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Title: Exploring adolescents' use of social networking sites and their perceptions of how this can influence their peer relationships
Author: Isbister, Joseph
ISNI:       0000 0004 2741 7420
Awarding Body: Institute of Education, University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2013
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Social networking site (SNS) use has gathered a truly global momentum. As a cohort whose development has coincided with these changes, adolescents tend to be heavy users of this technology. Yet this 'virtual context' of their social lives is relatively new and occurs between peers (away from the supervision of adults), making it a poorly understand area. Existing research is unable to clarify how adolescents are engaging with SNSs and the impact this is having on their social lives. This study adopted a two-phased, mixed method approach, in order to explore adolescents' use of SNSs and their perceptions of how this can influence their peer relations. During Phase 1, a total of two-hundred and forty three adolescents completed questionnaires. During Phase 2, a further twenty-one adolescents completed in-depth semi-structured interviews. Each phase included both SNS users and non-users. The quantitative data were mainly analysed using descriptive statistics and Chi-Square Analyses. The qualitative data were analysed using a thematic analysis. The quantitative results showed that adolescents tend to be experienced, mobile and frequent users of SNSs. SNS used was linked to their perceived prominence within a social setting and the number of contacts on line they had. However, the number of their real-life friends was more resistant to patterns of SNS use. The qualitative results showed that the influence of SNSs was mixed and multi-faceted. SNSs were perceived to be responsible for both subtle and, in some cases, dramatic ways. SNSs are exacerbating existing dynamics amongst adolescents and introducing new dynamics altogether. The results have important implications for existing policies and regulations, challenging stakeholders to find pragmatic and creative approaches which can help young people utilise the benefits of SNSs, while also reducing the risks. Stake holders need to work together in order to make this possible. There are opportunities for Educational Psychologists at a child/school/service level to make a unique contribution towards achieving this.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Ed.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available