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Study Recommends Online Gaming, Social Networking For Kids 189

Blue's News pointed out a report about a study sponsored by the MacArthur Foundation which found that online gaming and social networking are beneficial to children, teaching them basic technical skills and how to communicate in the Information Age. The study was conducted over a period of three years, with researchers interviewing hundreds of children and monitoring thousands of hours of online time. The full white paper (PDF) is also available. "For a minority of children, the casual use of social media served as a springboard to them gaining technological expertise — labeled in the study as 'geeking out,' the researchers said. By asking friends or getting help from people met through online groups, some children learned to adjust the software code underpinning some of the video games they played, edit videos and fix computer hardware. Given that the use of social media serves as inspiration to learning, schools should abandon their hostility and support children when they want to learn some skills more sophisticated than simply designing their Facebook page, the study said."

If you're not careful, you're going to catch something.