Facebook Helps Strengthen Boys’ Friendships
By Hannah Osborne | December 21, 2012 5:09 AM EST
While there has been extensive research about the negative effects on children using social networks, such as anxiety, depression and social isolation, few have highlighted the benefits of such sites.
Researchers at the University of York found that boys aged between nine and 13 felt more a part of their friendship groups if they used social networking sites (SNSs).
Sally Quinn and Julian Oldmeadow studied 443 children, 49 percent of whom were boys, from five primary schools and two secondary schools.
They asked them to complete questionnaires about their use of social networks and their friendship groups. Questions included: "How long have you been using a social networking site to contact your friends in your group?" and "How often do you use a social networking site to contact your friends in your group?"
Quinn said: "Previous research has suggested that online communication is associated with increased closeness to friends and friendship quality.
"We know that children under 13 years of age are increasingly using SNSs but little research has focused on the effects of friendship for this age group. Our study examined links to group belonging for boys aged between 9-13."
The researchers also asked questions about the boys' feelings of belonging, such as "I feel the rest of my friendship group accept me", with a scale ranging from "not at all" to "really true".
Findings showed that boys who used SNSs had greater feelings of belonging to their friendship groups than those who did not.
Quinn concluded: "Among boys of this age, friendship groups are characterised by lower levels of self-disclosure, acceptance and closeness than those for girls.
"In the offline world, boys' self-disclosure increases at around age 13/14 years, later than that for girls.
"Our research is consistent with the view that boys may value the online environment as a rehearsal space for self-disclosure skills and that SNSs might help those who are less socially mature, with evidence suggesting that those who are socially anxious prefer the online environment for communication."
To contact the editor, e-mail:
Most Popular Slideshows
- Pope Francis Meets Sudanese Woman Who Was Spared Death for Apostasy (PHOTOS)
- Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17: King Williem-Alexander, Queen Maxima Hold Solemn Reception Ceremony for Victims
- Transfer News: FC Barcelona Shockingly Sign Valencia Defender [PHOTOS]
- Jennifer Lawrence & Nicholas Hoult Allegedly Split: Mad Max Actor Cheats with Kristen Stewart & Riley Keough - Reports
Join the Conversation
- Conspiracy Theory: MH17 Actually the Lost MH370, Ukraine Wreckage 'Not MH17'
- Plane Crash Deaths in 2014 More Than Twice as Many in 2013; Crash Clusters 'Coincidental'
- Volunteer Teen Rapes Orphans during Mission Trip
- New Zealanders Willing to Pay Tax for Maui Dolphin Protection
- New Zealand-Born IDF Soldier Killed in Gaza Attack Amid Ceasefire Promises
- Apple iPhone 6 on Two Confirmed Release Dates, New Parts Leaked Suggesting Bigger iPhone to Come
- Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 Android 5.0 L Material Design Coming with More Interface Changes
- Xiaomi Mi4 vs OnePlusOne vs Nexus 5: Mi4 is the ‘Perfect’ Phone
- Israeli Women Stripping Naked for IDF Soldiers
- Samsung Galaxy S4 LTE-A Android 4.4.2 KitKat Update Rolls Out: When to Hit Your Region
- HTC One M8 Android 4.4.3 KitKat Update Roll Out, Introducing the HTC One Remix
- OnePlus One Android 4.4.4 KitKat and Android L Update Guide