A recent study by the U.K.’s National Literacy Trust indicates that children who blog, or have profiles on a social-network site, are more confident in their writing skills and are more likely to say that they enjoy writing. (Thanks to Bodour Al Qasimi for pointing me toward this story.)
According to Jonathan Douglas (speaking to TechXav), director of the National Literacy Trust:
Confidence and enjoyment are closely linked to the development of skills. Therefore, in order to improve standards we need to encourage children to write more and to enjoy writing, which could be supported by celebrating forms of writing they enjoy. Our research indicates that, for many, these are without doubt technology-based forms.
However, the same TechXav article notes that: “A recent EU-wide study found 40 per cent of teenagers had been exposed to pornography online, 20 per cent had been bullied and 10 per cent had met someone in the real world they had ‘met’ in a chatroom or a social media site.”
And it quotes neuroscientist Susan Greenfield, who believes these websites (Facebook, Twitter) are re-wiring children’s brains:
My fear is that these technologies are infantilising the brain into the state of small children who are attracted by buzzing noises and bright lights, who have a small attention span and who live for the moment.
However, while these fears apply to the social-networking sites, I don’t believe the same can be said for children who blog. (My older son has a blog, and though it’s difficult to say if a seven-year-old is being infantilized—seven years old today!—I don’t think so.)