So much has been written about the negative impact of too much screen time, excessive video playing and cyberbullying. And while much of it is critically important to take into account when helping our kids navigate their digital lives and reputation, a new Pew Research Center report offers some surprising information: All the ways that Facebook and the like can actually foster friendships. Yes, as in help spark and sustain friendships, offering kids lots of support during those tumultuous up-and-down times known as the teen years.
So what are the takeaways? Here’s the hard data, and while not all of it is glowing when it comes to teens and screens, much of it is decidedly positive.
1. 57 percent of teenagers have met a new friend over the Internet
2. About two-thirds of teens who have met a friend online say they have met new friends via a social networking site.
3. Video games play an important role in the development and maintenance of friendships — this is especially true for teen boys.
4. Teens use the Internet to share both moments of happiness and hardship with friends, making it a unique place for support.
As for the not quite as good news, the report also revealed that almost a quarter of teens have fought with a friend because of something that was posted online or a text message.
Read the full report here.