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Study Recommends Online Gaming, Social Networking For Kids 189

Posted by Soulskill
from the seeing-the-writing-on-the-wall dept.
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."
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Study Recommends Online Gaming, Social Networking For Kids

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  • by starglider29a (719559) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @02:05PM (#25834905)
    Online Gambling
    • by gnick (1211984) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @02:07PM (#25834929) Homepage

      Hey, it would teach them statistics pretty quickly, right?

      • by Ethanol-fueled (1125189) * on Thursday November 20, 2008 @02:27PM (#25835221) Homepage Journal
        If by "statistics" you mean lies and damn lies, then yes, since they comprise 90% of online interaction.

        I'd much rather have my kids participate in meatspace team-building starting with after-school programs and then moving on to the football team or the academic decathalon or robotics team before I let them glue themselves to a damn raster and throw their life away.

        My parents dragged my kicking and screaming into daycare, then later pulled me off of my precious NES which caused me to get on my bike and jump dirt hills with friends, then again they dragged me into the football team against my wishes. I fought tooth and nail each time, then I discovered that I actually found those activities preferable to wasting away in front of a TV or monitor.
        • by UttBuggly (871776) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @05:53PM (#25838251)

          I don't feel it's an "either-or" situation. Certainly not in my own experience. My son, now 24, had PC and Mac access from age 3. We used WordPerfect to help reinforce language learning for him.

          BUT, we also did soccer, martial arts, and he was on his high school's weightlifting team. As well as a "geek team" that wrote video games.

          I think it's a balancing act that requires some thinking and planning on the part of the parents.

          Today, my son shares a house with a Karate friend and fellow geek he grew up with. (they both work IT jobs) They play WoW, CounterStrike, etc. with a group of friends, cousins, etc. that are both old and "new"...people they've met at work or in the neighborhood. Both are in good physical shape and hardly the stereotype of a typical geek.

          I think the possibility of my son ending up like the WoW player in the classic South Park episode was there, but we always found things that DIDN'T involve staying glued to a CRT to offset that.

          My son is an only child and was quite shy when he was young. Learning to socialize online AND in person has made him an outgoing, funny young man. He can be the life-of-the-party, but doesn't NEED to be.

          I truly believe trying many things, including online gaming (he was a capper on MY Tribes team, btw), helped make him a fairly well-rounded kid.

          The problem I see today, all too frequently, is parents letting the HDTV, Xbox, PC, etc. become a silicon babysitter and teacher and that's just plain STUPID and LAZY.

        • I'd much rather have my kids participate in meatspace team-building starting with after-school programs and then moving on to the football team or the academic decathalon or robotics

          You will find much of the group activities that children do are anti-social and competitive in nature. Though this is not just limited to children, adults who are socialized also exhibit anti-social behaviors like gossip, peer-pressure, pecking orders, all means of physical and psychological aggression; there have even been entire books published about the irrationality of crowds.

          Competitive sports is one of the worst things to get children involved in. These are often injury prone activities which have mar

          • Competitive sports is one of the worst things to get children involved in. These are often injury prone activities which have marginal educational or intellectual value. As a child I've learned far more from television and books than I have from playing street hockey.

            Well if you hardly ever play street hockey then you're not going to learn much from it.
            Unless the sport is reasonably injury prone then it's been watered down too much by people who want to wrap their children in cotton wool.

            Shooting a rapid in a kayak can be one of the most enjoyable activities and it's far from safe even when you're experienced. It was "normal" for even experienced members of my canoe club to get injured on river trips every now and then. And you learned to accept that and enjoy life. The

        • by brkello (642429)
          Of course, if you were hit by a car while riding your bike they might have regretted it!
          • And if his game console had burst into flames and burned the house down maiming him then he might have regretted staying in even more.
            If he'd slipped in the shower and broken his spine he'd regret that too.
            Accidents happen. Accept that. Live life. Try to get some actual experiences of your own rather than just reading about other peoples.

        • by syousef (465911)

          My parents dragged my kicking and screaming into daycare, then later pulled me off of my precious NES which caused me to get on my bike and jump dirt hills with friends, then again they dragged me into the football team against my wishes. I fought tooth and nail each time, then I discovered that I actually found those activities preferable to wasting away in front of a TV or monitor.

