ERIC Number: ED425014
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1998-Dec
Early Adolescent Social Networks and Computer Use.
Orleans, Myron; Laney, Margaret C.
A research project was conducted to examine the interactions between the social networks of young adolescents and their computer usage. Particular attention was focused upon whether computers tend to isolate youthful users. Adult anxiety regarding the damaging effects of computers on children was assessed. Parental involvement, orientation to computers, and gender were the main variables studied. A case study approach was employed to gather observational data regarding the variety of interactional networks that framed the computer experience of a convenience sample of 32 subjects. The data were analyzed in terms of the reflexive co-construction of computer-oriented behaviors and their social interactions. The findings challenged the notion that heavy youthful computer users experience social isolation. Rather it was found that the interpersonal lives and computer activities of early adolescents reflexively amplified each other. Lower involvement of parents resulted in higher rates of peer socialization. Computer gaming was found to promote sociation under certain conditions. Online communication led to interpersonal communication in the presence of preexisting peer relations. It was also found that boys were more likely to socialize in relation to computers than were girls. The data were explained as consequences of context and gender-based differentiated styles of world-creating activity. Based on the findings, recommendations were made to parents encouraging a less fearful outlook on computers, and suggestions were offered on how teachers and parents could foster the integrative and developmental use of computers. (Author/LPP)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: In: Proceedings of the Families, Technology, and Education Conference (Chicago, IL, October 30-November 1, 1997); see PS 027 175.