Publications

    Thomas, S., Weinstein, E. & Selman, B., 2017. Did I cross the line? Gendered differences in adolescents’ anonymous digital self-reports of wrongdoing in an anonymous online context. Sex Roles , 77 (1-2) , pp. 59-71. Publisher's VersionAbstract
    Young people spend substantial and increasing quantities of time communicating on and through digital platforms. Online contexts can be frontiers for communication and disclosure unbounded from offline life. The present study explores how U.S. teens position themselves in anonymous digital posts that pertain to wrongdoing. Do adolescents’ posts reproduce social norms and popular gendered narratives about wrongdoing—or, conversely, do anonymous platforms allow for a departure from gendered scripts? The authors draw on 780 online stories (390 written by self-reported young men, 390 by self-reported young women) about teens’ experiences with wrongdoing to investigate differences in reported rates of victimization and admission of wrongdoing between young male and female posters. Young men are more likely to report instances of their own wrongdoing than are young women, despite the fact that stories of victimization are equally likely to implicate young women and men as culpable of wrongdoing. These findings suggest adolescents internalize and express wrongdoing in gendered ways even in disembodied, anonymous online environments. For practitioners and policymakers interested in questions of school discipline, anti-bullying initiatives, and student accountability for interpersonal relationships, our findings suggest the need for the use of different scripts when setting context for male and female students.
    Identity development in the digital age: An Eriksonian perspective
    Davis, K. & Weinstein, E., 2017. Identity development in the digital age: An Eriksonian perspective. In Identity, Sexuality, and Relationships among Emerging Adults in the Digital Age. IGI Global, pp. 1-17. Publisher's VersionAbstract
    In this chapter, the authors explore the role that networked platforms play in identity development during emerging adulthood. They use the stories of two youth to highlight dominant themes from existing research and to examine the developmental implications of forming one's identity in a networked era. The inquiry is theoretically informed by the work of the psychologist Erik Erikson, who depicted identity development as a process of exploration that ultimately results in a sense of personal continuity and coherence. The authors consider what insights this theory—formulated in the mid-twentieth century—has to offer in a digital world. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the practical implications relating to education, policy, and the design of new technologies.
    White, A., Weinstein, E. & Selman, R., 2016. Adolescent friendship challenges in a digital context: Are new technologies game changers, amplifiers, or just a new medium?. Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies. Publisher's VersionAbstract
    The authors analyzed 300 stories about adolescents’ friendship challenges in order to explore the roles of digital technologies in contemporary friendship conflicts. An initial round of analysis facilitated the identification and subsequent classification of stories by five commonly described challenges: betrayal, isolation, meanness and harassment, concern about a Friend, and Maintenance Challenges. Drawing on previously identified features of exchanges in and through digital contexts, including scalability, persistence, replicability, and anonymity, the role of technology was then explored in the context of the five friendship challenges. Scalability, leveraging the affordance of efficiently reaching a broad audience, was the most common way technology amplified friendship challenges. However, technology also often functioned solely as the medium for communication. Additionally, adolescents described difficulties related to sexting as a contemporary friendship challenge. Implications for supporting youth in their friendships are discussed.
    Weinstein, E., 2014. The Personal Is Political on Social Media: Online Civic Expression Patterns and Pathways Among Civically Engaged Youth. International Journal of Communication , 8 , pp. 210-233.Abstract
    Social media have dramatically altered the communication landscape, offering novel contexts for individual expression. But how do youth who are civically engaged off-line manage opportunities for civic expression on social media? Interviews with 70 U.S.-based civic youth aged 15 to 25 revealed three main patterns characterizing the relationship between off-line participation and online expression: blended, bounded, and differentiated. Five sets of empirically derived considerations influencing expression patterns emerged: organizational policies, personal image and privacy, perceived alignment with civic goals, attitudes toward the platform(s), and perceptions of their audience(s). Most civic youth express the civic online, yet a minority highlight tensions that lead them to refrain from sharing in certain or all online contexts.