I recall growing up in the 90's/early 2000's and how different it is for kids growing up today even though it is only around a decade in the past.
As a child(I'll stick with ages 6-12 mainly) a day would consist of going to school and then coming home and heading outside to play with friends. Baseball, football, swimming, going to the beach, exploring the woods by our house, and playing jailbreak were the most popular things to do. Occasionally we would be allowed to stay inside if it was rainy out and play Goldeneye on either my neighbors or my N64(imagine a small bedroom with 10-12 boys fighting over 4 controllers).
If I was bored? I would either walk and knock on their door or pick up the telephone with my "friend list" of phone numbers and give a few of them a call to form a group to do something. During the summer we would all ride bikes on the hour journey down to the beach(in reality it would only take 10 minutes to drive there but kids get distracted you know).
Then fast-forward to today. No longer are you *forced* to initiate contact, call someone, or go knock on a friends door to find something to do because it is all at your fingertips.
Instead of playing baseball why not stay inside on Facebook and play farmville?
Instead of exploring the woods why not stay inside on Twitter and post random thoughts about trending topics?
Instead of simply walking around hanging out with that girl you have a crush on why not stalk their Facebook page?
Children growing up in the present are faced with the challenge of actually going out and doing things with actual people. Now, I do get that this is not the case with everyone growing up presently but it effects a large percentage of them in some way or form.
Typically growing up you have that close knit group of friends who live around you and then the larger base of friends who you go to school with. You do not have 400+ *friends* on Facebook who you talk to, like pictures, or send a cow to on Farmville.
For example out of my 6 younger cousins between ages 8-16 in the family(3 separate family's) 5 of them are on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. And by looking at their pages they spend a good chunk of their time during and just after school and then later at night on these websites. (Before you say stop stalking their pages, this is the easier way our family can keep in touch since we all live far apart which is a plus of a social network)
This virtual "social network" in reality does not help children growing up to form close friends. They might be chatting with someone online for 2 hours a day about school, gossip, etc. but the real-world connection is not there. They will not have that memory of almost dying due to "xxx" or that hilarious moment when "xxx" almost "xxx" but instead have the most followers, or *friends*.
So how do you feel about social networks for the new generation? Good? Bad? Somewhere in between?