          Well I had the opposite experience. Being forced to do things - church (my parents are quite religous) and learn another langu

  • Sounds About Right (Score:4, Insightful)

    by osfancy (877444) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @02:08PM (#25834959)
    I can certainly see how online gaming or social networking might help these kids develop a better understanding of technology. However, we probably don't want them to become obsessed with these kinds of interactions and become completely inadequate in conventional social situations.
    • by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Thursday November 20, 2008 @02:24PM (#25835165) Homepage
      This reminds me of Cliff Stoll's infamous book Silicon Snake Oil [amazon.com] . Published in 1996, the book doesn't insist that growing up with heavy computing will turn us all into heartless, antisocial robots. But it does strongly assert that computers don't make an efficient contribution to education as you think. It's a book all Slashdotters will get a laugh from because of its way off vision of the future. And Stoll, who claimed e-commerce would never take off, himself now sells klein bottles over the net.
    • by 0racle (667029) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @02:42PM (#25835437)

      I can certainly see how online gaming or social networking might help these kids develop a better understanding of technology

      I disagree. I play a MMO and have played this MMO for a few years now. The vast majority of players never learn a thing about the magic white box or the magical internet that brings them the game and their porn. The few that do, do so outside the game because they wanted to and so went out and learned. Simply using something doesn't teach any understanding of it.

      As for social interaction? The little assholes who act like assholes coming in, act like assholes going out. They didn't learn anything their either.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by osfancy (877444)
        While some learn nothing of the magic mirror that takes them into their fantasy world there might be others who find in it something that inspires them to learn more.
      • A friend of mine is constantly annoyed that his son (who plays a lot of online games) would rather have Dad fix the problems than learn how to fix them himself.

        But what really annoys him is how his son was picking up racial/ethnic slurs as acceptable casual conversation.

      • by Ihmhi (1206036)

        Then we need to write a FOSS geek MMO.

        "Sweet, I just dinged Level FE! Next level and I get root access!"

    • Ah, pish-posh. I learned a lot about functioning in society from games. E.g.,

      - always roll "greed" on loot, unless you're going to equip it

      - keep your pet on passive in instances if you're a warlock or hunter

      - don't shoot if you're a priest,

      - whining and drama about epic loot are perfectly acceptable as smalltalk or to pass the time on an uneventful evening,

      - if your team wipes, it's _always_ the tank's fault, with the healer as a second best choice (if you're the tank,)

      - your level and/or tier of epic gear

      • by genner (694963)

        If your parents were foolish enough to give you a more archaic name like "John" or "Richard", have your name changed.

        Lies Richard is an awsome name.
        ,
        http://www.lfgcomic.com/ [lfgcomic.com]
        He's a roll model for all warlocks.

    • by Belial6 (794905)
      That line of thinking has annoyed me since I was a small child. When a kid doesn't spend a lot of time doing something, it is ADHD. When they do, it is obsession. Apparently the only thing that kids are allowed to spend overly large amounts of time at are sitting in classrooms and sports that get televised.

      Of course, then we marvel at the few kids that don't get hampered by this. Here is an interesting exercise. Read about anyone who has ever received a gold medal in figure skating. I can guarantee
      • by vux984 (928602)

        Seriously, if your kid is in school, he is going to spend the better part of 8 hours each day in "conventional social situations".

        Anyone who thinks school is a 'conventional social situation' needs a reality check.

        • by Belial6 (794905)
          That is why it is in quotes, but really, that is the environment that they are talking about when they said it. Most minors are rarely if ever exposed to what you or I would consider an actual 'conventional social situation'.
  • ...we should all keep a copy of the white paper.

    This is exactly the kind of response we need in our arsenal when smart-arsed technophobes badmouth our trade and leisure.

  • by bradgoodman (964302) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @02:12PM (#25835019) Homepage
    Who sponsored this study, Blizzard?!

    As a parent, techy and gamer - I hope no one is swallowing this load of tripe...

    If you want to teach your kids to socialize - have them go out and socialize, or socialize with them!!

    This is the kind of study that tells people what they want to hear.

    Hey! You parents that are sticking your kids on an XBox for 6 hours a day to shut them up: You're all doing a great job! Keep up the good work!!

    And for all you guys who live your lives gaming and never see the light of day - no, you're really the outgoing, social ones!

