Benefits of Online Social Networking
While there are risks inherent in online social networking, there are also many potential benefits. Social networking can provide opportunities for new relationships as well as strengthening existing relationships, whether your kids’ friends are close to home or across the world. It’s important to be vigilant when your kids are getting involved in online social networking, but it’s also good to encourage positive relationships through various avenues, including the Internet.
Real-Life Benefits of Online Social Networking
- Kids can gain social confidence from interacting with other people online, which may help them feel more secure in new situations, such as going to college, joining a sports team, and meeting new friends.
- Because social networking—like everything else online—is constantly evolving, kids can become more familiar with new and emerging technologies, as well as increase their media literacy through exposure to many different types of online media that are shared by their friends.
- Many kids find support in online communities; this is especially true for kids who have unique interests or feel isolated. Encourage your child to find other kids who are interested in the same thing or may be dealing with similar issues.
- Online communities can be very diverse and expose your child to many new viewpoints, ideas, and opinions that she may not be familiar with.
- Kids tend to use social networking to augment—not replace—their real-world relationships, helping them learn to communicate in many different ways. Social networking is becoming an increasingly important method of communicating in schools and the workplace, so it’s good for your child to be prepared to communicate through sites like Facebook and LinkedIn.
- Keeping in touch with family members that live far away can become much easier through the use of online social networking. By sharing updates, photos, videos, and messages, family members can stay connected even if the live across the country—or the world.
Social Networking in Schools
- Social networking is becoming increasingly important in schools—Facebook, Moodle, SecondLife, Digg, and other sites are often used by teachers to communicate with students or for out-of-classroom discussions.
- Youth can further explore topics that they’re interested in through online social networking. By making connections with other people who have the same interest, kids can learn and exchange knowledge with others they may not have had the opportunity to interact with.
- Teachers often take advantage of students’ social networking abilities to create class blogs, discussion forums, videos, and more. By collaborating with other students and teachers through online social networking, children are able to build stronger school communities.