I was just reading Howard Rheingold's book Net Smart and I thought this was worth sharing:
I hope that if you're a parent who has read this far, you now have an expanded view of digital culture. And if you're the parent of a teenager, you understand that in addition to them having fun with their friends and maybe ducking their household chores while they are online, your kids are also creating publics, experimenting with identity, teaching each other technosocial skills, and learning to be active creators of culture. I also presume that any parent diligent enough to read this book will be willing to reconsider the mostly false picture promoted by too much bad journalism that has depicted the Web as a den of frivolity, superficiality, and danger to young people. Teenagers need to experiment with who they are and play with different kinds of identities-- and they need to do it with their peers, not just their parents. The public spaces where young people used to hang out have diminished through privatization, surveillance and prohibition-- malls have proliferated while town squares are disappearing; suburbs and urban neighborhoods have few public places where youths are allowed to loiter-- so they have created new peer publics in online spaces. What they are learning is not altogether detrimental to themselves and the society they are going to build when they grow up.