Date of Degree

5-2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Program

Women's and Gender Studies

Advisor

Kathleen M. Cumiskey

Subject Categories

Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Other Film and Media Studies

Keywords

adolescent girls friendships, summer camp, social media, relational aggression, emotional support, augmented reality

Abstract

This thesis explores how a group of adolescent girls uses mobile and computer-mediated communication as a resource for social and emotional support from their friends. In the midst of widespread public panic about teenage social media use, this study finds nuanced and positive ways that technology is being used in girl culture. Within the context of a technology-free summer camp, adolescent girls form close relationships, which continue throughout the school year. The girls construct a virtual-symbolic camp space using mobile-emotive communication to stay connected with their friends. As a result, they recreate the intra- and inter-personal benefits they experienced at camp. This bounded space allows the girls to escape from negative or challenging aspects of school and home life. The mediated co-presence the girls experience with remote friends provides a resource for social and emotional support. By analyzing interviews and focus groups with the participants at summer camp and on Skype, this paper prioritizes the voices of adolescent girls and aims to understand their perceptions of the role of mobile and computer-mediated communication within their friendships.

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