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children's use of social media

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Richard Sprod
9 December 2009

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To what extent do children aged around 11-13 years currently use online social networking and media?  How active are they using these sites or do they just focus on messaging type applications (web based and/or phone)?  I would expect that many have 'Facebook' accounts (or such like) even though these tools are designed for an older age group.  Are there any examples of social media being used for learning in this age group?  Your views are invited!

Richard Sprod
09:12 on 16 December 2009

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Rebecca Galley
2:39pm 16 December 2009

What a really interesting question. You are right, my kids are 9 and 11 and several of their friends have Facebook sites (albeit with tight security settings). My two use Netvibes but don't share it. The thing they most  use socially is MSN. Oh and of course the ubiquitous Club Penguin!

There are some links to using Twitter in schools on this Cloud  . I follow Jose Picardo's blog Box of Tricks - he seems to use Edmodo rather than Twitter in school.

Antonella Esposito
3:11pm 16 December 2009

I have no direct experience, but I found a study carried out in US in 2007 by National School Boards Association. It surveyed teens from 9 to 17 years old and identified interesting clusters: “Creating and Connecting: Research and Guidelines on Online Social - and Educational -

The study investigates the positives, the gaps, the expectations from parents and schools, and provide recommendations for decision-makers. According to this research, nearly all (96%) of kids aged 9 - 17, this survey found, are chatting, text messaging, blogging, and creating pages on social sites.
However, I suppose that there are significant differences in the various countries and only national reports can provide contextual data.

Giota Alevizou
1:33pm 17 December 2009

Childnet International has published a research report “Young People and Social Networking Services” in 2008 with evidence and survey material from international cases. Tanya Byron's report 'Safer Children in a Digital World'(2008)  ' focuses on challenges, risks and associated literacies.

Richard Sprod
5:06am 12 February 2010

Thanks for your comments!  Very much appreciated!  Apologies for the delays in responding to comments - I have been head down analysing data and designing a learning community for children who are living with Type 1 diabetes using social software.  Planning to use ‘elgg’  Looks promising – it’s a great open source social engine.  I will post a link to the tool as we get closer to the testing phase – mid March hopefully.  Comments are welcome.

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