Predicting Social Networking Site Use and Online Communication Practices among Adolescents: The Role of Access and Device Ownership

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2439

Predicting Social Networking Site Use and Online Communication Practices among Adolescents: The Role of Access and Device Ownership


  • Drew P. Cingel Center on Media and Human Development, Northwestern University, 2147 Frances Searle Building, 2240 Campus Drive, Evanston, IL 60208, USA
  • Alexis R. Lauricella Center on Media and Human Development, Northwestern University, 2147 Frances Searle Building, 2240 Campus Drive, Evanston, IL 60208, USA
  • Ellen Wartella Center on Media and Human Development, Northwestern University, 2147 Frances Searle Building, 2240 Campus Drive, Evanston, IL 60208, USA
  • Annie Conway Chicago Architecture Foundation, 224 South Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60604, USA


Abstract  Given adolescents' heavy social media use, this study examined a number of predictors of adolescent social media use, as well as predictors of online communication practices. Using data collected from a national sample of 467 adolescents between the ages of 13 and 17, results indicate that demographics, technology access, and technology ownership are related to social media use and communication practices. Specifically, females log onto and use more constructive communication practices on Facebook compared to males. Additionally, adolescents who own smartphones engage in more constructive online communication practices than those who share regular cell phones or those who do not have access to a cell phone. Overall, results imply that ownership of mobile technologies, such as smartphones and iPads, may be more predictive of social networking site use and online communication practices than general ownership of technology.


Keywords  adolescents; cell phones; demographics; Facebook; Internet-capable mobile devices; online communication practices; predictors; social networking sites


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17645/mac.v1i1.72


© The author(s). This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.