The information age, youth, and social networks
The vast proliferation of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) is raising public debate and scholarly discussions regarding the nature and effects of ICT on adolescents. In most Western countries, the use of ICTs in the workplace, at home, and on smartphones has become common. This chapter describes the social implications for adolescents of the rapid penetration of ICTs. It is organized through a discussion of the place of ICTs in the information society, the rise of the network society, and the parallel emergence of “networked individualism,” adolescence as a developmental life stage, the ways in which adolescents’ Internet use is immersed in family tension, and the association of technology and social relationships. To help us understand how adolescents are using ICT, it describes the general network structure and the attributes of online and offline social networks.