Communication and Information Technologies Annual: Volume 8

Subject:

Table of contents

(19 chapters)
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Acknowledgements

Pages xi-xii
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Purpose

Technostress and information overload are serious challenges of the information age. An alarming number of people exhibit dangerously intensive media consumption, while Internet and mobile phone addictions are a widespread phenomenon. At the same time, new media overexposure among young people is understudied, even more so when social network sites are concerned.

Methodology/approach

This study explores how feelings of overexposure and stress relate to the self-expressive needs of teenagers. It presents and discusses the results of a large-scale survey conducted during an exhibition on media overload in Switzerland. A total of 6,989 adolescents provided answers on their media overload and stress. Descriptive statistics and logistic regression were used to quantify the influence of demographic characteristics on social network site related stress.

Findings

While only a minority of 13 percent of respondents feels stressed by social network sites, more than one third has the feeling of spending too much time on such platforms. Age, gender, and language background (French vs. German speaking) shape the overload propensity, with older, male and French-speaking teenagers most at risk for social network site stress.

Social implications

The study proposes that social divides exist in teenagers’ ability to cope with a specific affordance of social network sites, namely their constant status updates and potential of overexposure. Furthermore, it reflects upon the relation between identity performance and stress.

Originality of chapter

The chapter is one of the first to investigate social network site overload with a broad sample approach, quantifying antecedents of the phenomenon.

Purpose

In the first decades of ICT adoption, Whites traditionally had higher levels of Internet access and usage. We examine whether race remains a factor in Internet usage, among a group presumed to be digital natives – middle school students.

Methodology

A survey was administered to a racially/ethnically diverse sample of students in a mid-Atlantic school district including White, Hispanic, African American, and Asian/Pacific Islander. The survey sought to measure time spent engaged in varying Internet activities and related sociodemographic factors.

Findings

The analyses indicate that Whites do not have higher levels of Internet usage, and in many cases racial minority youth are more engaged in Internet activities than Whites. This holds true when accounting for a number of sociodemographic and background factors that are known to affect Internet usage.

Research implications

This chapter adds to the evidence that within the United States the digital divide has become more about the “other dimensions” such as how the Internet is used, rather than merely access or ownership (e.g., first level digital divide issues) at the middle school level.

Originality

This chapter will be beneficial to researchers who study the digital divide and those who seek to understand the myriad uses of computers among youth. It will also be beneficial for those who seek to integrate computer interventions in schools. This study includes one of the most diverse samples of middle school students in the United States. The results suggest that there are multiple dimensions to the digital divide and that patterns of use are changing among middle school youth.

Purpose

This study provides empirical support for a link between video game play and likelihood to major in a STEM field.

Design/methodology/approach

Using the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health), this study investigates whether adolescents who play video games are more likely than those who do not to choose a STEM field major in college, and if other characteristics explain this relationship.

Findings

Results from a nested series of logistic regression models show that – compared to those who do not play video games in adolescence – teens who play video games are 70% more likely to major in a STEM field when they attend college.

Research limitations/implications

The Add Health dataset allows for empirical verification of the link between video game play and STEM major choice, but it is dated. Future research should use more recent data. Factors such as gaming platform and game genre are likely to be key variables in future research.

Practical implications

This finding lends support for including video game play as a potential factor in future studies on college major choice, and offers further empirical support for utilizing video games as a potential gateway into STEM.

Originality/value

Going beyond previous research, this study finds that playing commercial video games may be one entry point to STEM fields, and implies that it is important to understand the impact of games that millions of young people play.

Purpose

This study investigated how college students’ pace of life and perceptions of communication technologies shape the choices they make when engaging in mediated communication with their parents.

Methodology

We conducted 21 interviews to explore how students’ understandings of various communication technologies, the rules and patterns of technology use in their families, and the circumstances surrounding their use of technologies while at college influence the number and type of media they use to communicate with their parents.

Findings

We found that perceived busyness and generational differences played a large role in limiting technologies used, with environmental factors, the purpose of communication, and complexity of message also contributing to technology choices.

Originality

This study extends media multiplexity theory by investigating media choice and relational tie strength in an intergenerational context.

Purpose

This study analyses how media choices can be used in the construction of social identity.

Approach

We approach the topic through the analytical lens of identity work. We present a case study of a community of IT students during their first year of studies, including participant observation, focus groups, and surveys. We focus on what community means to the individuals located within a specific social context. This allows us to examine ICT use and adoption holistically as a key aspect of community formation and identity maintenance.

Findings

We depict everyday interactions in which the choice of an older information communication technology, Internet Relay Chat, serves participants in their quest for social belongingness in their community and in distinguishing the community positively from other social groups. This chapter describes how identity work is accomplished by adopting and valuing shared, social views about users versus non-users, including: (1) emphasizing the skills and efforts needed for using Internet Relay Chat (IRC), (2) undermining the use of other technologies, and (3) deploying and referencing IRC jargon and “insider humor” within the broader community.

Originality/value of paper

By examining online and offline social interactions in a defined community over time, we expose the process of identity work in a holistic manner. Our analysis emphasizes the underlying process where media choices can be harnessed to fulfill the need to identify with groups and feel affirmed in one’s claims to both personal and social identity.

