A research paper by Associate Professor Lim Sun Sun, Mr. Chan Yoke Hian, Ms Shobha Vadrevu, and Dr. Iccha Basnyat is to be published later this year in the Computers in Human Behaviour journal.
The article is now available online at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0747563212001732
Managing peer relationships online – investigating the use of Facebook by juvenile delinquents and youths-at-risk
While extensive research has been conducted on young people’s peer interaction via online communication, the focus has been on mainstream youths, with marginalized youth communities being understudied. To help address this inadequacy, the current study conducted interviews with Singaporean male juvenile delinquents (n = 36) to understand the role of online communication in their peer interactions and the salient characteristics of such interactions. Our findings show that Facebook was the principal tool of online peer interaction. However, given the particular circumstances of juvenile delinquents, online social networking presents issues that may compromise efforts to rehabilitate them. These include extending the time and opportunities for unstructured and unsupervised peer socialization, peer endorsement of delinquent acts and the pressure of having to display group loyalty in the online space. Even after rehabilitation, youths who attempt to distance themselves from their delinquent peers are challenged by the persistence of their online social networks.