Back in college, we all learned that children go though the "identity" stage of development (according to Erikson) around the ages 13-20 years old. Has anyone seen any reasearch ANYWHERE about how developing an online personality--an avatar, a myspace page--can effect that stage of development? A superficial look at it might generate the notion that children would be more likely to develop pseudo-schizophrenic identities. But in the same way that their brains are adapting to completing multiple tasks at once, perhaps their conciousness is also developing a healthy way to deal with having two separate personalities...one online and one in "real life." Has anyone seen anything ANYWHERE having to do with this?

Tags: avatars, child, development, networking, of, psychology, social, stages

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This is a very interesting notion. I was actually just thinking of the relationship between how kids used to think of the idea of 'friend' and how that has changed since the explosion of social networking. Just an idea....
Josh, I think that you're right. This is a piece of the puzzle. The notion of what it means to be a friend at all has certainly shifted.
I'd be interested in seeing how children differentiate between the two "worlds." Do they carry social skills easily between the two, or would the anonymity and hence sense of bravado contribute to entirely different sets of social skills? For instance, a more confident personality online versus one more withdrawn, introverted in "real" life.
Scott-I had to laugh when I read this because I can think of a person (a young adult) who fits this description to a tee. Online, he is witty and expressive. In person, he can't make small talk or any other kind of talk to save his life. So, it is possible he has segregated those social skills to his online persona, rather than generalized them to his overall personality.
Some what related---A former student of mind, an Aspergian, is an exceptional writer and I thought he would love blogging--NOT! Being compliant he wrote the required posts but COULD NOT comment, way too much interaction involved!! His blog includes topics like The Origin and Aspects of the Human Mind part 1, 2 and 3: Development of the Brain in the Ancestors of Humans, Cell Structure, The Big Bang and Big Crunch Theory, The History of Domesticated Animals, The Hobbit and Other Early Forms of Hominids and his latest nail-biter Nuclear Energy and Fission/Fusion Reactors. And he's 12 years old!! While his fellow bloggers are blogging about their new video game or the latest issues in the classroom A. is expounding on the major issues in science. I had to laugh, A. will never have an "online personality", he's too busy with his real-life personality!
Developing a knowledge personality of yourself on the web with www.hiddenguru.com. May be a cool idea too.

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