Are the Qualities of Adolescents’ Offline Friendships Present in Digital Interactions?
- 2.6k Downloads
Today’s youth often connect with friends online. Although decades of research have explored the core qualities of face-to-face friendships, less is known about how these qualities differ when friends interact via technology. Through a synthesis of research on friendship in digital spaces, we examine whether the core qualities of face-to-face friendships are evident in cyberspace. Six key components of friendships were identified from the large canon of research on friendships and studies that addressed these topics (i.e., self-disclosure, validation, companionship, instrumental support, conflict, and conflict resolution) were reviewed. The findings suggest that, while peer interactions in online spaces may be novel, the core qualities of friendships identified in research on offline spaces persist. Future research directions are identified.
KeywordsAdolescents Friendship quality Social media Texting Instant messaging Online interactions
This research was supported, in part, by a Grant from the National Science Foundation to Stephanie M. Reich (1218705). The authors would also like to thank the Development in Social Context Lab at the University of California, Irvine for their feedback.
JCY conceptualized the study, conducted the literature search, analyzed and interpreted the data, and drafted the manuscript. SMR conceptualized the study and helped analyze and interpret the data and draft the manuscript. Both authors read and approved the final manuscript.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors report no conflicts of interest.
This manuscript does not involve any human participants or animals.
- Berndt, T. J. (1989). Obtaining support from friends during childhood and adolescence. In D. Belle (Ed.), Children’s social networks and social supports. New York, NY: Wiley.Google Scholar
- Berndt, T.J., Hawkins, J.A., & Jiao, Z. (1999). Influences of friends and friendships on adjustment to junior high school. Merrill-Palmer Quaterly 45(1), 13–41. http://www.jstor.org/stable/23093308.
- Bigelow, B. J., & La Gaipa, J. J. (1975). Children’s written descriptions of friendship: A multidimensional analysis. Developmental Psychology, 11(6), 857–858.Google Scholar
- boyd, d. (2008). Taken out of context: American teen sociality in networked publics. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Berkeley, CA: University of California, Berkeley.Google Scholar
- boyd, d. (2010). Friendship. In M. Ito, S. Baumer, M. Bittanti, d. boyd, R. Cody, B. Stephenson, H. Horst, P. Lange, D. Mahendran, K. Martínez, C.J. Pascoe, D. Perkel, L. Robinson, C. Sims, & L. Tripp (Eds.), Hanging out, messing around, and geeking out: Kids living and learning with new media (pp. 79–115). Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.Google Scholar
- boyd, d. (2014). It’s complicated: The social lives of networked teens. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
- Brown, B.B. (2016). “Conceptualizing adolescent peer relations in the “social media” era.” Paper presentation at the Society for Research on Child Development’s Special Topics Meeting on Technology and Media in Children’s Development in Irvine, CA.Google Scholar
- Buhrmester, D. (1996). Need fulfillment, interpersonal competence, and the developmental contexts of early adolescent friendships. In W. M. Bukowski, A. F. Newcomb & W. W. Hartup (Eds.), The company they keep (158–185). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Buhrmester, D., & Prager, K. (1995). Patterns and functions of self-disclosure during childhood and adolescence. In K. J. Rotenberg (Ed.), Disclosure processes in children and adolescents (10–56). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Bukowski, W. M., Motzoi, C., & Meyer, F. (2009). Friendship as process, function, and outcome. In K. H. Rubin, W. M. Bukowski & B. Laursen (Eds.), Handbook of peer interactions, relationships, and groups (217–231). New York, NY: The Guilford Press.Google Scholar
- Burhmester, D., & Chow, C. M. (2009). Friendships in adolescence. In H. T. Reis & S. Sprecher (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Human Relationships (Vol. 3, pp. 718–722). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.Google Scholar
- Clark, L. S. (2005). The constant contact generation: Exploring teen friendship networks online. In S. R. Mazzarella (Ed.), Girl wide web: Girls, the Internet, and the negotiation of identity (203–222). New York, NY: Peter Lang Publishing, Inc.Google Scholar
- Cohen, S., Mermelstein, R., Kamarck, T., & Hoberman, H. M. (1985). Measuring the functional components of social support. In I. G. Sarason & B. R. Sarason (Eds.), Social support: Theory, research, and applications (pp 73–94). Dordrecht: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers.Google Scholar
- Common Sense Media (2015). The Common Sense census: Media use by tweens and teens. https://www.commonsensemedia.org/sites/default/files/uploads/research/census_researchreport.pdf. Retrieved November 2016.
