Teenagers and social network sites: Do off-line inequalities predict their online social networks?

June Ahn

Abstract


This study analyzes a data set of 701 U.S. teenagers (ages 12-18) that merges an online survey of social network site (SNS) preferences with administrative records from their public school districts. Using a multinomial logistic model, I examine whether offline divides across gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, self-esteem, and social capital predict teenagers’ membership into the popular SNSs, Facebook and Myspace. The results show that the characteristics of teens that use Facebook, Myspace, or both SNSs show distinct differences, which illuminate questions of digital divide and complex adolescent social practices as they relate to online participation. The study offers two main contributions by providing an analysis of: (a) teenage SNS users, a population that is less examined in the research literature of online communities; and, (b) the relationship between their off-line characteristics and online social networks.

Keywords


Youth; Teenagers; Social Network Sites

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5210/fm.v17i1.3752



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