Electronic communication and identity development
Subrahmanyam, Kaveri Department of Psychology, College of Natural and Social Sciences, California State University, Los Angeles, California.
- Online identity and self-presentation
- Connection between online self-presentation and self-development
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
Electronic communication via social media applications [for example, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and blogs (personal Web pages, wherein new entries are posted before older ones)] has become immensely popular among adolescents and emerging adults. Given the pervasiveness of such communication and the finding that online interactions among youth occur with offline peers and acquaintances, researchers have proposed that digital venues are an important social context in the lives of young persons. Research over the last several years has begun to show that youth use electronic communication in the service of key developmental tasks, including those related to sexuality, identity, and intimacy. The pioneering developmental psychologist Erik H. Erikson first proposed that formulating a coherent and stable identity was a key task that began during adolescence. According to Erikson, it was important for youth to explore alternative roles and identities, and such identity exploration occurred in a social context. As the transitional period between adolescence and adulthood has elongated, it has become clear that identity development continues beyond adolescence and into what is now called emerging adulthood. Thus, it is important for educators, policy makers, and others interacting with youth to have access to information on the role of electronic communication in identity development during adolescence and emerging adulthood.
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