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Agile Computing Authors: Ken Schwaber, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, JP Morgenthal, Kevin Jackson

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Are social networking sites good for our society? ProCon.org injects nonpartisan research into both sides of the debate

SANTA MONICA, Calif., Dec. 12, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The 47% of Americans who use social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn have spent billions of minutes social networking in 2012.

The increasing prevalence of social communication via computers, apps, and mobile devices has been constant and controversial. Is social media advancing beneficial social, political, and business changes, or is it causing a harmful dependence on screen-based technology and spawning less meaningful interpersonal relationships? Are we better off in our new world of constant connectivity, or has more communication brought more problems?

ProCon.org, a nonpartisan research organization devoted to critical thinking on controversial issues, debuts its revamped website Social Networking (http://socialnetworking.procon.org) and delves into the pros and cons of the core question "Are social networking sites good for society?"

Proponents of social networking sites say that the online communities promote increased interaction with friends and family; offer teachers, librarians, and students valuable access to educational support and materials; facilitate social and political change; and disseminate useful information rapidly.

Opponents of social networking say that the sites prevent face-to-face communication; waste time on frivolous activity; alter children's brains and behavior making them more prone to ADHD; expose users to predators like pedophiles and burglars; and spread false and potentially dangerous information.

In addition to in-depth pro and con research, the revamped ProCon.org social networking website contains a historical background section, videos, photos, over 200 footnotes and sources, and Did You Know? facts including:

  1. Social networking sites are the top news source for 27.8% of Americans, ranking below newspapers (28.8%) and above radio (18.8%) and print publications (6%).
  2. Students who used social networking sites while studying scored 20% lower on tests, and students who used social media had an average GPA of 3.06 versus non-users who had an average GPA of 3.82.
  3. 35 global heads of state, every US Cabinet agency, 84% of US state governors, every major candidate for US President, and more than 40% of top global religious leaders are on Twitter.
  4. 10% of people younger than 25 years old respond to social media and text messages during sex.
  5. In July 2012 Americans spent 74.0 billion minutes on social media via a home computer, 40.8 billion minutes via apps, and 5.7 billion minutes via mobile web browsers for a total of 121.1 billion minutes on social networking sites in one month.

For pros, cons, and related research on whether or not social networking is good for society, visit http://socialnetworking.procon.org

About Us
ProCon.org (online at www.procon.org) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit public charity whose mission is promoting critical thinking, education, and informed citizenship.  Information is presented on 44 different ProCon.org issue websites in subjects ranging from gay marriage, alternative energy, and medical marijuana to the death penalty, illegal immigration, and Obamacare.

ProCon.org websites are free of charge and require no registration.  The websites have been referenced by over 700 media entities, cited 36 times by the governments of 11 countries (including 20 US states and seven US federal agencies), and used by teachers, librarians, and educators in over 3,300 schools in 50 countries and all 50 US states.

Media/Press Coverage of ProCon.org Includes 
60 Minutes, ABC, Associated Press, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, BBC, Bloomberg, Business Week, CBS News, CNN, CNBC, Contra Costa Times, Dallas Morning News, Esquire, Forbes, FOX News, The Guardian, Houston Chronicle, Huffington Post, Los Angeles Times, Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune, Mother Jones, NBC, New England Journal of Medicine, New York Times, The Oregonian, Orlando Sentinel, PBS, Reuters, Slate, USA Today, Washington Post, Wired, and many others.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/procon.org 
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/proconorg 
Twitter: www.twitter.com/procon_org 
YouTube: www.youtube.com/proconorg 

CONTACT: Kambiz Akhavan, +1-310-587-1407, [email protected]

SOURCE ProCon.org

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