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Is Surfing the Internet Beneficial For Teens?

There are so many confounding studies related to teens and technology, that it's getting more difficult to decipher if tech is a help or hindrance on an adolescent's development and overall well-being. First we heard that teens aren't sleeping enough because of their gadgets, but then we find out that cell phones and texting are good because it improves the parent-teen relationship.

And now, a new study that was conducted over the course of three years in the US with 800 teenagers, found that online time for teens is important for development. The report's author, Dr. Mimi Ito, said that behavior known as "geeking out" helps teens explore creative passions like gaming, video editing and writing, and it also helps them learn how to communicate online and create a public identity.

What do you think about this? Although I feel that all of the above reasons are true, I can't imagine being a teen in this huge "tech era," spending more of my time online than hanging out with friends.


Join The Conversation
misogi misogi 8 years
You can hang out with your friends online...see, technology teaches teens how to multitask. :)
kiwigeek kiwigeek 8 years
I agree, it is beneficial, so long as they spend their whole lives on the internet. Everything in moderation, right?
kyledylanconner kyledylanconner 8 years
Of course it's beneficial. I attend an online school.
Anniina Anniina 8 years
It's bad when it goes to that. Of course everything has a downside. Hmm. I think the best part is the diverse brain activity. But Myspace is ridiculous, teens put absurd things up there. The notable good thing is, in my mind, the help that teens can get from the internet.
ChicBookFiend ChicBookFiend 8 years
In one way, it's good. Back in the days, they used to hog the landline phone and spend more time outdoors than parents would have liked. But now, landlines are finally free because they either use their cell phones (note to parents: make sure you get a plan with unlimited data and texting) and computers, and they don't go out as much because they can stay in touch with friends that way. On the other hand, there is the danger of posting TMI on MySpace and other sites. If parents and teachers tell them how to surf responsibly, then it's more beneficial than detrimental.
JeffaLynn JeffaLynn 8 years
I think for teenagers who spend less time on the internet it is beneficial, but teenagers like me, who are on the computer almost every second they're not at school, it's not that great. The internet is way to addicting.
crackaddict crackaddict 8 years
I think it does good for the teens who are balanced enough to enjoy it responsibly, but it is always going to be used to exploit the vulnerable. you just have to be prepared/prepare them for it.
djkatscan djkatscan 8 years
"how to communicate online and create a public identity" As long as parents ensure that the teen is well adjusted in "normal" life, I think technology is a great benefit to kids of all ages. It's up to parents to make sure that teens get the right kind or "real life" experience, as well as make sure that they are using the technology for creative exporation. But teens do experiment, and technology can also provide a screen for them to do things they might not really do in "real life". I also read somewhere that people who grew up with technology are more likely to lie in an email (as opposed to a written letter) and less likely to know how to properly write a business email (due to the advent of TXT/IM speak). So there has to be a balance. With the explosion of technology it is up to responsible and informed adults to stear kids in the right direction.
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