    I'm going to teach my kids to smoke - to help them build up their immunity to pollution...

    • by PainKilleR-CE (597083) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @02:47PM (#25835519)

      The study's not telling people to let their children sit in front of the computer or the TV for several hours a day, it's simply stating that some kids derive a benefit from online interactions, such as social networking sites and online games. This is one of those things that only requires a study because the media is so focused on the downside, when people spend most of their life online and lose perspective.

      Kids that become interested in the customization open to them on MySpace or WoW will learn some important skills, if they learn to apply them outside those environments. Certainly CSS and lua, along with general markup and scripting, are valuable outside of simple time-wasters.

      Hell, this time of year I never see the light of day because I go to work at dawn and go home at dusk, and I don't even work long shifts.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by VeNoM0619 (1058216)
      Excuse me? I learned my social skills and tech skills from ONLINE games.

      To actually say you do not learn social skills online, while online is a bit hypocritical...its like calling someone a nerd WHILE online.

      Sure, maybe some game industry is saying this, but I would rather have my kids online gaming, than; watching mindless TV, going outdoors and jumping off trees, joining a gang, hanging out with a pothead friend, etc.

      I do not have kids, and this is only my opinion though, but ONLINE gaming has taug
      • jumping off trees

        You kidding? this is great fun! And years later by great luck I've still never broken a bone.

    • While I agree with some of what you're saying, I do believe the study is unbiased and got its funding from a neutral source. The MacArthur foundation [macfound.org] has $7 billion worth of investments. It uses the money it makes each year from those investments to fund projects, non-profit organizations and studies like this one.

      No one on the board of directors has any overt or influential ties to the gaming industry, tech industry or social networking giants.

      I don't think the study is a load of tripe, but like you I do

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        As long as it's balanced with real life "social networking" online interaction is beneficial. But if the next generation of young people enter the real world knowing nothing but how to text each other, run a successful WoW raid and manage friends on Facebook, we're looking at an epidemic of cognitive dissonance.

        Social networking can be just as dysfunctional offline as online. Once again I see demonstrated a prejudice to the online world. I've found "real life" and the "real world" concepts that have epidemic cognitive dissonance associated with them. Variety is often nice and sometimes useful however. I've generally found the online world to be more intelligent and safer. One can at least turn off a computer, ignore or ban a Troll or bully; it's much more difficult in "real" life. At least when I was a kid parents

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by pnumoman (1348217)
      Why are you being so closed minded? By making sweeping generalizations, you are simply pulling a Jack Thompson. This study is not telling you to force your kid to play MMO's, nor is it telling you to let your kid play MMO's for hours on end. It is simply saying that there are benefits to playing MMO's that may not be readily apparent. It is not a parenting manual, nor is it purporting to be. Moderation and adaptability is always key in any child-rearing environment, and that is something that is sorely la
  • by TheNecromancer (179644) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @02:15PM (#25835051)

    1. Better/more productive interaction with trolls and orcs
    2. Able to dual wield weapons years earlier than other kids
    3. Greater self-esteem when leveling

    and most importantly...

    4. Able to talk to virtual characters of the female (elf, dwarf, whatever) persuasion!!

    • by D Ninja (825055) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @02:54PM (#25835635)

      4. Able to talk to virtual characters of the female (elf, dwarf, whatever) persuasion!!

      A Female Dwarf? A FEMALE DWARF?! Have you SEEN what they look like?!

      Dude...I was with you on that list until you said this. Then you just blew all your credibility.

      • I wasn't trying to comment on the attractiveness of female dwarfs. It was the next best choice of non-human races. Would you have reacted better if I had included orcs? Trolls? GNOMES?!?!????

  • Classic Slashdot (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rary (566291) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @02:32PM (#25835297)

    What follows is not a comment on the story, but a meta-comment. Feel free to mod as you wish.

    This is classic Slashdot. The story is tagged "suddenoutbreakofcommonsense". If the exact same study had come to the opposite conclusion (ie. online gaming and social networking is bad for kids), it would be tagged "correlationisnotcausation", and everyone would be trashing the methodology.

    Slashdot is funny. This is part of why I keep coming back here.

    • by bendodge (998616)

      This study, sponsored by Blizzard, is indeed full of bias. It's also summarized to make it sound like stuffing your kids in a video game all day is a good idea. I think the real results are that online interaction is good in moderation, as it improves typed communication and computer skills. Big shock.

