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Internet Safety Gone Wild?: Sacrificing the Educational and Psychosocial Benefits of Online Social Environments

NCJ Number
Journal of Adolescent Research Volume: 22 Issue: 6 Dated: November 2007 Pages: 575-584
Brendesha M. Tynes
Date Published
November 2007
10 pages
This paper contends that the potential benefits of online social networking far outweigh the negative aspects and that alternative strategies are available for keeping young people safe online.
As teens prepare to enter the adult social world, online social environments provide training wheels, allowing young people to practice interaction with others in the safety of their homes. Educators should try to provide a balanced view of this process. Rather than sensationalizing the dangers, we need to educate parents about the positive aspects of the Internet, as well as about necessary precautions that they and their adolescents can take. Banning social networking sites is unnecessary and would close off adolescents’ access to an important space in which to meet their developmental and educational needs. Many Internet safety and parenting experts suggest that parents prohibit their teens from social networking sites and other online spaces where predators may lurk. But, this may be doing adolescents a disservice when their participation in these spaces is curtailed, because the educational and psychosocial benefits of this type of communication can far outweigh the potential dangers. The benefits include developing cognitive skills and perspective-taking skills, skills that are necessary for citizenship. This paper argues that the restricting of online social environments sacrifices the educational and psychosocial benefits from these same environments. References


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