Purpose

The purpose of this research was to utilize protection motivation theory, which states that individuals will take actions to protect themselves from threats when they have both knowledge of actions that will protect them from the threat and the motivation to do so, to develop a better way of training adolescents to be safe on the Internet.

Design/methodology/approach

This study utilized an experimental approach in a high school environment to test its hypotheses. Participants were split into two groups: a group who received a tutorial about how to stay safe on the Internet (an enactive mastery tutorial that allowed students to actually try out the skills they were learning) and a group who did not receive the training. Participants were then asked about their intentions to engage in protective behaviors, their perceived ability to do so, and the likelihood that these protective behaviors would help them to stay safer on the Internet.

Findings

The findings indicated that an enactive mastery training program increased intentions to engage in safe online behavior in the future, offering a foundation for the development of future theory-based online safety interventions.

Research limitations/implications

This study was conducted in a small geographic region in schools that agreed to utilize a class period to test the enactive mastery tutorial, which limits its external validity. Furthermore, this study only measured intentions to engage in protective behaviors, not actual behaviors.

Practical implications

This research provides a guideline for an effective way of increasing the likelihood that adolescents will engage in protective behaviors online, which has great practical applications for teachers, administrators, PSA advertisers, etc.

Originality/value

This chapter provides a framework for creating programs to help adolescents engage in safer behavior. Furthermore, it introduces the idea of involvement to the protection motivation theory literature, which is a valuable variable to consider when determining how to create an effective campaign to change behavior.

Purpose

Interactive media strategies and digital tools have enabled advertisers to target children with promotional offers and creative appeals.

Design

Based on theories related to metaphors in advertisements, cognitive comprehension by children, promotional appeals, and presentation techniques, the research for this study comprised a content analysis of 1,980 online banner advertisements with reference to use of metaphors, promotional appeals, creative content, and selling techniques.

Findings

The research study concludes that online advertising to children, in contrast to traditional advertising vehicles, is characterized by (a) a vibrant visual metaphor, (b) surfeit of animated content, (c) interactive features, (d) myriad product types, and (e) creative content for a mixed audience of adults and children.

Originality

This study argues that the impact and content of the Internet as a new advertising medium are distinctly different from traditional characteristics of television and print.

Purpose

To analyze the emergence of cyberbullying in the news and to unveil the extent to which this new social problem is being constructed as a moral panic.

Design/methodology/approach

Ethnographic content analysis is conducted on a sample of 477 local and national newspaper articles published from 2004 to 2011. Goode and Ben-Yehuda’s five criteria of a moral panic – consensus, concern, hostility, disproportionality, and volatility – are used as a lens to analyze how this issue emerged in U.S. culture.

Findings

News coverage of this issue erupted within a very short time period, drawing important attention to a previously unknown social problem facing youth. Yet in the construction of cyberbullying as a new threat to social order, the news coverage sometimes inflates the magnitude and severity of the problem. In doing so, the media work to misrepresent, misinform, and oversimplify what is a more complicated and perhaps not yet fully understood issue among youth today.

Originality/value

Electronic aggression is something that is of growing concern to children, parents, educators, and policymakers. Evidence has begun to show that its effects may be as harmful as face-to-face bullying. Since the media play a vital role in the designation of certain issues as worthy of the public’s attention, it is pertinent that this information is presented in an accurate fashion, rather than simply promoting a moral panic around the topic.

Research limitations/implications

Future research should move beyond print media to examine how TV, popular culture, and social media sites construct this problem. This should include research on the public’s understanding and interpretation of these mediated forms of communication.

Purpose

To inform policy, curricula, and future research on cyberbullying through an exploration of the moral reasoning of digitally active 10–14-year olds (tweens) when witnesses to digital abuse.

Methodology/approach

Conducted interviews with 41 tweens, asking participants to react as witnesses to two hypothetical scenarios of digital abuse. Through thematic analysis of the interviews, I developed and applied a new typology for classifying “upstanders” and “bystanders” to cyberbullying.

Findings

Identified three types of upstander and five types of bystander, along with five thinking processes that led participants to react in those different ways. Upstanders were more likely than bystanders to think through a scenario using high-order moral reasoning processes like disinterested perspective-taking. Moral reasoning, emotions, and contextual factors, as well as participant gender and home school district, all appeared to play a role in determining how participants responded to cyberbullying scenarios.

Research limitations/implications

Hypothetical scenarios posed in interviews cannot substitute for case studies of real events, but this qualitative analysis has produced a framework for classifying upstanding and bystanding behavior that can inform future studies and approaches to digital ethics education.

Originality

This study contributes to the literature on cyberbullying and moral reasoning through in-depth interviews with tweens that record the complexity and context-dependency of thinking processes like perspective-taking among an understudied but critical age group.

About the Editors

Pages 259-260
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About the Authors

Pages 261-266
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DOI
10.1108/S2050-206020148
Publication date
2014-11-27
Book series
Studies in Media and Communications
Editors
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
ISBN
978-1-78350-629-3
eISBN
978-1-78350-582-1
Book series ISSN
2050-2060