Internet communication among college students: its role and perceived effects on interaction and the self
bern, thomas james
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This study is a qualitative investigation into the effect of internet technologies on the social lives of college students who frequently employ them. Three research questions are addressed. First, how do college students understand the various roles or functions of the Internet in terms of their social ties with others? Second, what problems related to interaction occur through the use of these communication technologies? Finally, what problems or effects related to the notion of "the self" occur when maintaining social ties via Internet communication technologies? Focus groups with college students indicated that they could not possibly imagine maintaining their social lives without them. Among the limitations and problems frequently indicated were a difficulty in using these communication options to discuss important, sensitive, or emotional issues with significant others. Finally, these college students appear to be more authentic online and less-fragmented by this form of communication than previous literature would suggest.