Author(s): Williams AL, Merten MJ
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Abstract This study explored content posted and interactions taking place on adolescent online social networking profiles. Although "blogging" continues to soar in popularity, with over half of teenagers online participating in some form, little research has comprehensively explored blog communication within the context of adolescent development. Content was qualitatively coded from 100 randomly selected profiles authored by adolescents between the ages of 16 and 18. Rich thematic elements were identified including family and social issues, risk behaviors, disclosure of personally identifiable information, and frequent peer interaction. Results indicate adolescent blogs frequently contain appropriate images, positive comments about parents and peers, athletics, a variety of risk behaviors, and sexual and profane language. In addition, school type was examined (public versus private, religious) as a potential factor in understanding the differences in content posted by adolescents; however, no significant differences were found. Implications for parental monitoring and intervention are discussed as well as direction for future research. Adolescents' online profiles contain a wealth of intimate, candid, and publicly available information on a wide range of social issues pertinent to adolescence that contribute to the understanding of adolescent development and well-being.
This article was published in Adolescence
and referenced in Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy