Self-regulation, teenagers and social media use: Inquiry into online behaviour and the influence of digital architecture

Master of Laws by Research Thesis (2013)

Presented warts and all, here is my Masters thesis completed at The University of Kent under the supervision of Davina Cooper, in 2013.


Abstract

Legal pluralism has long advocated the recognition of non-state legal orders and normativity in communities. The advent of the internet and the subsequent revolution in the ways in which people can interact, organise and empower themselves online combined with the regulatory infancy of the internet reaffirms the importance of understanding the ways in which online groups regulate their own behaviour. In 2004 the launch of the social networking site ‘Facebook’ marked the mass movement of teenagers starting to socialise and support friendships online, bringing with them new expectations, practices and a valuable understanding of each other’s online behaviour. This dissertation seeks to take seriously the self-regulation of teenagers on Facebook and explores the role of digital architecture in the development of these practices.

By understanding digital architecture as something through which behaviour is mediated, its regulatory potential will be addressed by examining both the nature of architecture and the possibilities it creates. Thereafter, the role of architecture in the normative development of teenagers (aged 16-18) using Facebook will be analysed. By using participant responses from research conducted at a large boarding school in the United Kingdom, an empirical grounding to the claim that architectural influence plays a role in the emergence of norms is provided.

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Self-regulation, teenagers and social media use: Inquiry into online behaviour and the influence of digital architecture

Posted on Aug 7
Written by Matthew Jewell