Self-concept and online social networking in young adolescents : implications for school counselors
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The current report reviews the recent research on online social networking sites (MySpace and Facebook), and their impact on adolescent self-concept and identity development. This paper describes the history and recent expansion of social networking sites, followed by an overview of adolescent identity development. The literature suggests both positive and negative effects of social networking use on adolescent self-concept. Positive effects include the strengthening of group identity, the benefits of self-expression, and the ability to reinforce social relationships. On the other hand, negative effects include an intensified discrepancy between one’s ideal and actual selves, false representations of the self, and the risks involved with online disclosure. The relationship between personality factors and social networking use is also explored. Finally included are implications of this research for school counselors working with adolescents growing up in the digital age.