More than half (55%) of all of online American youths ages 12-17 use an online social networking sites, according to a new national survey of teenagers conducted by Pew Internet & American Life Project.

The survey also finds that that older teens, particularly girls, are more likely to use these sites. For girls, social networking sites are places to reinforce pre-existing friendships, while for the boys who use the sites, the networks provide opportunities for flirting and making new friends. 

A social networking site is an online location where a user can create a profile and build a personal network that connects him or her to other users. In the past five years, such sites1 have rocketed from a niche activity into a phenomenon that engages tens of millions of internet users. The explosive growth in the popularity of these sites has generated concerns among some parents, school officials, and government leaders about the potential risks posed when personal information is made available in such a public setting.

The survey, conducted by telephone from October 23 through November 19, 2006 among a random national sample of 935 youths ages 12 to 17, asked about the ways that teenagers use these sites and their reasons for doing so. 

After reading this article, is using social media in the classroom starting to make sense? is it a viable solution to getting kids more involved in their education? Please leave a comment