Social Networks: What’s cooking?

Social media tools are having an impact in many ways in all age groups of society from pre-teens to ‘experienced’: retirees — it could be a lifelong activity, literally!   Let’s take a look at some current information.

KIDS/TEENS

In a recent surveys of teens,  38 percent of respondents ages 12 to 14 said they had an online profile of some sort. Sixty-one percent of those in the study, ages 12 (jumping in earlier than the suggested age requirement) to 17, said they use social-networking sites to send messages to friends, and 42 percent said they do so every day. Although social networking sites have a minimum age requirement of 13, there is no easy way to check or enforce this criteria. It really operates on the honour system.

In my mind, this trend raises some important questions in terms of use from the parent point of view:

  • Are these sites being used in an appropriate manner?
  • Do parents/guardians actively monitor what their children are doing?
  • How are the children learning about safe online practices?
  • Do the children know to protect their personal information?
  • Are there daily time limits placed on usage?

As a parent, what is your level of involvement? See the Social Networks and Kids: How Young is too Young?  article at  CNN.

ADULTS and the WORKPLACE

In October 2009, the USA Today reported that that 54% of companies completely block Facebook, another 35% apply some form of access limits, leaving only 11% that don’t put any limitations on Facebook use in the work force.

Dr. Brent Coker, of the Department of Management and Marketing at The University of Melbourne, reports that  “People who do surf the Internet for fun at work – within a reasonable limit of less than 20% of their total time in the office – are more productive by about 9% than those who don’t.”

Point for consideration: Is surfing the net really any different than daydreaming or chatting at the water cooler? Some employees may benefit from a little surf time. Not everyone has the same needs in terms of being productive – that is for sure. Hmmm, maybe this is true for students in schools too!

View the full ‘Companies Ban Social Media = Bad Idea’ article at Socialnomics.net. Additional information from the  Australian Social Media study can be found at the University of Melbourne website.

What is happening at your organization? Leave a comment or  send a tweet.

SENIORS/Retirees

Facebook statistics show an increasing number of users in the 50+ age group – boomer connecting with high school friends and keeping in touch with their children. There is a major social connection occurring with users in this age group.

Related Reading:

Ivy Bean: Tweeting at the ripe old age of 104

Social Isolation and New Technology

SCHOOLS

Teachers and administrators are learning more about social networking tools – the good and bad. The bad is usually connected to student bullying issues. Staff at Boards of education are thoughtfully working through some of the key issues:

  • safe, ethical and responsible online activities
  • Digital Citizenship and Character Development programs
  • incorporating social media tools into curriculum delivery in meaningful ways
  • thinking about content filtering in an appropriate K-12 context

The agenda is definitely moving ahead – that is a good thing.  Teachers are developing online Personal Learning Networks (PLNs) through social media tools such as Twitter, Ning groups and blog reading/blogging. Many are really engaged in learning something new every day.  Certainly, this is an exciting time to be in education.

It will be interesting to see how this all unfolds. In the meantime, one can keep learning and participating! See you online 🙂

~ Mark

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