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Study Recommends Online Gaming, Social Networking For Kids

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the seeing-the-writing-on-the-wall dept.

Social Networks 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."

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189 comments

I've got to get my glasses fixed. I read... (3, Funny)

starglider29a (719559) | more than 5 years ago | (#25834905)

Online Gambling

Re:I've got to get my glasses fixed. I read... (4, Funny)

gnick (1211984) | more than 5 years ago | (#25834929)

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

Re:I've got to get my glasses fixed. I read... (3, Interesting)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#25835221)

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.

Re:I've got to get my glasses fixed. I read... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25835403)

If by "statistics" you mean lies and damn lies, then yes, since they comprise 90% of online interaction.

Uhhh... no. ::WHOOSH::
If you don't get the relationship between gambling and statistics,
I've got a card game I'd like to introduce you to.

Re:I've got to get my glasses fixed. I read... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25836965)

Meatspace 9, wasn't that Trek themed Gay porn?

Quick! (1)

Spazztastic (814296) | more than 5 years ago | (#25834927)

How long until some person interjects claiming that this will increase the amount of child abductions that are caused by online relationships?

Think positively ;) (3, Funny)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 5 years ago | (#25835017)

Well, think positively: if someone abducts your child in an online game and takes them into the depths of some dungeon, chances are your kid will only need to use his hearthstone to teleport back to the inn ;)

Plus, if it's a raid dungeon, they'll probably argue about loot and split up sooner or later anyway ;)

Re:Think positively ;) (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25835093)

In on-line games, child abductors get pwned by YOU!

Computer game marketeers take note.

Re:Quick! How long before police and health (0, Offtopic)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 5 years ago | (#25835929)

organizations begin to describe it as a "gateway addiction" like the police describe marijuana as a "gateway drug"?

Sounds About Right (4, Insightful)

osfancy (877444) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:Sounds About Right (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25835069)

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.

N000B! FUCK YOU!

Re:Sounds About Right (5, Funny)

osfancy (877444) | more than 5 years ago | (#25835341)

A good example to illustrate my point. I imagine that the only real world social interaction that you experience is rubbing up against people in line waiting to buy a new role playing game.

Re:Sounds About Right (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25835439)

A good example to illustrate my point. I imagine that the only real world social interaction that you experience is rubbing up against people in line waiting to buy a new role playing game.

N000B! FUCK YOU!

Re:Sounds About Right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25835759)

A good example to illustrate my point. I imagine that the only real world social interaction that you experience is rubbing up against people in line waiting to buy a new role playing game.

N000B! FUCK YOU!

N000B! FUCK YOU!

Re:Sounds About Right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25836859)

A good example to illustrate my point. I imagine that the only real world social interaction that you experience is rubbing up against people in line waiting to buy a new role playing game.

N000B! FUCK YOU!

N000B! FUCK YOU!

N000B! FUCK YOU!

Re:Sounds About Right (1)

xonar (1069832) | more than 5 years ago | (#25835817)

That Anonymous Coward is either the smartest dumb person, or the dumbest smart person I've ever seen.

Re:Sounds About Right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25836793)

you experience is rubbing up against people

PICS or it didn't happen!!!!1

Re:Sounds About Right (3, Interesting)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 5 years ago | (#25835165)

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.

Re:Sounds About Right (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#25835401)

I fail to see how anyone could become so obsessed with online gaming and social networking that they would become socially inadequate... sorry, BRB, my mom's yelling at me from the top of the basement stairs...

Re:Sounds About Right (4, Insightful)

0racle (667029) | more than 5 years ago | (#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:Sounds About Right (2, Insightful)

osfancy (877444) | more than 5 years ago | (#25835525)

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.

Re:Sounds About Right (0, Flamebait)

0racle (667029) | more than 5 years ago | (#25835711)

If simply using the tool lead in any way to understanding, or simply wishing to understand, by now we would have a ton of mechanics, telecom technicians and electricians. Each of these professions deal with something that just about everyone alive in the western world in a position to need to learn a profession has used for all of their lives. The reason their aren't is because simply using your car, phone and electricity teaches you nothing just as using a computer teaches you nothing because the actual details as to how they work have been carefully hidden away from the end user. Those that do go out to become mechanics, technicians, electricians and what not do so because the wanted to outside of any use of the device/service.

