Susannah Fox, over at Pew Internet Research Project, recently Tweeted a statistic from her organization’s Social Networking Fact Sheet — 73% of online adults now use social networking sites and 71% are on Facebook. I read her Tweet just after sharing another statistic on a recent post, Amaze Your Kids with Internet Statistics, writing that the average age of Facebook users is 41.5 years old.
My first thought was, “What happened to all of the adult Facebook fear and anxiety?” Even five years ago most adults seemed to avoid the social networking platform with its attendant loss of personal privacy.
The answer? As trendy new practices, apps, and sites become a part of life, we adults often worry especially about our kids, their behavior and safety, and what they are learning. But eventually these new things — in this case Facebook — aren’t so new anymore. We figure out how to keep track of our kids and even begin to use some of the new ideas in our own adult lives. Initially some of us use social media just to keep track of the kids or merely to connect with family members, but the fact is, we are less fearful — for ourselves or for our children. Read my story about joining Facebook.
The same thing happened with Wikipedia. First we couldn’t believe it was around, then we feared mis-information — that using it would cause our children to learn bad habits and forget to use the expert references. Finally we realized that we teach kids to use lots or resources and confirm facts. Gradually our attitude about Wikipedia is changing. Go ahead and read it, we eventually told kids, but cite it and confirm the facts with reliable reference sources.