      What I find more interesting is that some kids 'geek out'. I remember extracting and modifying the rules.ini files in numerous Command & Conquer games, as well as disassembling my PC for no reason. Does th

      • This study, sponsored by Blizzard, is indeed full of bias.

        You're a poor Troll and an outright liar. Blizzard had nothing to do with the study, and video games were only a marginal part of the study. Though I doubt you even bother to read the study or the Web site containing the summary.

        FYI the study involved "online gaming, creative writing, video editing, or other artistic endeavors" as well as "Self-Directed, Peer-Based [online] Learning" and "families who created digitial projects together". I don't remember Blizzard being mentioned in the credits, the copyrigh

    • by thepotoo (829391)

      That's not Slashdot, it's human nature in general.

      People want to be right, so when something comes out favoring your point of view, you tend to ignore potential problems with it. Having said that, I learned my tech skills due to gaming: I wanted the best power for the lowest cost, so I learned about home system building and overclocking. There you go, a study confirms my anecdotal evidence, and I tend to believe it.

      Slashdot [slashdot.org] has covered this before.

  • by ErichTheRed (39327) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @02:33PM (#25835317)

    I admit it, I'm an old geezer at 34. I write in complete sentences and check my spelling before sending out important communications. Most of my peers do not. I have seen many e-mails and other casual messages going out to our customers with tons of Web 2.0 speak in them.

    I understand the fact that the world is moving on and communication is getting less formal. After all, most people don't send out formal business memos anymore; they write e-mail and use IM software. However, I still think people need to be able to spell and write clearly. Exposing kids to more of the Web 2.0 stuff before teaching them how to write formally is just going to make things worse IMO. Feel free to disagree, but how many times have you gotten an e-mail from a co-worker with one or more of the following:

    • No upper-case characters
    • Incorrect or nonexistent punctuation
    • Misspellings, even of basic words
    • IM/text messaging shortened-spelling words

    I'm really just curious how much of my concern is due to the fact that I'm "between generations," and how much of it is the geriatric fool stuck in the 1980s/90s talking...

    And no, I'm not a grammar Nazi. Readable is just fine for me -- grammatically perfect is less of a concern.

    • by pandrijeczko (588093) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @03:06PM (#25835779)

      As someone at least 10 years your senior, I can tell you now that the crux of the matter when it comes to badly written communications is down to lack of patience and lack of attention span.

      If someone writes you a letter or sends you an email that is well-punctuated and (nearly) grammatically correct, then the chances are that you will take that communication more seriously than one that isn't, simply because somebody who has taken the trouble to capitalise and punctuate has probably given a lot of thought to what they want to say and how to say it before they even started to write it. Likewise, they've probably used the "Backspace" key a lot while writing it...

      For whatever reason, we're witnessing a disturbing trend in specifically the younger generation where many of its members seem to be far too busy to take the time to think about their actions or give the correct amount of time to doing something correctly. Here in the UK, this explains why there is so much more knife crime at the moment - not because the youngsters are necessarily intrinsically more violent but because they have neither the time nor inclination to exercise some self-control and think about the consequences of their actions before drawing that knife from their boot.

      That's the reason for badly written communications - there's no attempt to even *try* to get it grammatically correct because there's far too much else to be getting on with.

      As a 46 year old man with a mobile phone, I rarely text anyone because it takes me too damn long to do it! I'd rather call someone and speak to them directly rather than mess about on a phone keypad putting commas, capitals and full stops in the right places - and I refuse to use abbreviations and slang because, to me, it lessens the importance of what I am saying in it.


      • Here in the UK, this explains why there is so much more knife crime at the moment - not because the youngsters are necessarily intrinsically more violent but because they have neither the time nor inclination to exercise some self-control and think about the consequences of their actions before drawing that knife from their boot.

        I agree with much of your post, but this really doesn't explain what the kids were doing with a knife in their boot in the first place.

        • I take what you say except that someone that takes time to think about the consequences of his/her actions probably would decide to not carry a knife in the first place.

      • by syousef (465911)

        As a 46 year old man with a mobile phone, I rarely text anyone because it takes me too damn long to do it! I'd rather call someone and speak to them directly rather than mess about on a phone keypad putting commas, capitals and full stops in the right places - and I refuse to use abbreviations and slang because, to me, it lessens the importance of what I am saying in it.