Re:Sounds About Right (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25836091)

If simply using the tool lead in any way to understanding, or simply wishing to understand, by now we would have a ton of mechanics, telecom technicians and electricians.

You seem to have missed the GP's point (I admit, it wasn't a very well written statement). They're not saying using a tool will cause you to become interested in it, but using a tool can cause interest in it. You're claiming he said the former, while they really said the later. And the later point is true. Your point is also true, except it has nothing to do about arguing against the GP.

Second data point. (1)

khasim (1285) | more than 5 years ago | (#25835885)

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.

Re:Sounds About Right (1)

xonar (1069832) | more than 5 years ago | (#25835895)

What I would do would be to give them an annoyingly small hard drive to begin with (say, 20gb or so), and leave a "nice" 80gb drive and a screwdriver on their desk and let them figure it out.

I did the same thing myself, except I was replacing a 3gb drive with a 6gb drive...

Re:Sounds About Right (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 5 years ago | (#25836913)

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 (1)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 5 years ago | (#25835513)

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 are an accurate measurement of human worth and penis size, so you'll want to print them on your business card. Unless, of course, you're less than the maximum level, in which case you'll want to claim "I have 5 level 80's" instead.

- as a corolary, anything that gets between you and that epic gear is a bad thing, and should not be tolerated. (Lest people start thinking you're an underachiever or even gay.) Upon reaching the max level in some friendly guild that helped you since level 1, you should immediately (A) demand it kicks out everyone lower level and transforms into a raiding guild, or failing that (B) immediately leave the guild and start looking for a raiding guild,

- especially on RP server, you should keep in character and use the same language fitting the game's setting that everyone else uses. Examples include, "LOL, l2p n00b!!!", "asl???", "r u a grl???" and "soz m8 g2g, gt skewl 2moz" (I swear I've actually heard that one on COH.)

- especially in a RP guild and on the guild's channels, all stuff that doesn't belong in the game world should be placed between double brackets, like this, "(( ur computer suks ))". In _heavy_ RP guilds, doubly so. If in doubt, you can tell you're in a heavy RP guild or group if everything is in double brackets, and the last time you remember seeing something said without brackets was last July.

- all social situations worth role-playing through involve beating up someone weaker, or public foreplay,

- your name is the first thing anyone will see or hear about you, and your first chance to make an impression. Good, in-character names include, "l0rDn00bKilla", "Backdoor Girl" or "Faemale Shaemale". (All real names off MMOs, although some of them really short lived.) If your parents were foolish enough to give you a more archaic name like "John" or "Richard", have your name changed.

Re:Ah, pish-posh (1)

genner (694963) | more than 5 years ago | (#25837239)

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.

Re:Sounds About Right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25836147)

However, we probably don't want them to become obsessed with these kinds of interactions and become completely inadequate in conventional social situations.

Which ones? The MMO types where people frequently blow off real world interactions so they can run a dungeon?

Or the competitive types where anonymity allows one to be an insufferable, foul-mouthed, usually racist prick?

Both seem quite counter-intuitive to improving the social prowess of a kid.

lol (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25834961)

It takes a study to confirm what anyone growing up in the 90's already knows. :P

Gaming is great for my son. (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#25834991)

We played Age of Mythology, and now he runs around with toy swords stabbing everything he sees. Yep, that worked out real well.

Re:Gaming is great for my son. (2, Funny)

dyingtolive (1393037) | more than 5 years ago | (#25835235)

Its far better than dressing in tight clothes, playing with dolls and being sensitive.

Re:Gaming is great for my son. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25835695)

Well played sir, well played

This will be forgotten by next year... (1)

wild_quinine (998562) | more than 5 years ago | (#25835003)

...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.

Re:This will be forgotten by next year... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25835117)

The only thing this white paper really says is that kids who use technology are good at interacting with others who use the same technology.

