Social networking sites and positive emotional engagement: The skills adolescents use to maintain and optimise emotional wellbeing.

Year: 2012

Author: Amey, Megan

Type of paper: Abstract refereed


Adolescent engagement with Social Networking Sites (SNSs) is high, yet there is limited understanding on how adolescents negotiate these spaces in emotionally positive ways.  Current educative programs surrounding cyber safety and digital citizenship have limited dialogue on emotional safety and wellbeing. Greater awareness of skills used to safely access and use SNSs is needed so this study investigated opinions of adolescents in regards to their skill sets and dispositions online and the effect on their emotional wellbeing. A qualitative research design was employed within a metropolitan secondary school in Adelaide, South Australia, with 16 adolescents aged 15 participating in three focus groups. Findings identified skill sets for emotionally healthy use of SNS in relation to emotion recognition, emotion management and regulation, empathy, relationship building (Commonwealth of Australia, 2009), positive reappraisal, resilience, and positive thinking (Seligman et al., 2009; Durlak et al., 2011; CASEL, 2011).  Additionally, analysis pertaining to whether these skills and attitudes are context specific or drawn from offline abilities is provided.  Understanding the emotional skill set adolescents need for SNS engagement may inform programs for skill development for adolescents using SNSs.  It is highlighted though, that it is timely to research the emotional wellbeing of adolescents online.