A national poll by the nonprofit Common Sense Media reveals that a wide majority of parents believe that it is just as important for their children to know digital media skills as traditional learning skills, but remain wary about the role social networks play in young people’s lives.

The poll, according to the organization, underscores the challenge that social networking sites face in addressing concerns of parents about the products they market to young people.

Common Sense Media, which provides information, education and advice to families about media and technology, has created a new education ratings and review program for digital media aimed at helping parents and educators evaluate digital medial products in terms of their learning value. The organization also rates and reviews all forms of media, including videogames and mobile apps, for their educational content.

You can see their ratings at the Common Sense Media website, here. And educators can find, here, tools and curricula to teach students how to use the digital media responsibly.

The poll results show, according to a release by Common Sense Media:

— 81 percent of parents believe digital media skills are just as important as traditional learning skills, and 86 percent feel digital media is crucial to preparing their kids for the 21st century.

— A majority of parents get involved with their kids’ media lives first and foremost to protect them from harm.

— Learning opportunities are just as important as safety concerns for parents of the youngest kids – ages 2-5 (72 percent strongly agree in both categories).

— Parents are still concerned about social networking or connecting with others online.

— 55 percent actively discourage their kids from creating or visiting social networking profiles.

— Three-quarters of parents feel skeptical about the educational claims made by some digital media products, and many parents don’t think current products – especially videogames and apps – deliver on that educational potential.

— Parents of younger kids see more educational value in video games than parents of older kids.

— A majority of parents agree that smartphone apps (67 percent) and tablet apps (89 percent) have educational potential.

— 70 percent agree that videogames help kids learn to think and strategize.

— Only 41 percent of parents think the videogames out there today help teach thinking and reasoning skills, and most parents don’t think the videogames and apps their kids currently use help teach most other skills.

-- But 75% of parents would allow more online or mobile digital media use for their kids if they knew that those experiences were helping kids learn something.


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