Telling you what you want to hear (5, Insightful)

bradgoodman (964302) | more than 5 years ago | (#25835019)

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...

Re:Telling you what you want to hear (4, Informative)

PainKilleR-CE (597083) | more than 5 years ago | (#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:Telling you what you want to hear (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25836335)

Mod parent up!

If the alternative were actual in-person social activities, it might be a net loss . . . but this is what happens when at home - and gaming >> TV for social interaction as well as mental stimulation. Even an FPS involves some thinking and maybe even planning, while watching even an educational program is essentially passive.

Re:Telling you what you want to hear (2, Informative)

VeNoM0619 (1058216) | more than 5 years ago | (#25835549)

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 taught me more useful tech skills and how to socialize with people from different age groups and countries fairly well. If I just so happened to hang out with my friends in school (which I did on rare occasions) learning how to socialize from them, I would have turned into racists like them.

Re:Telling you what you want to hear (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25835899)

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

Yeah...you still need to work on your social skills and catch up to the 21st century. Maybe you didn't turn into a racist but you definitely still have at least one outdated prejudice.

Re:Telling you what you want to hear (1)

VeNoM0619 (1058216) | more than 5 years ago | (#25836367)

You're right, I'll work on my skills. Like posting anonymously when attempting to insult someone's social skills showing lack of responsibility and fear of voicing one's opinion.

And making an analogy, that's another no-no, because I can't see what "prejudice" that quote has. Perhaps you would like to use your 21st century superior social skills and explain what's wrong with my comment, and why you think that way. Not that you will followup on an AC post, but I will thank you for your time and effort.

Re:Telling you what you want to hear (1)

genner (694963) | more than 5 years ago | (#25837271)

but you definitely still have at least one outdated prejudice.

As opposed to your fancy new ones?

Study funders (1)

Jabbrwokk (1015725) | more than 5 years ago | (#25836287)

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 don't think we should all rush to plop our kids in front of a computer screen and sign them up in Second Life/WoW because "it's educational!" At best it's edutainment or inspires some kids who were already technically inclined to learn more.

This is what I think is the most important lesson from the study:

"It concludes that learning today is becoming increasingly peer-based and networked, and this is important to consider as we begin to re-imagine education in the 21st century." (Connie Yowell, Ph.D., Director of Education at the MacArthur Foundation)

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.

Re:Telling you what you want to hear (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25836333)

The MacArthur Foundation long ago devolved into an engine of cultural Marxisism (see Antonio Gramsci). I wouldn't trust anything they say. Teaching kids teh gay is a priority of theirs and no doubt thats a reason they like the social sites and the proselytising that goes on there "In addition to its support of radical environmentalism, the MacArthur Foundation funds groups that advocate gun control, juvenile justice reform, alternatives to incarceration for criminals, low-rent housing for the poor, radical feminist causes, gay rights, and "community change" initiatives to counter America's allegedly rampant racism, sexism, classism, and homophobia. Further, it supports organizations that oppose Social Security privatization, school choice, and the U.S. military's development of an anti-missile defense system." http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/funderProfile.asp?fndid=5223 [discoverthenetworks.org]

The Real News (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25835021)

Forget about this throwaway study. The real news to me is that Blue's News is still around. I haven't read them since I still played Quake 2!

Additional Social Benefits... (4, Funny)

TheNecromancer (179644) | more than 5 years ago | (#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!!

Re: Additional ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25835215)

slash troll troll?

Re:Additional Social Benefits... (3, Funny)

D Ninja (825055) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:Additional Social Benefits... (1)

TheNecromancer (179644) | more than 5 years ago | (#25835765)

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?!?!????

Re:Additional Social Benefits... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25837251)

Gnome chicks are hotter than Dwarfs. And depending on the system Trolls and halflings aren't too bad.
Never understood the atraction of elf girls, or furries. The former is too skinny and the later to hairy.

Orc gals are down right scary, though.

