Monday, 7 January 2013

Friendship: An old concept with a new meaning?

an article by Yair Amichai-Hamburger (The Interdisciplinary Center (IDC), Herzliya, Israel), Mila Kingsbury (Carleton University, Canada) and Barry H. Schneider (University of Ottawa, Canada) published in Computers in Human Behavior Volume 29 Issue 1 (January 2013)


Today many young people form and maintain what they consider friendships through the net. Internet friendship appears to some as modifying the meaning of real friendship and replacing it with something more trivial.

In this paper we explore the complexity of online friendship.

We start by seeking to gain an understanding of why and how friendship relates to well-being.

We then look at how friendships are formed, focusing on the concepts of propinquity and homophily and how they play out within the context of online friendships. We delineate the major dimensions of friendship that have emerged in theory and research and then comment on how these features of friendship may be affected by the advent of widespread electronic communication.

The differences between offline and online companionship, social support, tangible support and protection, exclusiveness, conflict resolution and relationship stability are also considered.

The chapter concludes with a discussion of the challenges of conducting research on the behaviour of children and young people on the Internet and the difficulties in defining the term “friendship.”

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