Wired Youth: The Social World of Adolescence in the Information Age, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Wired Youth

The Social World of Adolescence in the Information Age, 1st Edition

By Ilan Talmud, Gustavo S. Mesch


184 pages | 2 B/W Illus.

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The debate on the social impact of information and communication technologies is particularly important for the study of adolescent life, because through their close association with friends and peers, adolescents develop life expectations, school aspirations, world views, and behaviors.

This book presents an up-to-date review of the literature on youth sociability, relationship formation, and online communication, examining the way young people use the internet to construct or maintain their inter-personal relationships. Using a social network perspective, the book systematically explores the various effects of internet access and use on adolescents’ involvement in social, leisure and extracurricular activities, evaluating the arguments that suggest the internet is displacing other forms of social ties. The core of the book investigates the motivations for online relationship formation and the use of online communication for relationship maintenance. The final part of the book focuses on the consequences, both positive and negative, of the use of online communication, such as increased social capital and online bullying.

Wired Youth is ideal for undergraduate and graduate students of adolescent psychology, youth studies, media studies and the psychology and sociology of interpersonal relationships.


"Wired Youth would be an excellent text for a graduate seminar on the topic and certainly fills a niche in the related research literature." – Brien K. Ashdown and Natalie Homa in PsycCRITIQUES

"A work of impressive and painstaking scholarship, enhanced with twenty pages of references and a comprehensive index, Wired Youth is a strongly recommended addition to academic library Contemporary Sociology reference collections and supplemental reading lists." - Able Greenspan in The Midwest Book Review

"This book stands apart from a flood of hyperbole about 'born digital children.' The authors provide an empirically anchored and analytically rigorous perspective on the role of the Internet in the social lives of adolescents. This is must reading for anyone with serious concerns about children and the Internet." - Professor William Dutton, Director, Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford, UK

"This book offers a thought-provoking view on the role of the web in young peoples’ lives, and is a must for every behavioural and social scientist interested in how adolescents deal with the rapid technological and social change of our times. " – Rainer K. Silbereisen, Department of Developmental Psychology, University of Jena, Germany

"Are teens really different in the Age of the Internet? What's going on beneath the buds of their smartphones and under the fingers of their keyboards? This book uses sound, empirically-based methods to show how life on the internet and life in real life are intertwined." -Barry Wellman, University of Toronto, Canada

"Accessible, clear, and illuminating, this overview integrates research worldwide and across disciplines, whilst avoiding the traps of celebratory as well as moral panic approaches. It offers an intelligent and useful perspective of contemporary adolescents' off- and on-line lives." - Dafna Lemish, Professor of Communication, Tel Aviv University, Israel

Table of Contents

1. The Information Age, Youth and Social Networks. 2. The Internet at Home. 3. Sociability and Internet Use. 4. Online Relationship Formation. 5. ICT and Existing Ties. 6. The Impact of ICT on Social Network Structure 7. Online Communication and Negative Social Ties 8. Summary and Discussion.

About the Authors

Gustavo S. Mesch is an Associate Professor at the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Haifa. He is currently the Chair of the Information and Communication Section of the American Sociological Association. His main research interests include youth culture, technology and society, online communication and the interface of online and face to face social networks.

Ilan Talmud is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Haifa. His main research interests include social network analysis, the internet and society, economic sociology, organization and management theory and theories of social capital.

About the Series

Adolescence and Society

In the 20 years since it began, this series has published some of the key texts in the field of adolescent studies. The series has covered a very wide range of subjects, almost all of them being of central concern to students, researchers and practitioners. A mark of its success is that a number of books have gone to second and third editions, illustrating its popularity and reputation.

The primary aim of the series is to make accessible to the widest possible readership important and topical evidence relating to adolescent development. Much of this material is published in relatively inaccessible professional journals, and the objective of the books has been to summarise, review and place in context current work in the field, so as to interest and engage both an undergraduate and a professional audience.

The intention of the authors is to raise the profile of adolescent studies among professionals and in institutions of higher education. By publishing relatively short, readable books on topics of current interest to do with youth and society, the series makes people more aware of the relevance of the subject of adolescence to a wide range of social concerns.

The books do not put forward any one theoretical viewpoint. The authors outline the most prominent theories in the field and include a balanced and critical assessment of each of these. Whilst some of the books may have a clinical or applied slant, the majority concentrate on normal development.

The readership rests primarily in two major areas: the undergraduate market, particularly in the fields of psychology, sociology and education; and the professional training market, with particular emphasis on social work, clinical and educational psychology, counselling, youth work, nursing and teacher training.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Developmental / Adolescent