Teen On ComputerNatasha Murashev is the author of PsychBlog, a digital magazine focused on applied psychology.

Recently, the media has been focusing on the bad consequences of teen social networking such as cyberbullying and sexting. But is social media actually bad for teens? According to a new body of research described by Los Angeles Times, teens who are most active on social networking sites such as Facebook are actually more well-adjusted than their less-connected peers.

Social technology such as texting and Facebook is a tool for today’s teens to develop emotional bonds, their own identities, and an ability to communicate and work with others according to psychologists. In fact, teens who spend time on social networking sites are actually the healthiest psychologically according to new accumulating evidence. In one study, researchers found that well-adjusted teens were more likely to use social media in their early 20s, regardless of their age, gender, ethnicity or their parent’s income.

In another study, researchers found that teen interaction on sites such as Facebook and MySpace mimics how teens interact in their offline relationships. California State in Los Angeles psychology professor Kaveri Subrahmanyam found that teens characterize their online friendships into similar hierarchies of closeness as their real-life friendships. Subrahmanyam views the digital world as simply a new and more multidimensional place for teens to do what teens have always done – form their own identities away from their parents.

University of Virginia psychologist Amori Yee Mikami points out that teens are using social media sites to keep in touch with friends they already know, not to meet strangers. Although parents of teens should still set rules for their young teen’s online behavior, they have really little to worry about if their teen is psychologically healthy and well-adjusted.

What are other benefits of teen social networking?

Article image by Good Housekeeping.