Toward an Integrated Conceptual Framework of Research in Teen Online Communication

Toward an Integrated Conceptual Framework of Research in Teen Online Communication

Robert Z. Zheng (University of Utah, USA), Jason J. Burrow-Sanchez (University of Utah, USA), Stephanie Donnelly (University of Miami, USA), Megan E. Call (University of Utah, USA) and Clifford J. Drew (University of Utah, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-926-7.ch001
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Abstract

This article presents a conceptual framework for research exploring teen online communication. It brings attention to the influences of related elements such as social and individual factors on adolescent needs and behaviors in online communication. The proposed conceptual framework posits that adolescent online behaviors are linked to their needs pertaining to developmental, social-psychological, and cognitive demands. While adolescent needs are influenced by the social and individual factors, such influences also impose indirect impact on adolescent online behaviors. This framework provides a comprehensive picture of teen online communication in terms of the components involved in such communication. Suggestions for future studies are outlined with regard to the validation and implementation of the proposed framework.
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A Review Of Research On Teen Online Communication

Past research has been primarily focused on the relationship between media effects and teen behaviors (Bushman & Anderson, 2001; Hrastinski & Keller, 2007; Rubin, 2002). For example, Suoninen (2001) explored the media effects on adolescent social communication and concluded that media play an important part in adolescent “identity work when young people build their own personal spheres of life” (p. 218). Groebel (2001) examined youth media behavior such as aggressiveness using the Internet by focusing on media effects involved in teen online communication. Greenfield and Yan (2006) argue that the existing research should go beyond “media effects” to examine how adolescent developmental needs relate to online communication. Buckingham (2004) made a similar statement by asserting that media studies including the study of the Internet “need to move beyond a determinist view of the effects media technology on children … to consider these new media and communication technologies within the context of broader changes in children’s culture” (p. 108). Lloyd (2002) points out that mass media constructs must become integrated into a broader understanding of adolescent psychological functioning.

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