Tuesday, June 17, 2008

So, will our kids really live online?

Turns out that's not the case - that teens (what our 'tweens will soon become) prefer live interaction to virtual interaction. A report due to be released tomorrow by OTX Research of 750 teens nationwide finds that while teens spend about eleven and half hours online each week (this includes surfing, text messaging, social networking, etc), they don't necessarily prefer to do everything online. They prefer spending time with friends (91%) to chatting with friends online, and prefer to head to the mall (82%) than shop online (18%). When given the choice between IM-ing a friend versus calling a friend, it's split (54 vs. 46%).
I don't know about you, but I was heartened to read this piece of research. So much of what we hear today in the media is about how dis-associated the youth of today have become and that kids are growing up devoid of social skills. It's nice to get external reinforcement that we are not raising a generation of cyber-punks.
While we are doing our darndest to ensure that our kids DO have appropriate social skills, we are also teaching them the skills to navigate online - after all, there is an etiquette to email and to other online behaviour. It turns out that rather than online interaction REPLACING live interaction, they are actually COMPLEMENTING each other. And that is a positive trend.

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