Interaction on social media such as Facebook and Twitter help provide teenagers with "a sense of belonging and identity" according to a US study.

Researchers from the University of Washington interviewed over 2,000 children aged 13-18 and found that the majority of those that described themselves as shy or quiet, said it's easier to talk about their feelings and problems behind a screen. 

This type of peer-to-peer interaction is happening constantly on cell phones, Facebook, online instant messaging clients, YouTube and Twitter, according to the study's author, Assistant Professor of Information Katie Davis.

"It's clear computer-mediated communication helps teens achieve developmental milestones," she explained.

"What they're doing is different from generations of teenagers from before the digital era, but it comes from the same place of basic developmental needs. It's just that they're using different tools to satisfy these needs."

However, she did warn that by being able to reach out to their friends anywhere at anytime, may mean adolescents develop an "autonomous sense of self" while relying heavily on their online networks for self-confirmation.

Posted 29/10/2012 by richard.hook@pavpub.com