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Cyberpsychol Behav. 2007 Feb;10(1):137-40.

Control over social interactions: an important reason for young people's use of the Internet and mobile phones for communication?

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Community Informatics Research and Applications Unit (CIRA), University of Teesside, Middles brough, United Kingdom.


This paper reports some research that was undertaken to determine why young people choose to use certain communication media, especially the Internet and mobile phones for social purposes. Focus group methodology was employed in achieving this aim. Specifically, two focus groups containing young people aged 18-20 years were asked to discuss the question "why do you use different communication media, such as the Internet and mobile phones, in your social lives?" Discussions from the sessions were recorded on audiotapes, and then transcribed, and analyzed according to the principles of Grounded Theory. A number of categories emerged from the data. The most significant category indicated that young people often liked to use communication media such as the Internet and mobile phones to communicate because these afforded them control over their interactions. In particular, the data seemed to suggest that participants felt that because some communication media such as email, text messaging and instant messaging can be used asynchronously as well as synchronously, they allow one time to stop and think before giving a response if this is desired, or, alternatively, allowed one to retain the conversational nature of interactions if this is preferred. This gave participants greater control over interactions than they would have if, say, communicating via voice calls using the telephone or face-to-face, which are necessarily synchronous.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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