The Internet and Adolescent Sexual Identity

The Internet and Adolescent Sexual Identity

Bryant Paul (Indiana University, USA) and Lelia Samson (Indiana University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-100-3.ch721

Abstract

This chapter considers the potential role of the Internet in the process of adolescent sexual identity construction. It starts by providing evidence of the ever-increasing role the Internet is playing in the lives of adolescents and by considering the potential impact such a technology is likely to have given the transitional nature of the adolescent brain. A consideration of theoretical approaches for understanding the role the Internet is likely to play in individuals’ sexual self-identity development is then undertaken. A review of the specific role Internet communication technologies have come to play in the process of adolescent sexual socialization is then carried out. In doing so the authors argue that future research addressing the role of the Internet in the process of adolescent sexual socialization and identity development must consider both the specific structure of the adolescent brain and the unique nature of the Internet as a source of information and an opportunity for social networking.

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