Lying on Adolescents’ Blogs

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Adolescents are the most truthful about school and their life on blogs, whereas they are the least truthful about intimate topics such as family life and partnership. Adolescents present their personal information on blogs very truthfully. A girls of fourteen is really a girl of fourteen.

During adolescence forming an identity is a key developmental task in this period. Identity in the sense of a coherent sense of the self. This developmental phase is crucial to questions such as who am i and it’s the phase in which adolescents experiment with different social roles. A blog is an extraordinary place to experiment with identity and social roles and to experiment with relationships online.

Fifty percent of adolescents show their photograph on their blogs11; 54% present personal data, such as age, name, or domicile; and 61% present contact information, such as e-mail address, instant messaging username, and phone number.

From the popular press it’s usually reported that adolescents do not use their true identity online. In a recent published research the authors approached 120 adolescents with blogs, adolescents between 13 and 17 years old with at least 3 months of active blogging were sent a survey via e-mail, instant messages, or blogs. The data were collected in 2 steps, first an online questionnaire with questions about real-life identity and questions about the frequency of lying about important aspects and questions about the usual topics on their blog.

Next the participants real life identity was verified by a competition when they participated. 12 of them would be selected and given a price. Their real identity was checked for the price winning and they were informed that when they lied about their identity they would not receive the price. Therefore, adolescents knew that if they wanted to win a prize, they had to fill in the questionnaire truthfully, regardless of whether or not they lie on their blog.

From 120, 112 questionnaires were returned, 90% (101) were female, 9,8% (9) were male. Adolescents reported minimal lying on their blogs. Significantly more lying on their blog was done by the younger adolescents (13-14) compared to the older adolescents (15-17).

The adolescents admitted lying on their blogs the most in the questionnaire about their sexual experience. Interviews were conducted with 10 randomly selected participants whose answers were then verified. None of them had lied about their identity. Only one of 10 at random selected participants came to the meeting on her own and that she was in the upper age range (17 years old). Adolescents are not necessarily irresponsible as far as the relationship between the online and offline world is concerned.

From this and other research it can be concluded that:

For adolescents, the Internet tends to serve as an extension of the real-life identity rather than as a place where special identities are created. ……..blogs are not perceived as personal diaries but more as an instrument for communication, and thereby an extension of the blogger’s real-life identity

Do you lie on your blog?
Blinka, L., & Smahel, D. (2009). Fourteen Is Fourteen and a Girl Is a Girl: Validating the Identity of Adolescent Bloggers CyberPsychology & Behavior DOI: 10.1089/cpb.2009.0044