Adolescents’ Identity Experiments on the Internet

Valkenburg, Patti M.  and Peter, Jochen. “Adolescents’ Identity Experiments on the Internet: Consequences for Social Competence and Self-Concept Unity.” Communication Research. April 2008vol. 35 no. 2 208-231. Mar 9, 2008. Online. Oct 3, 2013. <http://crx.sagepub.com/content/35/2/208.full.pdf+html>

This research was done on teenagers and how the internet affected their sense of social competence. It wasn’t so much about how anonymity affected the user’s decision making, but how the internet in general affected the minds of its users. The study found that adolescents who were more open to experimenting with their online identity were also more likely to reach out to people of other backgrounds. In other words, they were more open to talking with others and were not held back by their inhibitions. This is important in the case of my thesis because it shows how the internet affects certain individuals. The research also found that lonely adolescents experimented more with their online identity, and benefited the most from the research in terms of self-image. The internet blocks out the visual side that would normally come with carrying out a normal conversation, so it makes sense that people are also more likely to branch out and expand their social abilities. How it exactly relates to anonymity is yet to be determined. The article isn’t directly related to my topic, but it still provides interesting information that could be useful later on for proving a point on the psychology behind people taking more risks on the internet.

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