Friendship 2.0: adolescents' experiences of belonging and self-disclosure online

J Adolesc. 2012 Dec;35(6):1527-36. doi: 10.1016/j.adolescence.2012.02.013. Epub 2012 Apr 2.


This study explores the role that digital media technologies play in adolescents' experiences of friendship and identity. The author draws on findings from in-depth interviews with 32 adolescents (15 girls, 17 boys) ages 13-18 (M = 15.5 years) attending one of seven secondary schools in Bermuda. The adolescents were asked to describe the nature of their online exchanges with friends and the value they ascribe to these conversations. A thematic analysis of their responses revealed that online peer communications promote adolescents' sense of belonging and self-disclosure, two important peer processes that support identity development during adolescence. At the same time, the unique features of computer-mediated communication shape adolescents' experiences of these processes in distinct ways. Gender and age differences show that adolescents' online peer communications are not uniform; the characteristics that distinguish adolescents offline also shape their online activities.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Bermuda
  • Female
  • Friends*
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Male
  • Psychology, Adolescent
  • Qualitative Research
  • Self Disclosure*
  • Social Identification
  • Social Media
  • Social Networking
  • Young Adult