Participation in social network sites: Associations with the quality of offline and online friendships in German preadolescents and adolescents


This paper compares offline friendships of preadolescents and adolescents with and without a social network site (SNS) account, and for those who reported having an SNS account, it compares their offline and online friendships. The sample consisted of 1,890 preadolescents and adolescents aged 10 to 18 years, 72.1% of them with an SNS account. All participants had to describe a good friend whom they meet predominantly offline. The participants with an SNS account additionally had to describe a good SNS friend whom they meet predominantly online. Questionnaires were used to assess perceived friendship quality and the topics primarily discussed with friends. The results showed that participating at an SNS was not connected to friendship quality. However, participants without an SNS account discussed personal problems less often with their offline friends. Participants who reported having an SNS account perceived higher offline compared to online friendship quality. Additionally, female sex, initial offline contact, and frequency of contact had a positive effect on online and offline friendship quality.

Social network site; social media; friendship quality; preadolescents and adolescents; online and offline friendships
Author biographies

Michael Glüer

Dr. Michael Glüer is Assistant Professor of Developmental Psychology at the University of Bielefeld, Germany. His research interests are related to new media in childhood, relationship quality in early childhood and early childhood education.

Arnold Lohaus

Dr. Arnold Lohaus is Professor of Developmental Psychology and Developmental Psychopathology at the University of Bielefeld, Germany. His research interests are related to health promotion in children and adolescents (development of health and coping behaviour, stress management in children and adolescents).

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