Child Indicators Research

, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 461–477 | Cite as

The Virtual Arena: A Call for a New Domain of Child Subjective Well-Being

  • Yochay NadanEmail author
  • Avital Kaye-Tzadok


The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore subjective perceptions, perspectives and ascribed meanings of well-being among children aged 8–12 in diverse communities in Israel. Thirty five children participated in the study in eight focus group interviews. One major theme that emerged from the focus group analysis is children’s lived experiences in the virtual arena, including new media and social media (e.g., Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp). Within this theme, three main sub-themes were identified, delineating different aspects of children’s lives in the virtual arena: between risk and protection, negotiating peer relationships, and the absence or engagement of adults. Our findings point to both positive and negative aspects of our participants’ experiences in the virtual arena and indicate the centrality and significance of technology in their lives, especially as an arena through which children communicate with friends and family and in which their social relationships are practiced. Based on our findings, we propose that the virtual arena has become central to children’s lives and, as such, can be considered a new domain in exploring children’s subjective well-being.


Children New media Qualitative research Social media Subjective well-being Virtual arena 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Paul Baerwald School of Social Work and Social WelfareThe Hebrew University of JerusalemJerusalemIsrael
  2. 2.Social Work DepartmentRuppin Academic CenterEmek HeferIsrael
  3. 3.School of Social WorkTel Aviv UniversityTel-AvivIsrael

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