Information and communication technologies and social network sites : The digital world of adolescents

    Research output: Types of ThesisDoctoral Thesis

    Abstract

    At present, it is hard to imagine many adolescents in Ireland experiencing life without Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and Social Network Sites (SNSs) in their everyday social and leisure pursuits. Many have access to a range of ICTs and most are registered with at least one Social Network Site. To date however, limited academic attention has been given to the context of ICT and Social Network Site use in Irish adolescents’ lives. The aim of this research is to contribute to the understanding of Irish adolescents’access to and use of ICTs and SNSs with particular emphasis on the Social Network Site ‘Bebo’. This research utilised a method triangulation approach implemented in the South-East of Ireland with transition year students as the sample base. The initial research involved a questionnaire and logbook based survey of four hundred and ten students based in eleven secondary schools. Next, digital ethnography was utilised to examine key concepts surrounding Social Network Site practice. This was augmented by questionnaires and focus group interviews. A sample of one hundred and eight students from three secondary schools were utilised in this Phase. The data retrieved from both Phases, provided for an in-depth examination of adolescent’s day-to-day use of the Social Network Site ‘Bebo’ and a comprehensive overview of their access to, use and engagement with ICTs and SNSs. It would appear from the research findings that ICTs and SNSs have both a space and place in the lives of many adolescents, and are becoming increasingly important in their daily social and leisure experiences. It would also seem that there is a shift towards a domestication of ICTs in the family home. In addition, SNSs seem to be changing the means in which adolescents communicate and search for information on a daily basis. These sites appear to be altering socialisation processes, allowing adolescents both to foster new relationships and fabricate a real or virtual image online. Other important issues explored include the digital divide, communication practices and risk behaviours online and parental mediation practices.
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    Supervisors/Advisors
    • Connor, Sean, Supervisor
    Publication statusUnpublished - 2011

    Keywords

    • Social networking; Information technology, social aspects

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