Expanding Possibilities Online

Boy using a computerEnriching Life

Though parents appropriately worry about some things kids do online, the web and social media can also play important roles in expanding possibilities for youth. Here are a few positive opportunities:

  • Connect with people from many different backgrounds and places, allowing them to develop a deeper appreciation of the world around them.1
  • Explore diverse ideas, information, and opportunities, which can help sort out what sparks their interest and what really matters to them.1
  • Access resources and support that they may not have access to or feel comfortable seeking in person in their community. This can be particularly true for youth who are coming to terms with their own identities and places in the world.2

Manage Risks

Like any community connections, the online risks must be managed well, including the risks of predatory individuals online, cyberbullying, and the possibility that kids will be drawn into extremist, hateful, or harmful networks and ideas. At the same time, with appropriate cautions, technology can be a powerful resource for expanding possibilities.

Next Steps

  • Take the quiz to explore the ways you expand possibilities in your family.
  • Learn about the state of expanding possibilities in parent-child relationships.

Research Sources

1. Ellison, N. B., Steinfield, C., & Lampe, C. (2007). The benefits of facebook “friends:” Social capital and college students’ use of online social network sites. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 12(4), 1143–1168. doi:10.1111/j.1083-6101.2007.00367.x

2. Shaw, L. H., & Gant, L. M. (2002). In defense of the Internet: The relationship between Internet communication and depression, loneliness, self-esteem, and perceived social support. Cyberpsychology & Behavior, 5(2), 157–171. doi:10.1089/109493102753770552