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Digital success: How teenagers thrive online

In the digital age, understanding how teenagers interact with technology is crucial for fostering positive development and online success. A new study provides insights into the myriad ways media influences adolescents, ranging from character development to overall well-being.

By exploring the nuanced roles of both new and traditional media, the research illuminates how these platforms impact emotions, prosocial behavior, and happiness in teenagers.

Exploring the digital communication landscape

The study focuses on how adolescents perceive and interact with digital communication platforms.

The researchers examined various aspects of online behavior, including feelings of connectedness, positive social comparisons, authenticity in self-presentation, civic participation, and self-control.

Through its comprehensive approach, the research aims to unravel the complex computer-based landscape that today’s youth navigate.

The role of parental involvement in online success

One of the study’s key findings is the crucial role of parental mediation. Teenagers who experience positive online interactions typically have parents who are not only technologically savvy but also actively involved in guiding their online activities.

This support is instrumental in helping young individuals use digital media to enhance their communication skills and emotional well-being.

Challenges in digital engagement

However, not all adolescents are thriving online. The researchers found that those who struggle with digital engagement often lack sufficient self-control in their online interactions.

This can lead to less positive experiences and reduced well-being over time. To address these challenges, the experts suggest targeted interventions that focus on boosting adolescents’ control over their online interactions.

Encouraging active parental involvement can also play a significant role in enhancing online success. By fostering a supportive environment, parents can help their teens navigate the complexities of digital communication more effectively.

Exploring digital impact on youth

Sophie Janicke-Bowles, an associate professor in the School of Communication at Chapman University, reflected on the significance of the study. “This was such an amazing research study to be part of as we all are craving more nuanced answers on how digital technologies affect our children.”

Future directions in digital youth development

Looking ahead, Sophie Janicke-Bowles and her research team are set to deepen their investigation into interventions that promote digital flourishing among youth.

With the sustained backing of academic institutions and funding bodies, including a significant $1.9 million grant from the John Templeton Foundation, they are well-equipped to expand their pivotal work on enhancing digital experiences for adolescents.

This study not only progresses our comprehension of digital media‘s role in youth development but also underscores the critical role of supportive parenting in aiding adolescents to effectively navigate their online environments.

By cultivating better digital habits, there is hope to improve the digital well-being of future generations.

Online success in the work force

The rise of the internet has opened up many opportunities for teenagers to achieve online success. Here are a few areas where teens have been particularly successful:

Social media

Many teenagers have become influential on platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube, gaining large followings by creating content that resonates with their peers.


The digital world allows teens to start their own businesses with relatively low startup costs. This includes selling products, services, or digital content online.

Creative arts

Platforms like Etsy and DeviantArt provide spaces for teens to sell artwork, crafts, and other creative projects.

Technology development

Some tech-savvy teens develop apps or software, either as a hobby or a business venture, which can sometimes lead to significant opportunities and recognition.

Educational content creation

Teens also contribute to educational platforms, helping others learn through tutorials and study guides.

These avenues not only help teenagers earn money but also build skills, confidence, and a professional network from an early age.

Online challenges for teens

However, achieving online success also presents significant challenges. Excessive screen time, for instance, can lead to negative health outcomes such as poor sleep and stress, making it crucial for teens to manage their time online effectively. 

Additionally, they must navigate risks such as cyberbullying and privacy issues, which can pose serious barriers to their success and well-being. 

Furthermore, the pressure to succeed and maintain a certain image online can profoundly affect mental health. Overall, while the internet opens up many avenues for success, it’s vital for teens to approach these opportunities with knowledge and support.

The study is published in the journal Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD)


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