A coconstructed world: Adolescent self-socialization on the Internet

Laurel Anderson, Deborah Brown McCabe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


This article examines the ubiquitous Internet as a context for socialization for both younger and older adolescents. This research finds that the Internet adds dimensions to and takes away elements in the socialization process that have not been manifest in the same way in the past. The Internet serves as both an influence agent and an interactive context in which socialization and identity development takes place. The authors find that the lack of the usual adult socialization agents in this context challenges the more traditional view of adolescent socialization and results in a self-socialization process. The authors attempt to understand some of the more subtle practices of self-socializing and identity development that occur during adolescence by describing the interrelated themes that arose from the data, including (1) the online structure and context that supported this self-socialization, (2) adolescents' goals while online, (3) predominant socialization and identity development activities that they partake in, (4) negotiated norms of this online coconstructed world, (5) multiple identities related to their identity development, and (6) carryover to the offline world. By examining the confluence of these adolescents with the often "hot" context of Internet social space, this article demonstrates how self-socialization and the negotiated norm of deception and lying gives rise to both benefits and potentially risky behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)240-253
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Public Policy and Marketing
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2012


  • Children and adolescents
  • Internet issues
  • Risk
  • Socialization
  • Vulnerable population

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Marketing


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