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The Handbook of Lifespan Communication


Edited By 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 Ten: Adolescent Online Friendship and Peer Relationships

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New communication technologies, such as the Internet, smartphones, tablets as well as a variety of social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and text messaging, have increased in popularity among adolescents in the United States in recent years (Pierce, 2009; Valkenburg & Peter, 2011). For example, over 65% of adolescents in 2009 had at least one social network site profile compared to only 35% of online adults (Jones & Fox, 2009). Not only are young people the early adopters of most new technologies, they are also among the more sophisticated users of it as well. While during the 1990s adolescents tended to use the Internet more for entertainment, since 2005 they have increasingly been using it primarily for interpersonal relationships (Pierce, 2009; Valkenburg & Peter, 2007, 2011). Moreover, the proliferation of the wireless Internet and social media platforms has given adolescents new ways to talk with their friends or make new friends.

This has led to a relatively large amount of research on adolescent social media use and relational development/maintenance over the past decade by communication scholars and other social scientists (boyd, 2007; Davis, 2010; Lenhart, Madden, Macgill, & Smith, 2007; Valkenburg & Peter, 2007, 2011). These studies indicate that these technological innovations have impacted friendship-peer relationships among adolescents in a multitude of ways. For example, new communication technologies are often associated with a number of positive aspects for adolescents. These include online contexts for the development and maintenance ← 195...

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