- Desjarlais, M., & Willoughby, T. (2010). A longitudinal study of the relation between adolescent boys and girls’ computer use with friends and friendship quality: Support for the social compensation or the rich-get-richer hypothesis? Computers in Human Behavior, 26, 896–905. doi: 10.1016/j.chb.2010.02.004.Google Scholar
- DeSmet, A., Veldeman, C., Poels, K., Bastiaensens, S., Van Cleemput, K., Vandebosch, H., & De Bourdeaudhuji, I. (2014). Determinants of self-reported bystander behavior in cyberbullying incidents among adolescents. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 17(4), 207–215. doi: 10.1089/cyber.2013.0027.Google Scholar
- Douvan, E., & Adelson, J. (1966). The adolescent experience. New York, NY: Wiley.Google Scholar
- Facebook (2016a). Control who can see what you share. https://www.facebook.com/help/1297502253597210/?helpref=hc_fnav. Retrieved February 2017.
- Facebook (2016b). Liking and reacting. https://www.facebook.com/help/452446998120360/. Retrieved February 2017.
- Fehr, B. (1996). Friendship processes. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.Google Scholar
- Furman, W., & Collins, W. A. (2009). Adolescent romantic relationships and experiences. In K. H. Rubin, W. M. Bukowski & B. Laursen (Eds.), Handbook of peer interactions, relationships, and groups (341–360). New York, NY: The Guilford Press.Google Scholar
- Instagram (2016a). Controlling your visibility. https://help.instagram.com/243810329323104/?helpref=hc_fnav. Retrieved February 2017.
- Instagram (2016b). How do I like a photo or video? https://help.instagram.com/459307087443937. Retrieved February 2017.
- Jones, M. G., Schieffelin, B. B., & Smith, R. E. (2011). When friends who talk together stalk together: Online gossip as metacommunication. In C. Thurlow & K. Mroczek (Eds.), Digital discourse: Language in the new media (pp 26–47). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Krappmann, L. (1996). Amicitia, drujba, shin-yu, philia, freundschaft, friendship: On the cultural diversity of a human relationship. In W. M. Bukowski, A. F. Newcomb & W. W. Hartup (Eds.), The company they keep (19–40). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Ladd, G. W., & Kochenderfer, B. J. (1996). Linkages between friendship and adjustment during early school transitions. In W. M. Bukowski, A. F. Newcomb & W. W. Hartup (Eds.), The company they keep (322–345). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Laursen, B. (1993). The perceived impact of conflict on adolescent relationships. Merrill-Palmer, 42, 148–164. http://www.jstor.org/stable/23087248.
- Laursen, B. (1996). Closeness and conflict in adolescent peer relationships: Interdependence with friends and romantic partners. In W. M. Bukowski, A. F. Newcomb & W. W. Hartup (Eds.), The company they keep (186–210). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Lenhart, A. (2015a). Teens, social media, & technology overview 2015. http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/04/09/teens-social-media-technology-2015/.
- Lenhart, A. (2015b). Teens, technology, and friendships. http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/08/06/teens-technology-and-friendships/.
- Lindqvist, J., Cranshaw, J., Wiese, J., Hong, J., & Zimmerman, J. (2011). I’m the mayor of my house: Examining why people use foursquare- a social-driven location sharing application. In: Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on human factors in computing systems (pp. 2409–2418). New York: ACM. doi: 10.1145/1978942.1979295.Google Scholar
- Madden, M., Lenhart, A., Cortesi, S., Gasser, U., Duggan, M., Smith, A., & Beaton, M. (2013). Teens, social media, and privacy. http://www.pewinternet.org/2013/05/21/teens-social-media-and-privacy/.
