December 29, 2008

NEWS / ARTICLES: Facebook Generation Learning Social, Technical Skills Online

Facebook Generation Learning Social, Technical Skills Online

Newswise — Worried about the amount of time today’s kids spend texting, chatting, blogging, gaming and Facebook-ing? Don’t.

Rather than fear the time young people devote to technological pursuits, there are many reasons for adults to embrace and even facilitate youth engagement with digital media, according to Florida State University’s Lisa Tripp, who was a member of a team of researchers who recently completed the most extensive qualitative study ever done on youth media use in the United States.

“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,” she said.

Tripp, an assistant professor in the College of Information, 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. Her research became a part of the Digital Youth Project, a joint effort of the University of Southern California and the University of California, Berkeley.

The three-year study was part of a $50 million project on digital and media learning funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Altogether, researchers involved in the project interviewed more than 800 children and young adults and conducted more than 5,000 hours of online observations. Tripp also is one of the co-authors of the final report on the project, which will be published by MIT Press as a book called “Hanging Out, Messing Around, Geeking Out: Living and Learning with New Media.”

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