        For reference I'm 33 and though I often fall short I try to use correct formal English where the situation demands it. (Also for reference

      • by fabs64 (657132)

        Too Long; Did Not Read

      • Your comment is a cliche that is older than Jesus. Technology changes but old people still have the same prejudices.

    • by AioKits (1235070)
      I try my best to present to others some form of readable approximation of my thoughts. I spell check for words I am unsure of, and try to stick to the rules of grammar for the English language. I remember that what you say is just as important as how you say it. I do this because, especially in this day and age, it is far more likely someone will have read something you wrote prior to ever meeting you.
    • I really hate the way bosses leave out pronouns, as to sound more busy. "Can't talk now... Need you to call..." How much time do they save leaving out such big words like, "I" and "you"? But yes, you are on point.
    • I'm the same age and what most annoys me most is the constant use of the wrong words. So many people seem to think they just have to avoid the spell-checking software underlining anything in red to indicate their words are correct.
      "I think your wrong", "to efficiency grow our data center", etc.
      Using "your" instead of "you are" - or its contraction "you're" - is especially annoying because it's such a common mistake that it confuses some people into thinking it is actually the correct word.

      • Rule #47 of the internet: When making any complaint about spelling, grammar, or word usage, you must make at least one mistake yourself.
    • Everything you talk about has to do with poor schooling and poor workplace training and management. Web 2.0 does not teach people to be uneducated.

  • by Millennium (2451) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @02:40PM (#25835419) Homepage

    Moderation is key. Online gaming and social networks have a nasty habit of eating people (metaphorically, of course). That needs to be prevented. But as long as they're in moderation, carefully balanced with other activities (and more to the point, activity) and monitored for safety, then these things can indeed be great learning tools for children.

    • What counts as moderation? I have no problem with my kids playing Warcraft from 8-5 in the Summer (when they aren't in school). That still leaves several day light hours to play football and ride bikes, and reading can be done in the evening as well. I'm 39, but young enough to admit I spent pretty much all day/every day in the 1980s playing Arcade Consoles, and Commodore 64 and Atari 2600 games. So the inferred generation gap is quickly disappearing. Soon enough we will all have been raised on video ga
    • by trawg (308495)

      Moderation is key. Online gaming and social networks have a nasty habit of eating people (metaphorically, of course). That needs to be prevented. But as long as they're in moderation, carefully balanced with other activities (and more to the point, activity) and monitored for safety, then these things can indeed be great learning tools for children.

      It's an interesting challenge though trying to figure out what moderation is acceptable.

      I'd have no problems with my kids (I don't have any, these are hypothetical kids, like the hypothetical sex I'd have to be having) playing 4 hours of team sport a day. I know they'd be outside, in the fresh air, getting excercise, learning team-building skills, with their friends, interacting in a (presumably) safe and monitored environment.

      I would have problems with kids spending the same amount of time in front of WoW

  • In other news today, Jenny Tildwell and Brock Johnson, both sixth-graders, broke up on Facebook in the late afternoon, between seventh and eight period. A rampaging horde of schoolchildren across the country, composed of Jenny and Brock's entire extended networks, clogged the tubes to post, twitter, stream, or otherwise network their personal reactions to this saucy development. The internet promptly refused to put up with that shit and died. "We accidentally the whole internet," said one fifth grader, s
  • My son is learning to type by entering in his favorite cheat codes for Jedi Academy. For the longest time I've had to put them in for him, but recently I decided to have him do it and now he's all over it. Having fun and learning a new skill at the same time. Who'd a thunk it?
  • I don't think this is a good idea at ALL. I agree with gaming, but allowing kids to use social networking websites??? That sounds bad. Very bad.

    There goes the REAL computer geek generation, I guess. Now all the kids will be on MySpace for hours making their profiles look pretty by jamming so many random CSS stylesheets and Flash music players that automatically play at full blast (most of whom probably don't even know what "CSS" stands for)...

    MySpace has to be one of the most horrible websites out there - f

    • There goes the REAL computer geek generation, I guess. Now all the kids will be on MySpace for hours making their profiles look pretty by jamming so many random CSS stylesheets and Flash music players that automatically play at full blast (most of whom probably don't even know what "CSS" stands for)...

