2010

This research investigated the online participation of Australian girls 13 years of age. The study was framed in the broad context of networked culture and the changing social environment associated with the Web 2.0 phenomenon. The participatory character of this space was considered critical to investigating teen girls’ online participation. In this landscape, new technologies and social media applications were understood to offer greater means for teen girls to engage with peers and close friends. It was presupposed that teen friendship was shifting towards more complicated and overlapping communication arrangements. The study was concerned with identifying the ways in which teen girls managed and navigated their everyday experience with peers and close friends in this context. The literature review highlighted the changing sociocultural context of everyday interaction. In particular, attention was drawn to the influence of new technologies on young people’s online safety. Online risk dominated the research scholarship and gendered practices emerged as critical avenues for exploring teen girls’ online experience. The regulatory influence of dominant discourses on teen girl’s everyday interactions and online practice came into question. Online interaction, rather than an isolated set of online actions came to be understood as a complex organisation of micro-interactions and macro-structural forces. The theoretical framework was built on the understanding that teen girls were active participants of their own experience but that this practice was situated in socially-defined parameters of structural discourses and technological opportunities and constraints.