Re:Additional Social Benefits... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25835997)

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

After all, talking to men pretending to be women is an important social skill! You never know when you might run into a trannie in real life!

Conclusions don't exactly mact methodology (1)

silvershade (861788) | more than 5 years ago | (#25835199)

This seems like a good study but it has one major flaw. The authors are generalizing the results of the study to the entire population, "youth." However they used a qualitative research approach which does not allow for generalization. Moreover, there is insufficient description of who actually participated in the study and how these people were recruited for the study to allow readers to make their own generalizations. I think the results of the study are good, the authors just need to be more careful about drawing sweeping inferences from them.

Re:Conclusions don't exactly mact methodology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25835551)

For a minority of children, the casual use of social media served as a springboard to them gaining technological expertise

Am I the only one that saw this? How exactly does a minority of children make this gospel?

Need more video gaming, not less! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25835249)

When I'm behind drivers that stare at green lights for 4 seconds or more, or wait for multi-block-long gaps in traffic before pulling out, I think to myself, we need MORE video gaming, not less. Most drivers' reaction times are in the one-second-plus range...

Classic Slashdot (4, Insightful)

Rary (566291) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:Classic Slashdot (1)

bendodge (998616) | more than 5 years ago | (#25835971)

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 that count?

Re:Classic Slashdot (1)

thepotoo (829391) | more than 5 years ago | (#25836115)

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.

Seriously? (Oh, wait..."srsly omfg!!!") (5, Interesting)

ErichTheRed (39327) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:Seriously? (Oh, wait..."srsly omfg!!!") (4, Insightful)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:Seriously? (Oh, wait..."srsly omfg!!!") (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25835963)

That's why my favorite text acronym is "tisjfcm", which is "This is stupid, just f'n call me"

Re:Seriously? (Oh, wait..."srsly omfg!!!") (1)

BCGlorfindel (256775) | more than 5 years ago | (#25836105)


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.

Re:Seriously? (Oh, wait..."srsly omfg!!!") (1)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 5 years ago | (#25836199)

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.

Re:Seriously? (Oh, wait..."srsly omfg!!!") (1)

AioKits (1235070) | more than 5 years ago | (#25836171)

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.

Re:Seriously? (Oh, wait..."srsly omfg!!!") (1)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 5 years ago | (#25836561)

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.

Re:Seriously? (Oh, wait..."srsly omfg!!!") (1)

Danny Rathjens (8471) | more than 5 years ago | (#25836853)

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.

Re:Seriously? (Oh, wait..."srsly omfg!!!") (1)

Danny Rathjens (8471) | more than 5 years ago | (#25836893)

Rule #47 of the internet: When making any complaint about spelling, grammar, or word usage, you must make at least one mistake yourself.

Adjusting the software code (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25835369)

"some children learned to adjust the software code underpinning some of the video games they played" Am I the only one who thought of game cracks, or something like the San Andreas debacle, when I read that sentence? I don't have a problem with kids adjusting the code of the games they play, but in some circles those things are thought to be illegal. I'm sure that angle will come out shortly. Then we'll have a whole new reason to Protect The Children from the internet!

Everything in moderation (3, Insightful)

Millennium (2451) | more than 5 years ago | (#25835419)

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.

Re:Everything in moderation (1)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 5 years ago | (#25836689)

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 games.

Re:Everything in moderation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25836927)

Who likes to deal in, or think about, moderation? Extremes only! Black and white, no gray! You're either a technophobe or anti-social nerd!

Unintended side effects (2, Funny)

GMonkeyLouie (1372035) | more than 5 years ago | (#25835595)

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, showcasing what was either a working knowledge of internet memes or the total and utter failure of the public school system's English language instruction. Neither Jenny nor Brock could be reached for comment, but the sharp increase in the amount of Facebook wall posts made by Brock on the profile of one Pearl Jaysberg, eighth-grader, seems to indicate that the drama is only beginning to come to a boil. We have been assured that the entire goddamn school will keep us updated.

Learning typing from cheat codes (2, Interesting)

Brian_E_1971 (1311787) | more than 5 years ago | (#25835679)

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?