      As somebody who works in Computer Education, I can tell you that you are completely missing the point. It's not what you know about the technology, it's what you can do with it. If that means a student has no idea what CSS means, yet puts together a great myspace page, so be it. They are a much bigger success than the geek kid who writes code in his sleep but uses purple text on a blue background.

    • by genner (694963)

      Web 2.0 took intelligence out of using the Internet. Gone are the days where you needed to KNOW something about computers to make websites or post content to the Internet. Now ANYONE can make a MySpace profile or blog....

      Yeah I miss the awsome quality sites we used to have on angelfire and geocities.

      • I miss the blinking text and death metal that used to load up. Now a days kids are too stupid to make good quality sites like that.

  • by CorporateSuit (1319461) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @03:07PM (#25835785)
    Youth is not a renewable resource. It's finite. They have 24 hours in every day, and what they spend their time doing eliminates the ability to spend that time doing something better. When you see girls quitting their ballet classes because they want to sit on Myspace for all 8 hours of their free time, that's not socially healthy. When kids don't want to go out and play football because "It's easier to just play Madden, and it doesn't hurt!" that's not healthy either. Every hour they spend sitting on their social networking sites is syphoned from the time they could be speaking to people face to face, doing homework (or engaging in some other form of learning), doing ANYTHING outside, or doing anything constructive.

    Even the study mentions obsessive, addicted individuals with a smile and a wink thinking it's cute that:

    two dating 17-year olds ... wake up and immediately instant message each other, then switch to mobile phones while on route to campus, then send text messages during class. After spending time together doing homework, they talk on the phone or send text messages

    Yes, videogames and social networking can be good things for kids -- in restricted moderation, but they have to be just a supplement to physical and cognitive-developmental activities -- not the overarching structure of their entire lives. It's sickening to see people spend all their time on sites doing absolutely nothing, wondering why everyone's getting fat, lonely, depressed, and socially anxious. Moderation needs to be brought to people's lives, and not through oversaturation (I can only spend x number of minutes doing this, because I have to do x number of other things today!) but through self discipline (I'm spending x number of minutes doing this, because there are better things I could be doing with my time.... but I deserve this break.)

    • Call me a no good whipper snapper but I don't see the problem in the quote you've supplied. Nor do I see the problem in someone quitting one activity for another they prefer, even if you don't like it. Further to the point what is so special about doing things "outside" and so wasteful about doing those same things infront of a computer? Is it just your upbringing that causes you to expect kids to want to do what you want to do, or simply a social expectation? Because such thinking appears to have no ra
      • Further to the point what is so special about doing things "outside" and so wasteful about doing those same things infront of a computer? Is it just your upbringing that causes you to expect kids to want to do what you want to do, or simply a social expectation? Because such thinking appears to have no rational basis in real life.

        You're apparently unaware that exercise keeps people fit, and it's healthy to be fit. Going outside greatly increases the chances of one participating in at least mild-to-moderate exercise. Kids going outside greatly increase the chances of moderate-to-vigorous exercise. You're obviously not a parent. You're obviously not involved with kids. When we went to school, there was one fat kid in the entire grade, and they were known as "The Fat Kid" -- now 30-60% of children are obese. Trading all physical

        • Who the hell says they're not going to exercise? I apparently missed that in the summary.

          Also, don't apply your country's twinky infatuation to the world. We're just fine down here, thanks.
        • by tnk1 (899206)

          I think its wrong to call what is happening with kids an "addiction" in the same way that drugs cause a physical addiction.

          Kids don't play games because some addictive force is making them play games, they are playing games because its just as much fun without any of the effort.

          No kid is dumb enough to believe that playing Madden is just like playing NFL football, or even JV football. And what is wrong with not wanting to get yourself injured so that you can have fun in a game?

