Social networking sites provide a means for adolescents to maintain existing friendships and make new friendships, explore their identity, learn and share their opinions, and be creative – all of which are normal aspects of healthy adolescent development (Mitchell & Ybarra, 2009). The use of Facebook was found for example, to be positively associated with students' life satisfaction, their social trust, and political participation (Valenzuela, Park, & Kee, 2009). Similarly, adolescents’ use of friend networking has also been found to impact on their well-being, social support and self-esteem.
- increasing students’ social interactions and collaborative learning experiences through instant communication to broad audiences;
- some students having greater confidence interacting online because of the anonymous and non face-to-face nature of this environment reducing social isolation;
- the 24/7 nature of online communication allowing students to access their social networks wherever and whenever they wish;
- the anonymity in the online environment allowing an adolescent to ask for advice on a delicate issue they wouldn’t otherwise discuss.
- Mitchell, K.J., & Ybarra, M. (2009). Social networking sites: finding a balance between their risk and benefits. Archives of pediatrics and adolescent medicine, 163(1), 87-89.
- Valenzuela, S., Park, N., & Kee, K. F. (2009). Is There Social Capital in a Social Networking Site?: Facebook Use and College Students’ Life Satisfaction, Trust and Participation. Journal of Computer Mediated Communication, 14, 875-901.
- Heirman, W., & Walrave, M. (2008). Assessing Concerns and Issues about the Mediation of Technology in Cyberbullying. Cyberpsychology: Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace, 2(2), article 1, 1-13.