Youth and Development Essay

3451 Words Oct 18th, 2015 14 Pages
Developmental Psychology
2006, Vol. 42, No. 3, 391–394

Copyright 2006 by the American Psychological Association
0012-1649/06/$12.00 DOI: 10.1037/0012-1649.42.3.391

Children, Adolescents, and the Internet: A New Field of Inquiry in
Developmental Psychology
Patricia Greenfield

Zheng Yan

University of California, Los Angeles

University at Albany, State University of New York

With this special section on children, adolescents, and the Internet, we survey the state of a new field of enquiry in developmental psychology. This field is important because developmentalists need to understand how children and adolescents live in a new, massive, and complex virtual universe, even as they carry on their lives in the real world. We have selected
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Another of our editorial goals was to sample as large an age range as possible. The six articles in this section cover the range from elementary schoolchildren through adolescents; however, four of the six articles focus exclusively on adolescents. This is not exactly a sampling problem. We believe that this emphasis in the field reflects an actual developmental fact: Adolescents use the
Internet much more than children do (e.g., Thornburgh & Lin,
2002). However, the age of first Internet use is rapidly descending
(e.g., Wartella, Vandewater, & Rideout, 2005), and developmental researchers are beginning to follow the age trend downward.
Meanwhile, developmental psychologists face the significant challenge of how to study Internet use among young and older adults from a life span developmental perspective, complementing the industrial psychology and cognitive psychology perspectives that are currently popular.
We also utilized a very broad definition of development. The six articles include traditional operationalizations of development, such as cross-sectional age comparisons (Yan), short-term longitudinal study (Jackson et al.), and development as a life cycle stage
(Whitlock; Subrahmanyam et al.;

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