Defense Date

3-26-2008

Graduation Date

2008

Availability

Immediate Access

Submission Type

dissertation

Degree Name

PhD

Department

Counselor Education and Supervision (ExCES)

School

School of Education

Committee Chair

Jocelyn Gregoire

Committee Member

Emma Mosley

Committee Member

Mathew Siegler

Keywords

Development, Technology, Blogs, Ecological, Adolescence, Social

Abstract

The introduction of new technologies into society inevitably results in culture-wide changes that affect the way people work, learn, and experience leisure time. For those American adolescents with access to technology, the use of the Internet to develop and maintain relationships is quickly becoming ubiquitous, especially through social network sites; the most popular network site, MySpace, has grown exponentially since its creation in 2003. Adolescents are the primary users of such sites and many of them maintain blogs, or online chronicles that are available for public viewing and comment, along with their profile pages and friend networks. This qualitative study examined what exactly adolescents write about in their blogs, and how that content reflects the developmental tasks associated with this life stage, in particular social maturity and identity development. This ethnographic content analysis draws on Vygotskian learning theory and Bronfenbrenner's bioecological model of development to investigate the degree to which this online activity is shaping and is shaped by culturally constructed developmental processes. Findings showed that adolescents use their blogs as mediums through which they engage in self-expression and self-reflection, supporting both their social and identity development. Recommendations for how counselors and counselor educators can use blogs to enhance traditional interventions are provided, along with guidelines for ethical behavior when viewing adolescents' social network site profiles.

Format

PDF

Language

English

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