Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Online time may foster youngster’s social involvement

21.02.2006


Adults often express fear that young people spend too much time online and, as a result, are losing a sense of the importance of social interaction, civic involvement and participation in social communities.



A Northwestern University researcher who for seven years has been studying a remarkable online community of 3,000 youngsters aged 10 to 16 disagrees.

"The involvement of youngsters in online communities today is qualitatively, not quantitatively, different than it was a generation ago," says Justine Cassell, professor of communication studies and director of the Program on Technology and Social Behavior at Northwestern University.


She is presenting her findings Sunday, Feb. 19, at the annual meeting of the Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in St. Louis.

"For young technology enthusiasts, involvement might not mean attending meetings in school gymnasiums or sitting around campfires. Their social or civic engagement may take place in online communities in the glow of their home computer screens," Cassell says.

In studying the online group of young people who represent 139 countries and have different social backgrounds and levels of computer proficiency, she and her colleagues David Huffaker of Northwestern University and Dona Tversky of Stanford University find that the youngsters demonstrate high levels of civic involvement and care passionately about their communities and the world.

Cassell has studied the characteristics of youth leadership and leadership styles by analyzing data resulting from the 1998 online Junior Summit that she directed.

Without ever seeing one another face-to-face, and in a community almost entirely free of adult intervention, these children traded messages in an online forum about the ways technology could improve life for the world’s young citizens. They then elected leaders to represent their community in a real world meeting with political and industry leaders from around the world.

"While other studies have reported that leadership in the online world is similar to leadership in the off-line or physical world, those studies have been based on the behaviors of adult technology users," says Cassell. "We have found that young leaders using technology do not necessarily reproduce adult styles of leadership."

Cassell and her colleagues found that they could predict who was going to be elected a leader after analyzing the kinds of language the youngsters used online. And, whereas in the real world "leader language" has been found to contain many references to the leader’s ideas and abilities, that was not the case in the data from the online Junior Summit.

The leaders in Cassell’s online community were more likely to synthesize the ideas of others and to be highly socially adept -- characteristics more typical of women than men in studies of adult, offline leaders. In fact, more girls than boys were elected to leadership positions in the online community.

Cassell also found that online community members appear to place high value on collaboration, social ability and persuasiveness. In adult studies those styles of leadership are found to exist more frequently in women than in men.

Cassell’s paper is titled "Youth Leadership Online: A New Paradigm for Civic Participation" and is part of an AAAS panel on teenagers and technology.

Wendy Leopold | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.northwestern.edu

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Internet use in class tied to lower test scores
16.12.2016 | Michigan State University

nachricht Geographers provide new insight into commuter megaregions of the US
01.12.2016 | Dartmouth College

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

Im Focus: Bacterial Pac Man molecule snaps at sugar

Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.

The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Water - as the underlying driver of the Earth’s carbon cycle

17.01.2017 | Earth Sciences

Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

17.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Smart homes will “LISTEN” to your voice

17.01.2017 | Architecture and Construction

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>