Despite the pervasive use of social technology among minority youth, digital media research has been primarily based on white samples of older adolescents and emerging adults. It is critical to understand how overlooked populations—including racial-ethnic, sexual and gender, and other minorities—use digital media for purposes associated with their marginalized backgrounds. As social media adopters are becoming younger, we must explore how the pervasiveness of constant exposure and use affects marginalized identity development in early adolescence.
This book chapter provides an overview of how understudied subgroups of adolescents, namely racial/ethnic minorities, LGBTQ+, economically disadvantaged, and neurodiverse individuals, are influenced by online representations affecting their identity development, and inherent opportunities for risk and resilience. Social media research needs a) to begin at earlier developmental stages to capture critical identity development online and offline, and b) more nuanced research beyond digital access to examine online connections for healthy identity exploration of marginalized adolescents.
Research reported in this publication was supported by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development of the National Institutes of Health under award number 1R15HD094281-01. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.