- McCall, G. J. (1988). The organizational life cycle of relationships. In S. W. Duck (Ed.), Handbook of personal relationships (467–484). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
- McDougall, P. & Hymel, S. (2007). Same-gender versus cross-gender friendship conceptions: Similar or different? Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 53(3), 347–380. http://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/23096125.pdf.
- Papini, D.R., Farmer, F.F., Clark, S.M., Micka, J.C., & Barnett, J.K. (1990). Early adolescent age and gender differences in patterns of emotional self-disclosure to parents and friends. Adolescence, 25(100), 959–976. http://search.proquest.com/docview/1295875463?accountid=14509.
- Paquette, J.A. & Underwood, M.K. (1999). Gender differences in young adolescents’ experiences of peer victimization: Social and physical aggression. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 45(2), 242–266. http://www.jstor.org/stable/23093677.
- Prinstein, M. J., Borelli, J. L., Cheah, C.S.L., & Simon, V. A. (2005). Adolescent girls’ interpersonal vulnerability to depressive symptoms: A longitudinal examination of reassurance-seeking and peer relationships. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 114(4), 676–688. doi: 10.1037/0021-843X.114.4.676.PubMedGoogle Scholar
- Rubin, K., Bukowski, W. M., & Parker, J. G. (2006). Peer interactions, relationships, and groups. In W. Damon, R. M. Lerner & N. Eisenberg (Eds.), Handbook of child psychology (6th ed,. Vol. 3, 571–645). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.Google Scholar
- Rueda, H. A., Lindsay, M., & Williams, L. R. (2015). “She posted it on Facebook”: Mexican American adolescents’ experiences with technology and romantic relationship conflict. Journal of Adolescent Research, 30(4), 419–445.Google Scholar
- Samter, W. (2003). Friendship interaction skills across the life-span. In J. O. Greene & B. R. Burleson (Eds.), Handbook of communication and social interaction skills (637–684). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
- Scissors, L., Burke, M., & Wengrovitz, S. (2016). What’s in a Like? Attitudes and behaviors around receiving Likes on Facebook. In CSCW’16 Proceedings of the 19th ACM conference on computer-supported cooperative work & social computing (pp. 1501–1510). New York: ACM. doi: 10.1145/2818048.2820066.Google Scholar
- Smetana, J. G., & Villalobos, M. (2009). Social cognitive development in adolescence. In R. M. Lerner & L. Steinberg (Eds.), Handbook of adolescent psychology (3rd ed., Vol. 1, 10–56). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.Google Scholar
- Sullivan, H. S. (1953). The interpersonal theory of psychiatry. New York, NY: Norton.Google Scholar
- Twitter (2016). What are replies and mentions?. https://support.twitter.com/articles/14023. Retrieved August 2016.
- Vickery, J. R. (2010). Blogrings as virtual communities for adolescent girls. In S. Mazzarella (Ed.), Girl wide web 2.0: Revising girls, the Internet, and the negotiation of identity (pp. 183–202). New York, NY: Peter Lang Publishing, Inc.Google Scholar
- Walther, J. B., Van Der Heide, B., Kim, S. Y., Westerman, D., & Tong, S. T. (2008). The role of friends’ appearance and behavior on evaluations of individuals on Facebook: Are we known by the company we keep? Human Communication Research, 34(1), 28–49. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2958.2007.00312.x.Google Scholar
- Yau, J.C. & Reich, S.M. (2016). “Adolescent friendships on Instagram and Snapchat”. Paper presentation at the 2016 American Psychological Association Convention.Google Scholar
- Yau, J. C., & Reich, S. M. (under review a). Audiences and allies: Adolescents' self-presentation norms and practices on Facebook and Instagram.Google Scholar
- Yau, J. C., & Reich, S. M. (under review b). Getting the message: The association of network size and friend contact on Facebook.Google Scholar
- Youniss, J., & Smollar, J. (1985). Adolescent relations with mothers, fathers, and friends. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar