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Help wanted: young adults’ sources of support for questions about digital media


Micheli, Marina; Redmiles, Elissa M.; Hargittai, Eszter (2020). Help wanted: young adults’ sources of support for questions about digital media. Information, Communication and Society, 23(11):1655-1672.

Abstract

Social support can play a critical role in the development of Internet skills. Research on support-seeking for digital media use has primarily considered informal sources such as family and friends, and formal sources such as people employed to provide assistance. Yet, people may also seek support online. Social network sites and other online communities are often used to ask questions on a wide range of topics from both friends and strangers. Drawing on a survey of young adults aged 25–26, we find that online question-asking, although used less frequently than informal and formal support, is a relevant source of support, which expands users’ available resources and has the potential to improve Internet skills. Results show that Internet skills and social capital explain differences in support-seeking behaviors among young adults informing our understanding of how inequities in social support, and ultimately digital inequalities, manifest themselves in this realm of Internet use.

Abstract

Social support can play a critical role in the development of Internet skills. Research on support-seeking for digital media use has primarily considered informal sources such as family and friends, and formal sources such as people employed to provide assistance. Yet, people may also seek support online. Social network sites and other online communities are often used to ask questions on a wide range of topics from both friends and strangers. Drawing on a survey of young adults aged 25–26, we find that online question-asking, although used less frequently than informal and formal support, is a relevant source of support, which expands users’ available resources and has the potential to improve Internet skills. Results show that Internet skills and social capital explain differences in support-seeking behaviors among young adults informing our understanding of how inequities in social support, and ultimately digital inequalities, manifest themselves in this realm of Internet use.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Department of Communication and Media Research
Dewey Decimal Classification:700 Arts
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Communication
Social Sciences & Humanities > Library and Information Sciences
Uncontrolled Keywords:Digital divide, internet skills, social support, young adults, survey, digital inequality
Language:English
Date:18 September 2020
Deposited On:24 Jul 2019 07:09
Last Modified:09 Oct 2020 00:01
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN:1369-118X
OA Status:Green
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1080/1369118X.2019.1602666

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