Psychology and Child Development Department
BS in Child Development
The use of computers and the Internet continue to increase, especially by children and adolescents. Approximately 40% of adolescents access social networking sites in a typical day and spend on average 54 minutes on the sites (Rideout, Foehr, & Roberts, 2010). Social networking sites, such as Facebook, allow users to provide personal information, continually update information, post images, and communicate with friends. Due to an increase in availability, media has become greatly related to the socialization of adolescents. Identity formation is a major component of adolescence and social networking sites are a realm in which adolescents can explore and express their identity. Users can be selective in content they choose to post, with factors such as ethnicity, identity exploration, and creating an intended image influencing content selection. With use of the Internet increasing in children’s daily lives, the government has implemented laws to protect children’s online privacy yet parents must also be active agents in privacy protection and Internet safety. Parents need to be aware of how and why adolescents use the Internet as well as ways to help promote safe Internet practices.