This qualitative study explored how young women pursue belongingness and connectedness needs through their use of social network sites and the other meanings they give to their activities. The study involved multiple individual interviews with 35 diverse participants ages 13 through 18. Unlike most research on girls that focuses on White girls, 40% of the participants were girls of color. This research examines girls’ experiences using social media in their own words. Using inductive analysis and feminist critical theory, I first analyzed the data individually and then across cases. I sought meaning in the girls’ own words and understandings that “give voice” to people “outside mainstream research,” like girls (Patton, 2002, p. 98). The findings were grouped into 3 categories: how social media fosters connection and belonging needs; the other personal meanings involved in girls’ social media activities; and the ways social media interfered with belongingness and connection. First, I found that girls exercised their agency in connecting with their friends throughout the day; Instagram and Snapchat were particular favorites. Second, older girls used social media to explore social and political issues, experience freedom and all girls processed concerns about appearance and body image. Some girls believed that social media affected their mood and often had a positive effect on their lives, but they believed they should spend less time on social media. Third, social media at times disrupted girls’ social connections through online drama, bullying, and sexual images, or by avoiding face-to-face interaction. The research suggests the importance of better understanding girls’ online activities from their perspectives for parents and educators.
|Advisor:||Bailey, Lucy E.|
|Commitee:||Vogler, Jane, Montgomery, Diane, Mix, Tamara|
|School:||Oklahoma State University|
|School Location:||United States -- Oklahoma|
|Source:||DAI-A 82/2(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Educational psychology, Secondary education, Social research, Womens studies|
|Keywords:||Belonging, Connection, Girls, Social media|
Copyright in each Dissertation and Thesis is retained by the author. All Rights Reserved
The supplemental file or files you are about to download were provided to ProQuest by the author as part of a
dissertation or thesis. The supplemental files are provided "AS IS" without warranty. ProQuest is not responsible for the
content, format or impact on the supplemental file(s) on our system. in some cases, the file type may be unknown or
may be a .exe file. We recommend caution as you open such files.
Copyright of the original materials contained in the supplemental file is retained by the author and your access to the
supplemental files is subject to the ProQuest Terms and Conditions of use.
Depending on the size of the file(s) you are downloading, the system may take some time to download them. Please be