Social networking has evolved as a preferred medium of communication for individuals today. Given the pervasive nature of social media in the context of the present day, where every adolescent has at least one account on a social networking site; it is important to determine the impact of these media on the adolescent’s social and emotional well-being.
This article brought out how effective an awareness of privacy and safety along with appropriate parental monitoring is in regulating an adolescent’s online behaviour. Parents can be taught to be more social media savvy and to set limits for their kids in terms of privacy management. Communicating the do’s and don’ts of online sharing and online etiquette can also be taught to the children. Communicating openly with children by building an atmosphere of trust and understanding with them is important as it would get them to be more likely to come to their elders if something distressing happens in their virtual world. Through family and school counselling, it is also important to help adolescents realize the benefits and strengths of relationships and to deepen and strengthen relationships by taking their virtual connections onto the real world.
Social Networking Sites (SNSs) such as Facebook have made inroads in the life of users. The current study used a quantitative approach to explore adolescents’ usage of SNS in Mumbai and their perceptions and experiences of the same. The sample consisted of 121 adolescent boys and girls in the age group of 13–18 years. Easily accessible Internet and availability of devices such as smartphones influenced access to SNS. Computer-mediated-communication was the preferred means of communication. Selective self-representation and online social comparison were pertinent themes seen through the study. Gender and age differences were found in the overall usage and experiences of SNS. Parental involvement and monitoring resulted in adolescents engaging in privacy management and helped control risky online behaviour. Overall, adolescents reported more positive experiences with SNS.
Pooja Pradeep and Sujata Sriram
The Virtual World of Social Networking Sites: Adolescent’s Use and Experiences
Psychology & Developing Societies March 2016 28: 139-159, first published on February 17, 2016 doi:10.1177/0971333615622911