Many folks–especially parents–have long bemoaned the ubiquitous presence of technology in our lives. Who doesn’t own a cell phone, let alone a smart phone nowadays? Ditto for laptops and tablets. Even our cars and televisions are “smart.” And most research over the years has underscored worries about screens taking over our children’s lives, with many of them even sleeping with their phones by their side lest they miss a text or email. And who isn’t familiar with reports that too much screen time leads to aggression, harassment, depression, anxiety, and even attention and imagination problems.

Now, however, comes a positive take from a study conducted by Pew Research. As Chandra Johnson of Deseret News reports, the study “found that different forms of technology–from social media to video games–can help kids make new friends and maintain existing relationships.” Indeed, she likens it to “a ray of hope.”

Meanwhile, thanks to sites like Facebook, social media has reportedly been improved as have video games, about which, says Penn State’s Benjamin Hickerson, ” The inlaid social mechanisms in the games nowadays gives gaming a social nature. Even if you’re not talking to the other people playing online, you feel their presence (when you observe them in the game.)”

Is that enough for you, or would you still prefer a phone call or a face-to-face?