Dutch Adolescents Online: Testing for Bidirectional Relationships Between Adolescents’ Time Spent on Social Internet Activities and Their Quality of Offline Friendships
Boer, F.S. den
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The present study addresses the bi-directional associations between time spent on the popular social Internet activities instant messaging (IM), chatting, using social network sites (SNS) and playing massive multiplay online games with the quality of offline friendships. The study included cross-sectional samples of Dutch adolescents between the ages 11-19 (N= 4071 in 2009, N= 3758 in 2010, N=3179 in 2011) and a longitudinal sample (N= 1122) of adolescents who participated in 2009 and 2010. Results showed that time spent on instant messengers and social network sites was positively associated with quality of offline friendships. Against our expectations, results from longitudinal regression analyses indicated that this association seems to result from the fact that higher friendship quality predicts more subsequent time spent on IM and SNS, whereas more time spent on IM and SNS does not seem to enhance friendship quality. Chatting in chat rooms and massive multiplay online gaming showed no relationship with offline friendship quality.