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Parents & Internet-Using Teens

I’m on my way out the door, but this just popped into my aggregator.  It may have been there for a while, just hiding.  But the latest findings from the PEW Internet & American Life Project are interesting.

Pew Internet: Parent and Teen Internet Use:

Parents today are less likely to say that the internet has been a good thing for their children than they were in 2004. However, this does not mean there was a corresponding increase in the amount of parents who think the internet has been harmful to their children. Instead, the biggest increase has been in the amount of parents who do not think the internet has had an effect on their children one way or the other. Fully, 87% of parents of teenagers are online — at least 17% more than average adults.

The study indicates that parents are paying a lot of attention to their children’s media consumption.

Parents check up on and regulate their teens’ media use, not just in terms of the internet, but with television and video games as well. However, those rules lean slightly more towards the content of the media rather than the time spent with the media device.

Alexandra Rankin Macgill, the author of the report, suggests that “The fact that the biggest increase has been in the number of parents who think the internet has no effect on their children suggests that parents are beginning to have a more nuanced view of the internet.“  She continues,  “It is a grey technology that can be helpful or harmful depending on how you use it.“  This is from the PEW Press Release for the study.

I wonder, though, — and this is just me wondering — if maybe the opposite might be true.  That in 2004, we felt that we understood the Internet as a rich source of content.  Some was good and some was bad, but it was a place to go to find answers.  Today, however, our children seem to be spending more time interacting in their social networks, and, in my opinion, discovering and even inventing new ways to learn through those interactions.  But we don’t understand this. 

What do you think?

I look forward to reading the rest of the report…

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  • http://www.edumorphing.blogspot.com a. woody delauder

    From my experience, it seems as though parents are blind to the networking aspect of the internet. When their child is on the internet, they assume that they are either researching a topic, or simply playing around. In a large majority, the internet is still seen as just fun and games.

    Ask these same parents if they are familiar with wiki’s, blogs, podcasts, twitter, ustream video, or any other collaborative internet tool. I think we know what the answer would be.

    I think the study proves just the opposite. The parents have no idea of the children’s media consumption. They either fear it or are in denial. People tend to fear the unknown!

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  • Katie

    I think that parents are unaware of the benefits possible from 2.0 technologies. In fact, we all are unaware of what our students are going to do with what is available to them. Students will push boundaries, and, if given opportunity, will create new ways to learn with tools that we never imagined would be useful for knowledge acquisition. The fact that students are capable of continuous partial attention and can learn in many modes at once may be baffling to parents and so they may interpret their children’s actions on the web as not beneficial simply because they do not understand what is happening. Perhaps the more important question is: Do the students see the Internet as a good thing where their learning is concerned?

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  • Kylie

    I think very few parents know what kids are doing on the internet. Like a person above said they think that we are researching a topic or just messing around. I also don’t think that parents are very familiar with wikis, blogs etc. I don’t think very many parents know how much their teenager is really on the internet.

  • hallianne

    I think some kids need to be watched on the internet. Because some kids are doing things that are not right. But i do think that the internet now is much more needed then it used to be, because we are so used to it.

  • http://mrplough07.blogspot.com Cory

    I think you hit on something key at the very end of your post. The way students get information and learn from that is changing, its social. Not just in “traditional” online social networks like myspace but in social sites, web 2.0 sites as well.

    “It is a grey technology that can be helpful or harmful depending on how you use it. Isnt everything!

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