For instance, how often do these themes occur in chat rooms? And importantly, do themes from real life occur in another online public forum such as blogs?Today I present two lines of studies that address these questions – the Chat studies (Subrahmanyam, Smahel, & Greenfield, 2006; Smahel & Subrahmanyam, In Press) and the Blog Project (Li, Lipana, & Subrahmanyam, 2006; Garcia, Harsano, & Subrahmanyam, 2006).In this talk, I will present findings from studies on two different communication forms to argue that these new Internet forums are being used by adolescents to confront and deal with the changes and developmental issues that they have always faced.
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We found that over 12% of all utterances were identity declarations; this amounts to over 2 identity declarations/minute.
Five percent of all utterances were sexual ones; this amounts to 1 sexual remark per minute.
Although we know that adolescents are spending considerable amounts of time on these applications, many questions remain.
Firstly, what are teens doing in communication forums such as chat rooms and blogs? Secondly, are these online communication activities fundamentally changing adolescent behavior or are they simply providing new venues for “traditional” adolescent behavior?
Monitored chatrooms are provided by an Internet service that requires a subscription fee and provides an adult host; in the teen chat rooms an adult monitor or “host” moves from chat room to chat room reminding users about the rules (e.g., no swear words, no giving out identity information, etc), kicking out users who violate the rules, etc.
Unmonitored chat rooms are free and have no adult monitor.
For information about gender identity, nicknames were coded as masculine if they contained male names and/or masculine stereotypes or personas (e.g., - RAYMONI8, Vikingdude123); nicknames were coded as feminine if they contained female names and/or feminine stereotypes or personas (e.g., - Mandi CS12, Americangal).
Nicknames that did not present a gendered identity were coded as gender neutral (e.g., soccerlover, Spoiledbrat).
Much has been made of the new communication forms that are emerging online and of their popularity among adolescents.