Social media use and social connectedness in adolescents: The positives and the potential pitfalls

Allen, K, Ryan, T, Gray, D, McInerney, D and Waters, L 2014, 'Social media use and social connectedness in adolescents: The positives and the potential pitfalls', Australian Educational and Developmental Psychologist, vol. 31, no. 1, pp. 18-31.


Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title Social media use and social connectedness in adolescents: The positives and the potential pitfalls
Author(s) Allen, K
Ryan, T
Gray, D
McInerney, D
Waters, L
Year 2014
Journal name Australian Educational and Developmental Psychologist
Volume number 31
Issue number 1
Start page 18
End page 31
Total pages 14
Publisher Cambridge University Press
Abstract As social media use is rising among adolescents, the issue of whether this use leads to positive or negative outcomes warrants greater understanding. This article critically reviews the literature related to this important topic. Specifically, we examine how social media use affects social connectedness in terms of three elements of adolescent development: sense of belonging, psychosocial wellbeing, and identity development and processes. Mixed findings are reported regarding the role that social media plays in fostering social connectedness, which suggests that young people may experience both positive and negative psychological outcomes. As a result, this article argues that online tools create a paradox for social connectedness. On one hand, they elevate the ease in which individuals may form and create online groups and communities, but on the other, they can create a source of alienation and ostracism. This article contributes to ongoing discourse in the area of educational and developmental psychology, and has implications for researchers and practitioners working with adolescents.
Subject Developmental Psychology and Ageing
Psychology not elsewhere classified
Educational Psychology
Keyword(s) inclusive education
school psychology
special education
DOI - identifier 10.1017/edp.2014.2
Copyright notice © Australian Psychological Society Ltd 2014
ISSN 0816-5122
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