Education Popular Topic With Online Teens

    August 15, 2007

Ninety-six percent of U.S. teens and tweens with online access use social networking functions, such as chatting, text messaging, blogging and visit online communities such as Facebook and MySpace according to new study by the National School Boards Association and Grunwald Associates.

The study found that among teens one of the most common topics of conversation on social networks is education. Close to 60 percent of online students say they discuss topics related to education such as college planning, learning outside of school, and careers. Fifty percent of online students say they talk about schoolwork.

"There is no doubt that these online teen hangouts are having a huge influence on how kids today are creatively thinking and behaving," said Anne L. Bryant, executive director of the National School Boards Association.

"The challenge for school boards and educators is that they have to keep pace with how students are using these tools in positive ways and consider how they might incorporate this technology into the school setting."

According to the study students are participating in highly creative activities on social networking sites including, writing, art, and collaborative online projects. Forty-nine percent of students say they have uploaded pictures they have made or photos they have taken and 22 percent say they have uploaded video they made.

The study also found that students are spending almost as much time using social networks and Web sites as they spend watching television. Teens who use social networking sites spend 9 hours a week online and 10 hours a week watching television.

"Our study showed that 96 percent of school districts say that at least some of their teachers assign homework requiring Internet use," said Peter Grunwald of Grunwald Associates

"What this means is that schools may be starting to use the Internet and other technologies more effectively.  In the future, schools that incorporate social networking tools in education can help engage kids and move them toward the center of the learning process."