Digital media and online communication have become a great part of the everyday lives of youth in the U.S.A. and other countries. Social network sites, online games, video-sharing sites, and gadgets such as iPods and mobile phones are now very popular in youth cultures.
According to Horst, Herr-Stephenson, & Robinson, young people in the United States today are consuming, sharing, and producing new media in the technological and social context which is called as "Media Ecologies." That is, they are growing up in media ecology where digital and networked media are playing an increasingly central role. From sociocultural perspective on learning and literacy, young people's learning and participation with new media is able to be seen as situationally contingent, located in specific and varied media ecologies. "Hanging out," "messing out," and "geeking out" are three genres of participation which is widespread among the American kids and teenagers. Actually, kids learn from friendship-driven or interest-driven participation, because they are supported by the social networks they have developed in their friendship or interest groups.
As I see my 19-year-old daughter use online network-Facebook, it must be a really cooperative and constructive learning place with her friends. She uses it when she needs some information about any subjects, when she shares her personal activities with pictures, and when she communicate with people in everywhere in America or other countries. This is a great benefit for people who have social networks. In fact, as a 48-year-old conservative woman, I want to keep my privacy but I see a lot of positive benefits shown on line social networks. In the near future, I might hang out and share my ideas with others, just like 21st century contemporary kids.
Ito, M., Sonja B., Matteo B., Boyd, D. Cody, R., Herr, B., Horst, H.A., Lange, P.G., Mahendran, D., Martinez, K., Pascoe, C.J., Perkel, D., Robinson, L., Sims, C., & Tripp, L.(2009). Hanging Out, Messing Around, Geeking Out: Living and Learning with New Media. Cambridge: MIT Press