Monitor on Psychology - February 2012 - (Page 62)

R U FRIENDS 4 REAL? Psychologists are learning more about how teen friendships are changed by social networking and text messaging. B Y A MY N OVOTNEY s the parents of most teenagers know, today’s twohour telephone calls with friends are often now conducted via marathon text messaging or Facebook sessions. And that cultural shift has psychologists asking lots of questions: What happens to adolescent friendships when so much interpersonal communication is via text? Or when fights between best friends explode via Facebook for all to see? And can “OMG — ROTFL” (“Oh my God! I’m rolling on the floor laughing!”) via text really convey the same amusement as hearing the giggles of a best friend? So far, the answers to those questions are mixed. Margarita Azmitia, PhD, a psychology professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz, who studies adolescent friendships, is among those who contend that these technologies have only changed some of the ways teens interact. Today’s youth still count the friends they see and talk to every day among their closest, she says. “The [qualities] teens value in friendships, like loyalty and 62 A trust, remain the same,” Azmitia says. “Technology has just changed some of the ways kids can be friends with each other.” Other psychologists, however, say today’s ways of communicating can change the message, and wonder what effect that has on adolescent friendships, and even teens’ social development. For example, instead of learning how to handle the give and take of conversation — one of our most basic human attributes and a connection we all crave — teens instead are crafting and often constantly editing witty text responses, says Massachusetts Institute of Technology social psychologist Sherry Turkle, PhD. “We’re losing our sense of the human voice and what it means — the inflections, hesitations and the proof that someone isn’t just giving you stock answers,” says Turkle, whose book “Alone Together” (2011) is based on 15 years of research and observation of children and adult interactions with technology. “That’s a radical thing to do to our relationships.” M o n i t o r o n p s y c h o l o g y • F e b ru a ry 2 0 1 2

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Monitor on Psychology - February 2012

Monitor on Psychology - February 2012
President’s column
From the CEO
APA files two briefs in support of same-sex couples
New registry seeks to understand addiction recovery through ‘crowdsourcing’
APA launches a database of tests and measures
Watch for new member benefit: “APA Access”
Apply now for APA’s Advanced Training Institutes
PsycTHERAPY, APA’s new database, brings therapy demos to life
In Brief
APA scientists help guide tobacco regulation
A-mazing research
‘A machine for jumping to conclusions’
Judicial Notebook
Random Sample
Righting the imbalance
The beginnings of mental illness
Science Directions
Improving disorder classification, worldwide
Protesting proposed changes to the DSM
Interventions for at-risk students
Harnessing the wisdom of the ages
Anti-bullying efforts ramp up
Hostile hallways
R U friends 4 real?
Support for teachers
Speaking of Education
Record keeping for practitioners
Going green
At the intersection of law and psychology
Division Spotlight
Grants help solve society’s problems

Monitor on Psychology - February 2012