Digital Native_Code: An Analysis of Adolescent Identity Formation Through Social Media

Date of Award

May 2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Mass Communications


Carol M. Liebler


child development, cognition, identity, media psychology, postmodern theory, social media

Subject Categories

Social and Behavioral Sciences


From the early days of radio to the golden age of television, and now today’s immersion in digital technologies, scholars have long assessed the impact of media in the lives of adolescents. Due to their interactivity, social media have become a topic of particular interest. Given the modern enmeshment with such digital tools, there are significant implications for young people’s sense of self. Using psychological theories of identity formation and agency, and Goffman’s (1959) theory of impression management, this study critically examines the construction of the modern adolescent identity. The following work analyzes the role of social media in the development of the “digital native” – one who has been born and raised in digital culture. Through interviews with adolescents and a netnography of their Facebook and Instagram behaviors, the author explores the context of online self-presentation and its effects on identity over time. Findings reveal that modern adolescents are moving through identity development milestones at a more rapid rate than their predecessors, and developing more open-ended and flexible identities as a result. The author concludes by introducing the concept of biomedia as a way to revise current identity development models for the 21st century.


SURFACE provides description only. Full text may be available to ProQuest subscribers. Please ask your Librarian for assistance.

This document is currently not available here.