A Systematic Review of Recent Research on Adolescent Social Connectedness and Mental Health with Internet Technology Use
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© 2015, Springer International Publishing. An increase in the use of online technology among adolescents has influenced their sense of connectedness in various ways. Some studies suggest that there are positive aspects of online technology, especially in providing opportunities for youth to develop and maintain a sense of connectedness in an online environment, while other studies suggest that young people’s use of online technology creates the opposite and leads to feelings of loneliness, depression and social anxiety, and creates mental health challenges among adolescents. Although a substantial number of studies suggests that young people stay in the digital landscape for social activities, there have been few studies that have addressed its effects on feelings of connectedness and mental health. This study reports the findings of a systematic review of recent research addressing the associations between adolescents’ sense of social connectedness and Internet technology use. Adolescents are becoming accustomed to technology and remaining in the virtual playground in part to experience the positive reinforcement of social connections. Although Internet technology might provide additional opportunities for adolescents to seek emotional connection with friends and school, this study suggests that real-life social skills are still a necessary foundation for them to use technology in a beneficial way. Taken collectively, the articles reviewed suggest that adults who interact with youth should incorporate Internet technology into their work, and consider the development of a digital landscape to promote adolescents’ social connectedness.
author list (cited authors)
Wu, Y., Outley, C., Matarrita-Cascante, D., & Murphrey, T. P.