- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 3, 2011

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

In “Social networking benefits validated” (Web, Jan. 28), the claim was made that social networking is beneficial in many ways to teenagers. I think the Digital Youth Project is based on incorrect thinking because, as an adolescent, I know that almost all young people use social networking for all the wrong reasons.

I believe social networking is unhealthy and unnecessary for teenagers because it destroys social skills, wastes time and can become dangerous and addictive. I have experienced these downfalls firsthand.

In the article, Mizuko Ito, lead author of the Digital Youth Project, is quoted as saying, “we found that spending time online is essential for young people to pick up the social and technical skills they need to be competent citizens in the digital age.” I agree that social networking may help teenagers learn technical skills, but it ruins social and communication skills. Instead of face-to-face interaction, my generation is becoming too comfortable interacting with screens.

Healthy relationships and communication are necessary in life, and they should not start or be kept up online. Also, sites such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter are highly addictive; the average teen spends about nine hours per week on them. Some feel compelled to post news about themselves multiple times a day. At such a tender age, sleeping, studying and exercising should be more important, but sadly, those are not most kids’ priorities. Call me old-fashioned, but I strongly believe technology and social networking are undermining our society.

MADELIN BENDER

Waynesboro, Va.

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