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International Journal of Virtual Communities and Social Networking, 2(1), 67-79, January-March 2010 67

The Impact of Social Networking Websites on the Education of Youth Sunitha Kuppuswamy, Anna University Chennai, Chennai, India P. B. Shankar Narayan, Pondicherry University, Puducherry, India

ABSTRACT
Social networking websites like Orkut, Facebook, Myspace and Youtube are becoming more and more popular and has become part of daily life for an increasing number of people. Because of their features, young people are attracted to social networking sites. In this paper, the authors explore the impact of social networking sites on the education of youth. The study argues that these social networking websites distract students from their studies, but these websites can be useful for education based on sound pedagogical principles and proper supervision by the teachers. Moreover, the research concludes that social networking websites have both positive as well as negative impact on the education of youth, depending on one’s interest to use it in a positive manner for his or her education and vice versa. Keywords: Education, Social Networking, Social Networking in Education, Social Networking Websites, Students

INTRODUCTION
Internet medium is developing with the increased usage and understanding of how to use email, could shop online, and search the web for recipes or the long- lost instruction manual for a piece of equipment in the garage, etc. Now, internet is more about blogs, podcasts, Facebook, Myspace, and Orkut. These are some of the tools and technology associated with a recent phenomenon called social networking and is present everywhere.

DOI: 10.4018/jvcsn.2010010105

Social networking has become part of the daily life experiences for an increasing number of people. The rapid adoption of social network sites by teenagers in the United States and in many other countries around the world raises some important questions. Why do teenagers flock to these sites? What are they expressing on them? How do these sites fit into their lives? What are they learning from their participation? Are these online activities like face-to-face friendships, or are they different, or complementary? (Danah Boyd, 2007). Penuel and Riel define social networking as “a set of people and the relationships between them”. That definition is found today in the social networking services

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68 International Journal of Virtual Communities and Social Networking, 2(1), 67-79, January-March 2010

that promote the development of online communities of people. Social networking such as Facebook, Orkut, Myspace, Flickr and Youtube are sites where users apply for membership and maintain their personal profile information in a centrally organized database. Each network member controls access to their profile by accepting or declining requests from other network members to be “friends”. By expanding and developing their network of friends, social networking members are able to maintain online relationships for work, study, special- interests or leisure- related purposes. Social networking services utilize the participation technology and software tools to facilitate communication and interaction between members. Social software communication tools include blogs, wikis, instant messaging, chat rooms, message boards and social bookmarking. Members use these tools to share online ideas, documents, photos, videos, and favorite websites actually almost anything. As more people participate in social networking, the question becomes is it merely a social activity or are they involved in learning and development? And social networking websites is very popular among the youth so that they contribute the majority percentage of the users of these sites. So, the researcher wanted to study the impact of these social...
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