Understanding Students with Special Needs Self-disclosure in Internet Chat Rooms: Applying the Communication Privacy Management Theory to Internet Communications

Understanding Students with Special Needs Self-disclosure in Internet Chat Rooms: Applying the Communication Privacy Management Theory to Internet Communications

Narissra Maria Punyanunt-Carter (Texas Tech University, USA) and Stacy L. Carter (Texas Tech University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-878-1.ch004
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Abstract

This book chapter proposes a research agenda for determining, describing, and depicting special needs students’ self-disclosure behaviors via the Internet in regards to the Communication Privacy Management Theory (formerly known as the Communication Boundary Management Theory). Internet, computer-mediated communication, chat rooms, self-disclosure, and the Privacy Management Theory are all identified and summarized. The theory is presented for its usefulness and its significance to studying self-disclosure in Internet chat rooms among individuals with disabilities. In addition, future research directions using each theory to study individuals with special needs’ self-disclosure in Internet chat rooms are presented. Research presented in this chapter should be able to assist parents, teachers, and others who interact with individuals with disabilities, with an overview of the impact of self-disclosure on the Internet.
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Review Of Literature

Pappacharissi and Rubin (2000) noted that individuals use the Internet for a variety of reasons. Similar to television viewers, Internet users decide how much time and what time they will use the communication medium. Unlike television viewers, Internet users can self-disclose information to another individual or to many individuals at once. The freedom to utilize the Internet in a way that is beneficial and pleasing to the user offers an alternative to conventional and traditional forms of communication, such as telephones and postal mail. Yet, Internet communication patterns need further investigation especially among individuals with disabilities, because there is little research on the topic. Hence, this chapter conceptualizes a research agenda regarding self-disclosure in Internet chat rooms for individuals with disabilities. To better understand the research agenda proposed in this chapter, it is important to highlight previous research studies that have looked at: (a.) the Internet, (b.) computer-mediated communication, (c.) chat rooms and Internet relay chat, (d.) self-disclosure, and (e.) the Communication Privacy Management Theory.

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