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Regular version of the site

Article

Social Networks as a New Tool that Facilitates the Development of Urban Adolescents

Russian Education and Society. 2018. Vol. 60. No. 6. P. 496-505.

The article demonstrates that the extent and mode of adolescent participation in social networks have changed with the rapid development of social media technologies. If, at the time when they were first introduced, social networks complemented direct communication and were studied as a separate additional space, now, because of the development of mobile technologies, direct and indirect communications have merged to form a single space. This is reflected in the fact that adolescents have a hard time distinguishing between these spaces in their responses to surveys. This reality, which we discovered during the course of our study, indicates that the methodology that is used to study both the communication of adolescents and the social networks themselves should be revised. Social networks have integrated themselves into the lives of schoolchildren, though their potential for education and the question of how they can be integrated into the education system have been totally ignored. In fact, our study has confirmed the existence of a new, third wave of the computerization of education. This one is not being conducted from the top down, as was true of the two previous ones (which occurred in the 1980s and 2000s), in which state goals for the computerization of the school system led to transformations at the level of the individual schools. Rather, users are instigating this new revolution, and the formal structures are being forced to respond. It has turned out that the system of education is not prepared for such a situation, and as a result teachers and administrators are imposing unjustified and easily violated bans on the use of personal devices. As a consequence, students are becoming increasingly alienated from school.