.subrahmanyam.2008

.subrahmanyam.2008 - Online Communication and Adolescent...

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VOL. 18 / NO. 1 / SPRING 2008 119 Online Communication and Adolescent Relationships Kaveri Subrahmanyam and Patricia Greenfield Summary Over the past decade, technology has become increasingly important in the lives of adolescents. As a group, adolescents are heavy users of newer electronic communication forms such as instant messaging, e-mail, and text messaging, as well as communication-oriented Internet sites such as blogs, social networking, and sites for sharing photos and videos. Kaveri Subrahmanyam and Patricia Greenfield examine adolescents’ relationships with friends, romantic partners, strangers, and their families in the context of their online communication activities. The authors show that adolescents are using these communication tools primarily to reinforce existing relationships, both with friends and romantic partners. More and more they are inte- grating these tools into their “offline” worlds, using, for example, social networking sites to get more information about new entrants into their offline world. Subrahmanyam and Greenfield note that adolescents’ online interactions with strangers, while not as common now as during the early years of the Internet, may have benefits, such as relieving social anxiety, as well as costs, such as sexual predation. Likewise, the authors demon- strate that online content itself can be both positive and negative. Although teens find valuable support and information on websites, they can also encounter racism and hate messages. Electronic communication may also be reinforcing peer communication at the expense of communication with parents, who may not be knowledgeable enough about their children’s online activities on sites such as the enormously popular MySpace. Although the Internet was once hailed as the savior of education, the authors say that schools today are trying to control the harmful and distracting uses of electronic media while children are at school. The challenge for schools is to eliminate the negative uses of the Internet and cell phones in educational settings while preserving their significant contributions to education and social connection. www.futureofchildren.org Kaveri Subrahmanyam is a professor of psychology at California State University–Los Angeles, and associate director of the Children’s Digital Media Center, UCLA/CSULA. Patricia Greenfield is a Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of California–Los Angeles and director of the Children’s Digital Media Center, UCLA/CSULA.
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Kaveri Subrahmanyam and Patricia Greenfield 120 THE FUTURE OF CHILDREN T he communication functions of electronic media are especially popular among adolescents. Teens are heavy users of new communication forms such as instant messaging, e-mail, and text messaging, as well as communication-oriented Internet sites such as blogs, social networking, photo and video sharing sites such as YouTube, interactive video games, and virtual reality environments, such as Second Life. Questions
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.subrahmanyam.2008 - Online Communication and Adolescent...

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