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Social networks and kids: How young is too young? By Doug Gross, CNN - November 3, 2009 Researchers say a growing number of children are flouting age requirements on sites such as Facebook and MySpace, or using social-networking sites designed just for them. users pretend to be older when signing up. Some scientists worry that pre-adolescent use of the sites, which some therapists have linked to Internet addiction among adults, could be damaging to children's relationships and brains. But many
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  Social networks and kids: How young is too young? By Doug Gross , CNN - November 3, 2009 Researchers say a growing number of children are flouting age requirements on sites such asFacebook and MySpace, or using social-networking sites designed just for them. Facebook andMySpace require users to be at least 13. But they have no practical way to verify ages, and many youngusers pretend to be older when signing up. Some scientists worry that pre-adolescent use of the sites, which some therapistshave linked to Internet addiction among adults, could be damaging to children'srelationships and brains. But many other experts say there's not any solid research to backthat up and that most children seem to use social-media sites in moderation, and inpositive ways. For the most part, although there's so much press about all the bad things they're doing,much of what they do on these sites is stuff they would be doing anyway, said KaveriSubrahmanyam, a professor of psychology at California State University-Los Angeles. They're usingthem because that's where their social world is” said Amanda Lenhart, a senior researcher at Pewand one of the report's authors.. “Because there's no effective way to age-verify ... children veryquickly realize, 'I just say I'm 14 years old, and they'll let me use this.' Marc Bigbie, a software salesman who lives near Savannah, Georgia, said he has three children -- 14,12 and 11 -- who all have accounts on at least one social-networking site. It was kind of a negative thing atfirst, he said. We kind of took it away. But, finally, we said, 'You can have it, but we need the password sowe can be on there at any time.' Bigbie said he makes sure his children's accounts are set to provide aslittle personal information as possible, and they allow their activity to be seen only by confirmed friends. In the past couple of years, some scientists have voiced concerns that children arespending too much on these sites and that such online socializing could have lastingnegative effects as they mature. My fear is that these technologies are infantilizing the brain into the state of small childrenwho are attracted by buzzing noises and bright lights, who have a small attention span andwho live for the moment, Susan Greenfield, an Oxford University neuroscientist anddirector of Britain's Royal Institution, told London's Daily Mail in February. Subrahmaynam said a study of high school students showed that in most cases, the people theyinteract with most often online are people they also socialize with in person. Children today have spenttheir whole lives on computers, and their brains are better adapted than those of adults to integrateonline activities with their offline lives, she said. You'll always have the small minority of kids who are not using it appropriately, she said. Rua Coronel Bordini, 1072 – Moinhos de Vento – Porto Alegre – RS – CEP 90.440-003Telefone / Fax: (51) 3332 4002 – www.dominiumingles.com.br  So what long-term effect will social networking have on children? Scientists say it may be hard to know forsure. We've lost the control group, Subrahmanyam said. How do you find a group of kids that are not usingthe computer? Adapted from www.cnn.com Rua Coronel Bordini, 1072 – Moinhos de Vento – Porto Alegre – RS – CEP 90.440-003Telefone / Fax: (51) 3332 4002 – www.dominiumingles.com.br
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