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date: 26 February 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter presents developmental mechanisms by which new media drive development toward increasing individualism. The authors establish basic principles regarding the impact of new media on relationship development (increasing orientation to peers, relationship breadth, and choice) and on identity development (increased capacities for control and emphasis on exploration, self-expression, and hybrid identities) and review sociological, communication, and psychological theories, including Greenfield’s theory linking social and developmental change. This theory predicts that new media communication technologies will everywhere push development toward increasing individualism. Cultural nuances—history, philosophical traditions, and institutions established prior to the proliferation of communication technologies—may also influence how youth and families use new media. The authors propose that greater intergenerational tensions arise with rapid technological change. The chapter is a starting point for understanding how new media and cultural traditions interact with globalization and sociodemographic shifts to produce changes in human development.

Keywords: cultural change, new media, interactive media, communication technology, values, relationships, identity

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