Study: Youth Use Technology to Moderate Emotions

February 17, 2009 at 10:29 am 4 comments

42-16027586The OneSeventeen Media team is a group of long-time believers that kids want to use technology to as a means to self-help.  We’ve consistently seen youth reaching out for tools and information to navigate their way through difficult situations and the complications of growing up.  

Louis Leung, Ph.D. Associate Professor & Director of the Center for Communication Research at the School of Journalism & Communication at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, affirms our belief in his research (via Next Great Thing)

He found that when kids are stressed they use technology to help moderate their emotions.  That is, when kids in his study found themselves under stress, they interacted with technology to both moderate their moods and access social networks.  Through the Internet, they accessed entertainment and information and sought “social compensation” through recognition and relationship management.

Consistent with good mental health, they recognized the need to seek help.  The more social support a subject was able to access, the less impact stress had on their lives.

Adults are often hesitant to believe that youth are eager to share their challenges and solve problems through technology, but the world’s first online generation is asking for just that.

(Image found here)

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Entry filed under: Kids, Learning, OneSeventeen Media, Online Tools, Relationships, Social Emotional Learning, Technology. Tags: , , , .

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. ggw_bach  |  February 17, 2009 at 11:20 am

    online expression of emotions can be a great way of ‘outing’ and exploration.

  • 2. pochp  |  February 17, 2009 at 11:29 am

    Those who say that technology is evil should read this.

  • 3. bcarls  |  February 17, 2009 at 6:40 pm

    Amy, you’re right on about adults hesitancy. As adults – and I’m guilty of this too – I tend to think about how a young person would act in certain situations based upon how I would act. But, I’m from a different generation. With my 20-something sons, I have seen how just their online experiences differ and they are only 28 months apart in age.

    I think the best advice I can give from my experience as a parent and educator is to ask first and then really listen. Don’t assume you know how your child wants to deal with stress in their lives. And, don’t think that just because they feel comfortable online that they won’t have offline communication skills. In fact, a recent study showed that just by texting, young people have been shown to increase their reading comprehension!

  • 4. Amy Looper  |  March 11, 2009 at 7:46 am

    Full disclosure: I believe 100% in allowing youth “responsible” access to technology. Developing tools for kids to use in this way is what I evangelize and do full time. So this study is not only exciting to me but fully supports the past 9 years of my work with thousands of youth across the country who have used our online tools to help them express themselves. Both “good” kids as well as “at-risk” kids. It’s my experience that all youth need a way to work out all sorts of issues.

    It’s a natural thing for these generations of “digital natives” to turn to technology based tools for help as well as fun. It’s their way now to stay plugged in on many levels just as the jumping on the telephone after school was my way when I was a teenage girl growing up in the 70″s.

    I feel it’s up to us as adults to actively invite them into the co-creation process of building the types of online tools and content they need and are in many cases actively requesting. As with most people and kids are no different in my opinion, when you meet them in their culture and or in their comfort zone with ideas and suggestion on how to work through what they’re feeling as well as how to seek the answers they’re looking for, they will respond and talk with adults about what they need and or about what they’re feeling.

    Great article Amy and great find on this study!


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