My feed does not define me: the role of social networking site usage in adolescent self-concept
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Introduction: Adolescence is a critical period of self-concept development. However, with the prevalence of social networking site use amongst this age group, this development is now occurring in a completely different context when compared to previous generations. Aims: This study aimed to investigate 1) the intensity of adolescent social networking site use, 2) discrepancies between adolescent and parent estimations of their social networking site intensity and their actual social networking site usage, 3) the relationship between social networking site usage and adolescent self-concept and 4) whether this relationship is mediated by adolescents’ social comparison tendencies. Methods: A cross-sectional sample of adolescents (N = 86, Mage = 16.8) and their parents completed a web-based questionnaire composed of reliable and validated measures including the Social Networking Intensity Scale and the Self-Perception Profile for Adolescents. Participants also recorded their social networking site usage for one week using a recording application installed on their device. Results: Data analyses included descriptive statistics, a Hierarchical Multiple Regression and a One-Way Analysis of Variance. Results showed that participants spent an average of 1 hour and 35 minutes on social networking sites per day. The most popular sites amongst participants were Instagram, Snapchat and WhatsApp and the most common uses included talking with friends and family, finding entertaining content and feeling involved with what is going on with others. A significant difference was found between self and parent-reported social networking site usage and actual social networking site usage. Time spent on social networking sites or social networking site intensity did not predict adolescents’ general self-concept. Discussion: The results of this study did not provide evidence as to an association between social networking site intensity and adolescent self-concept. Results, implications and limitations are discussed in relation to previous literature and theory, educational psychology practice and policy.
Social networking sites