook-ing enhances kids' social, technical skills

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Washington, Dec 28 (ANI): Stop worrying about the time your kid spends on chatting and Facebook-ing, for a new study has revealed that children are picking up basic social and technical skills while working online.

Researchers have found that social network sites, online games, video-sharing sites and gadgets such as mobile phones help kids remain in constant touch with their social circle.

They found that most young people almost always associate with people they already know in their offline lives through school or sports, but cell phones, instant messaging and social network sites such as MySpace and Facebook allow them to be in nearly constant touch.

"While many adults worry that children are wasting time online, texting or playing video games, our study found that these activities have captured teens' attention because they provide avenues for extending social worlds, self-directed learning and independence," said Florida State University's Lisa Tripp.

Tripp supervised research and data collection at several Los Angeles middle schools that serve primarily low-income Latino youth to find out how the students were using digital media technology both at home and at school.

A smaller number of young people also use the online world to find information they may not have access to at school or in their local community and to connect with people who share specialized interests in activities, such as online gaming, creative writing, video editing or other artistic endeavours.

Tripp said that by exploring new interests and tinkering with new forms of media, young people are picking up basic social and technical skills, such as how to create a video or game or customize a MySpace page.

Young people also can learn a lot through trial and error and from their peers and online communities.

The study found that young people's learning with digital media is often more self-directed, with a freedom and autonomy that is less apparent than in a classroom setting.

The researchers said youth respect one another's authority online, and they are often more motivated to learn from each other than from adults.

They said parents and schools are required to keep pace with the rapid changes introduced by digital media to stay relevant in the 21st century. (ANI)

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