          Going outside makes you exerc

          • That's just it though. Exercise, for kids, shouldn't be a task. They should be running around playing cops and robbers or pretending they're ponies or picking up sticks and fighting trees like they were monsters. They could be jumproping, hopscotching, playing tag, playing basketball, football, 4-square, walking and talking, wrestling, it doesn't matter. When did going outside become something kids HAD to do instead of something they WANTED to do all day? Well, yeah, there's winter for those of you in
            • It's healthy for boys to bloody each other up now and again. It's healthy for girls to get some real world attention instead of having to whore it out from faceless crowds of the blogotron.

              and

              Saying that spending 8 hours a day messaging their friends on facespace is helping them develop skills for a technical world is 100% bullshit, and you should be mature enough to recognize that -- just like how watching TV for 8 hours a day won't turn anyone into an electrical engineer or media executive. It will build up the skill of wasting your life away much faster than it will build any of the other skills that might be fertilized by what that media type has to offer.

              etc, etc.

              Every time you say something you are not just Trolling, you are showing off your ignorance and lack of intelligence. You probably have no idea that you portray yourself as just another ignorant asshole. I've met people like you before and quite frankly I think you are a hopeless case.

        • Instead of commenting on each and every logical fallacy that you brought up I will just give you a suggestion; educate yourself before saying anything, and after spending time learning about child psychology, logic, communication, sociology, and English skills I want you to review everything you say at least three times before saying it. Try to find and correct any fallacious statements on your own before people like me notice them. In real life most people won't point out your foibles but will just let you

    • by brkello (642429)
      Youth IS a renewable resource. If I want more youth I just get together with a girl and make one. As long as the planet is inhabitable by use, youth will last forever (and probably be doing crap that we don't approve of).
    • When you see girls quitting their ballet classes because they want to sit on Myspace for all 8 hours of their free time, that's not socially healthy.

      Wrong. Wasting time with ballet is socially unhealthy. Not only is ballet (or other "sports") incompatible with any type of quality or intelligent communication, ballet itself is very unnatural and harmful to the feet.

      When kids don't want to go out and play football because "It's easier to just play Madden, and it doesn't hurt!" that's not healthy either.

      Ironic that you mentioned football because that is one of the most physically unhealthy sports that children (and adults) can do. If you think pain is healthy and you actually get modded up for these type of comments it really depresses me because it demonstrates how backwards our society is.

      Every hour they spend sitting on their social networking sites is syphoned from the time they could be speaking to people face to face, doing homework (or engaging in some other form of learning), doing ANYTHING outside, or doing anything constructive.

      W

  • Yeah this week's study is about how online gaming within a game and your peer group is generally good for your development. Next week's study will be about the evils of allowing your kids unstructured online gaming within their peer group as they learn behaviors that parents, educators, or "others" don't like kids learning of or about, or doing.

  • by Duncan Blackthorne (1095849) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @03:20PM (#25835947)
    I'm most emphatically not one of the "think of the children!" asshats, but all I can think, is that amidst a growing problem with childhood obesity and general disconnectedness from reality, we want to encourage kids to sit in front of a computer more than they already do? Instead of, say, something completely radical and outlandish, like, say, going outside, doing something physical, and maybe interacting with live, real children their own age??!? Quick, somebody do the research, find out which (or how many) of the game companies these people were paid by to do this so-called "study".
    • As if joining a group and doing a quest in World of Warcraft doesn't count as interacting with real people? And what's the point of restricting a kid's interaction to children of his or her own age? We don't want our children to learn how to interact with people NOT their age?
      • Don't be so damned literal. "Children in their own age group", or "Their peers", if you prefer.
        You can't really try to argue to me that online interaction through some MMORPG is as good or better than interacting with people in person? Like they're going to have to do, say, in school and in the workplace? You must simply be a troll.
        • There are benefits to interacting outside of your peer group, regardless of whether it's via the Internet, e-mail, MMORPG, mail, telephone, in person, etc. That's all I'm saying (not trolling). I also clearly am NOT stating that MMORPG is better (or worse for that matter) than interaction with people in person. It is merely different. And to discount the importance of interaction via the Internet is old-fashioned and bordering on being a neophyte. It is a new reality that we can't just keep sweeping un
        • Like they're going to have to do, say, in school and in the workplace? You must simply be a troll.

          A Troll referring to a reasonable argument as a Troll. You offer no proof that physical face to face interaction is better than online interaction and yet you comment as if you were an expert.

    • Why would you want children to do that?
    • Quick, somebody do the research, find out which (or how many) of the game companies these people were paid by to do this so-called "study".

      The only comment I have here is that it is amazing how many Trolls in this discussion get modded up. And yes like I pointed out to another Troll this study has virtually nothing to do with gaming and it wasn't sponsored by game companies. But like most unintelligent Trolls you probably didn't even look at the study before commenting on it.

