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Title: Young girls' lived experiences of 'going online' : an exploration into the relationships between social media use and well-being for primary age girls
Author: Gibson, Poppy Frances
ISNI:       0000 0004 7966 4634
Awarding Body: Oxford Brookes University
Current Institution: Oxford Brookes University
Date of Award: 2019
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In our digital age, with the creation of online social groups, individuals are constructing their identities in different ways. This 'convergence culture' maps a new territory where consumers can manipulate this online media in offline and real-time spaces. There has never been a more recordable or observable 'looking-glass' than that of social media, whereby all utterances that are sent out online are put forward for a reaction (Kaplan and Haenlein, 2011). This thesis explores how past (Goffman, 1959; Marcia, 1966) and present (Brook et al., 2008; Urrieta, 2007) theories of identity, as either a fixed or fluid entity, are reflected in contemporary social media practices that young girls aged eight to eleven, from a London primary school, choose to participate in. This thesis investigates how interactions in both the online and offline 'figured worlds' (Holland et al., 1998) of blogs influence children's identity formation as they 'figure' out who they are at this pre-adolescent stage. This thesis adopts a mixed methods approach, combining interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) of interviews with thematic, dialogic analysis of written blog posts and a dialogic discourse analysis of questionnaires. These data offer valuable insight into young girls' perceptions, pressures and motivations behind using or avoiding platforms the Internet has to offer. This thesis has a particular focus on blogging and the opportunity for online communication on blogs. This thesis adds to the limited UK research on social media, blogging, and identity, both perceived and performed by children; we already know about studies providing statistical evidence around screen time and popular apps, but this thesis reveals in-depth and personal reported and lived experiences of six young girls behind these figures. Findings for this sample show that three key motivations for using blogs are (a) connecting with others, (b) sharing feelings and experiences and (c) learning from others and helping others to learn. This thesis highlights the ways in which identities can be seen to be 'informed', 'affirmed', and 'stabilised' within the dynamic nature of identity, and, through this, how agency can be achieved. When other members of the online community positively greet online performances, in both the closed blogging platform within this study or other various contexts, this affirmation can inspire creativity, future-orientation and ambition in the individuals concerned.
Supervisor: Newton, Richard ; Roberts, George ; McGregor, Deb Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ed.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral