As it turns out, teens might have a legitimate beef with parental controls limiting the time they spend online, as doing so could hurt their development. Or at least that's the pitch teenagers will soon be making to their parents while they quote findings from a new study released this week by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation at the American Anthropological Association's annual meeting.
The study, which observed teens for 5,000 hours over the course of three years, comes as part of a $50 million initiative to find out what effects digital media might be having on teenagers, specifically how they learn and socialize.
"When adults look at teens today, they think what they are doing is different and seem to be wasting a lot of time online hanging out with their friends or playing video games, and these are activities that can seem quite foreign," said Mizuko Ito, the report's lead author and a researcher at the University of California Irvine. "But when we look closely at what kids are doing, it's not much different than what their parents did. They are hanging out with their friends, finding romantic partners, and trying to identify their status and identity."
It took a 58-page report to note a generation gap in how parents and teens view online activities, with the parents viewing their teen's online time as a distraction, whereas teens are finding value with the time they spend online. The report also noted that while teens are honing their social skills, they're also not taking full advantage of what the internet has to offer.
Do you agree with the study's suggestion that, for the most part, teens' time spent online has a positive effect? Hit the jump and post your thoughts.