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The Handbook of Lifespan Communication


Jon F. Nussbaum

The Handbook of Lifespan Communication is the foundational scholarly text that offers readers a state of the art view of the varied and rich areas of lifespan communication research. The fundamental assumptions of lifespan communication are that the very nature of human communication is developmental, and, to truly understand communication, change across time must be incorporated into existing theory and research. Beginning with chapters on lifespan communication theory and methodologies, chapters are then organized into the various phases of life: early childhood, adolescence, emerging adulthood, middle adulthood, and older adulthood. Top scholars across several disciplines have contributed to chapters within their domains of expertise, highlighting significant horizons that will guide researchers for years to come.
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Chapter Eight: The Digital Bridge into Adulthood: Media Uses and Effects in Adolescence

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Media Uses and Effects in Adolescence


Occupying the transition between childhood and emerging adulthood, adolescence is marked by considerable biological, cognitive, emotional, and social development (Susman & Rogol, 2004). With pubertal changes—linear growth, sexual maturation, brain development, and so on—taking place in the backdrop, adolescents negotiate their identities, aspirations, and shifting positions within familial, peer, environmental, and cultural spheres. Media constitute one source on which adolescents rely to better understand themselves, the world around them, and their place in it. This chapter focuses on some of the ways in which the media influence well-being during adolescence.

Adolescents spend much of their out-of-school time using media. A 2009 study showed that U.S. youth (8- to 18-year-olds) used media an average of 11 hours each day (Rideout, Foehr, & Roberts, 2010). This included four daily hours of watching television, more than three hours of listening to music, and nearly two hours using the phone (i.e., texting and talking). To accomplish all this, adolescents engaged in media multitasking 29% of the time. Adolescents have been among the early adopters of social media. According to 2012 data, 95% of American adolescents (12 to 17 years old) used the Internet, and of these, 76% had a Facebook account (Madden, Lenhart, Cortesi, et al., 2013). Teens’ media use may continue to rise as mobile media devices become ubiquitous. In 2012, 37% of 12- to 17-year-olds owned smartphones, and 25% said that they...

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