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Kids Online: Opportunities and Challenges in Social Networking

image from www.joanganzcooneycenter.orgWhat do we know about young kids and the online social networking sites in which they participate?

In a new report published by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center , Drs. Deborah Fields and Sara Grimes delve into landscape of kids and social media and raise some important questions that deserve more attention.

Kids Online: A new research agenda for understanding social networking forums

A growing number of kids at increasingly younger ages are engaging in online social networking today-a development that is leading to a surge of news stories, media attention, and economic investment.

In this paper, scholars Sara Grimes and Deborah Fields argue that these shifts in usage and public discussion demand a better understanding of the ways that social networking sites mediate kids' socializing and the opportunities and limits they place on kids' participation, particularly for young children.

The paper, Kids online: A new research agenda for understanding social networking forums, is a first step to documenting pressing questions about children's involvement online, namely:

° Which children are using social networking forums and what are they doing there?
° What do we know about how online experiences influence children's social, cognitive, and creative development?
° What kind of research do we need to do now, in order to understand more deeply who is going online, what kinds of things they are doing, and what opportunities or challenges are involved?
° And finally, what should designers, educators, and parents be aware of as they navigate these new environments and try to help children make the most of them?

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