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Dev Psychol. 2006 May;42(3):391-4.

Children, adolescents, and the internet: a new field of inquiry in developmental psychology.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.


With this special section on children, adolescents, and the Internet, we survey the state of a new field of inquiry in developmental psychology. This field is important because developmentalists need to understand how children and adolescents live in a new, massive, and complex virtual universe, even as they carry on their lives in the real world. We have selected six empirical articles to showcase various aspects of child and adolescent development in this virtual universe. These articles reflect three major themes of this new field: communication on the Internet; cognitive development, academic achievement, and the Internet; and adolescents in a globalized Internet world. These three sections reflect one of our major editorial goals: to sample various relevant aspects of development as they relate to the Internet. The selection of articles reflects a second editorial goal: to sample both the positive and negative aspects of the virtual world in which children and adolescents are increasingly living. Another of our editorial goals was to sample as large an age range as possible. We also utilized a very broad definition of development. Last but not least, we sought out and found methodological diversity.

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