WTF!? Recommending Web 2.0 to kids? (1)

Doug52392 (1094585) | more than 5 years ago | (#25835777)

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 - from it's horrible "Security", to the bloated advertisements taking up over half of every page. And this study recommends these sites for kids...

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....

Re:WTF!? Recommending Web 2.0 to kids? (1)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 5 years ago | (#25836825)

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.

Re:WTF!? Recommending Web 2.0 to kids? (1)

genner (694963) | more than 5 years ago | (#25837289)

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.

Eating candy healthier than drinking poison! (2, Interesting)

CorporateSuit (1319461) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.)

Re:Eating candy healthier than drinking poison! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25836651)

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.

Dressing up little girls in skimpy outfits & having them parade around in front of a bunch of pedophiles is not exactly socially healthy either.

Re:Eating candy healthier than drinking poison! (1)

duckInferno (1275100) | more than 5 years ago | (#25837115)

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 rational basis in real life.

Re:Eating candy healthier than drinking poison! (1)

CorporateSuit (1319461) | more than 5 years ago | (#25837389)

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 activities for sitting and staring is unhealthy. Sacrificing something you like because you're addicted to something else is unhealthy. Self discipline is healthy. Before you start harping that sitting in front of a computer all day and doing nothing but eating and sleeping besides that can be construed as "healthy" for a developmental youngster, I suggest you look up any study ever made, EVER, on exercise's effects on the human body.

Just wait for next week's study... (1)

kabocox (199019) | more than 5 years ago | (#25835805)

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.

Bad Study AGAIN posted on /. (1)

kingsteve612 (1241114) | more than 5 years ago | (#25835883)

If the kids spent the time actually studying various IT subjects that they spend playing various online games, they would be smarter and probably know how to do more than "troubleshoot" hardware. kids can adjust game code now? Wow, and they learned that from playing WoW? I guess i should play more WoW then, i could use some programming classes.

You've GOT to be KIDDING (2, Insightful)

Duncan Blackthorne (1095849) | more than 5 years ago | (#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".

Re:You've GOT to be KIDDING (1)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 5 years ago | (#25836925)

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?

Re:You've GOT to be KIDDING (1)

Duncan Blackthorne (1095849) | more than 5 years ago | (#25837361)

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.

I don't buy it. (3, Interesting)

MaWeiTao (908546) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Really?!?! Have you heard what they're saying? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25836269)

I read TFA (but not the white paper - BNTWP?) and one thing I would be interested in is how they quantify "beneficial" gaming and social networking. I don't know firsthand, but my co-workers have told me that they are often mortified/embarrassed by the profanity that the kids are using during their online gaming (they don't mention IMing, I'm assuming it's on par). Yes, the kids may have gaming friends from foreign countries, but if most of their "networking" is along the lines of "DIE, C*&KSU&%KER" as they shoot it out... Anyone else?

Re:Really?!?! Have you heard what they're saying? (1)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 5 years ago | (#25837139)

My son has been reported twice for swearing and I get a nice little email from Blizzard with a transcript of the conversation. I showed him that he was busted and if it happened again, he wouldn't play again. And if he got my account banned and I can't play my guy, I'm gonna kick his f"@#$*ing a$$.

For the record, the swearing was relatively tame. My son learned, however, that even though we have more relaxed standards in our home, that society has standards we are expected to follow. The prospect of losing his Warcraft account for calling somebody a dick (probably heard me call somebody a dick while driving down the highway) was a good lesson for him.

Argh (2, Interesting)

Windwraith (932426) | more than 5 years ago | (#25836417)

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?

"For a MINORITY of children, the CASUAL USE.." (1)

White Flame (1074973) | more than 5 years ago | (#25836425)

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

O rly? (2, Funny)

Trevin (570491) | more than 5 years ago | (#25836633)

... 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

My own account that seem to deny the findings (3, Interesting)

Merc248 (1026032) | more than 5 years ago | (#25836747)

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.)

dicjk (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25837201)

of busin[ess and by BSDI who s,ell future at all juggernaut either
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