  • I don't buy it. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MaWeiTao (908546) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @03:26PM (#25836029)

    I don't believe this at all. Having played a number of online games dabbled in social networking somewhat I fail to see where the real benefit is, as described in this article. There still exists that barrier of anonymity and there is no real interaction with another human being. There's no eye contact, reading body language or a general need for considering the other persons thoughts and feelings.

    Want to teach children communications skills. Hold big family gatherings where adults and children are all interacting with each other. Well, one problem I've encountered with many American families is that at gatherings children are usually segregated off to their own corner, relegated to the children's table.

    I've observed this with friends and within my own family, kids are interact with real people on a regular basis tend to be more outgoing and mature. The kids and teenagers I know who are into gaming and networking either seem to always be in their own worlds at these gatherings. They either run off to the bedroom and sit in front of the computer, or they're sitting in some corner tapping away on a phone.

    On a side note, I've noticed this tendency where whenever research demonstrates something positive about gaming it's embraced wholeheartedly. Whenever it shows something negative it's strongly dismissed as nonsense; the tag correlationnotcausation seems to be quite popular for those stories.

  • Argh (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Windwraith (932426)

    Hello no! I have already seen the detrimental effects of MMORPGS and other online games into adult's personalities, I don't even want to know what can happen to a kid.
    Was the one in charge of this study a level 90 Paladin?

  • ...emphasis mine. It sounds like any measured positive benefit is still in the noise band.

  • O rly? (Score:2, Funny)

    by Trevin (570491)

    ... teaching them basic technical skills and how to communicate in the Information Age.

    Is socl netwkng goin to teach them essntl comm skls lik speling and crct gramar?

    IDTS

  • by Merc248 (1026032) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @04:16PM (#25836747) Homepage

    I had a computer ever since I was five or six, and I played tons of old DOS games while figuring out, with my dad, how to make autoexec.bat + config.sys boot disks in order to play certain games. It came to a point where I would much rather stay in my room and play video games rather than playing tag football or anything else outside with kids around my neighborhood.

    Fast forward a few years, and I find myself struggling like crazy trying to relate to anyone on a personal level, up until my second or third year of college. Since much of college, at least in my experience, had to do with interaction with other people, I ended up losing a lot of confidence and went through the shitter for a while. I finally realized after a while that I had to force myself to interact with people: I started going to a coffee shop after I transferred schools and interacted with as many people as I could, while being hooped up on Zoloft in order to get rid of my social anxiety. Then eventually, I overcame my fear and am now fairly comfortable around people.

    Now, of course this is all anecdotal evidence that could also possibly point to the benefits of FIRST being a socially inept geek, THEN learning how to socialize and having the best of both worlds. However, I also had the benefit of having parents encouraging me to socialize as much as possible while being somewhat understanding of me wanting to just stay at home, and I also had the benefit of growing up with computers back when they were starting to become popular (so it wasn't totally infeasible for someone else in the block to have a computer), but also back when you had to have motivation to get things to work properly.

    Nowadays, Web 2.0 hands people the power to publish blogs, websites, etc. with almost no effort, and any drive to learn HTML / CSS / etc. is limited by the mere fact that most functionality is already implemented MUCH BETTER than what an average person can probably do. That, and most kids nowadays probably don't know any DOS games (and even if they did, they probably played it through DOSBox, which makes things infinitely easier than before.)

  • Show me one school that will take the time to monitor what kids are learning online... they won't, it's boring for the teachers / monitors and they'd much rather shut it all down rather than take the chance that a 7th grader will pull up a picture showing a nipple, or maybe learn how to trade (illegal) .mp3 files, or find the instructions on how to build a pipe bomb.

    The teachers are outnumbered and under-motivated to oversee any kind of free-form dynamic interaction between students and the real world. Th

  • I'm an 'internet geek' - I've been using PC's since I was 12 (30 now)
    I have certainly enjoyed the internet and BBS's but human to human interaction is also damned important.

    I would strongly recommend some kind of activity involving outdoor excercise and genuine socialising, I can assure you my social skills on the internet can be funny and entertaining but my real life social skills are weak at best.

    Get them out there, I wish I got out more.
    (eats another twinkie)

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