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Gender Differences in the Style and Substance of Adolescents' Personal Home Pages
Unformatted Document Text:  Gender Differences 17 and girls were likely to discuss school, music, television, film, and hobbies. The only significant gender difference found in non-intimate interests was in the inclusion of references to video games. That boys referenced this technology at four times the rate of girls is consistent with the theory that boys are more likely to self-disclose regarding "masculine" topics, with which technologies like video games are typically associated. 59 Unlike self-disclosure regarding non-intimate topics, disclosure about intimate topics did reveal gender differences in the home pages in this study. This finding is consistent with past offline communication research. 60 Specifically, the girls in this study were significantly more likely to reference sex, depression, and God/religion. Developmental literature suggests that all three topics are common preoccupations for adolescents, regardless of gender. Sexuality at adolescence often becomes a point of fixation as bodies develop and romantic relationships become more acceptable and desired. 61 Feeling depressed is also common for both adolescent boys and girls who experience more stress and greater responsibility than ever before; in fact, some researchers suggest that private media (such as music or even computer use) are often used to navigate feelings of depression. 62 Religion/God may be considered an intimate topic, especially in the sense that as adolescents grow older, they often begin to question or valorize the institutions that dictate moral and behavioral guidelines. 63 Given that all three topics are intimate in nature, and that boys were significantly less likely to reference any of them, we find added support for the idea that intimate self-disclosures, whether online or off, are more attributable to adolescent females. References to their relationships with families and romantic partners were also significantly more common on girls’ home pages than boy’s home pages. Again, such findings confirm past offline studies documenting that both adolescent and adult females often define themselves through their relationships and more commonly reference such relationships in their communication with others. 64 We might speculate that boys at adolescence make greater effort in their self-presentation to appear autonomous and free from their families, whereas girls worry more about appearing connected, both to families and increasingly at adolescence, to romantic partners. Alternatively, we might look again to past research

Authors: Stern, Susannah.
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Gender Differences 17
and girls were likely to discuss school, music, television, film, and hobbies. The only significant gender
difference found in non-intimate interests was in the inclusion of references to video games. That boys
referenced this technology at four times the rate of girls is consistent with the theory that boys are more
likely to self-disclose regarding "masculine" topics, with which technologies like video games are
typically associated.
59
Unlike self-disclosure regarding non-intimate topics, disclosure about intimate topics did reveal
gender differences in the home pages in this study. This finding is consistent with past offline
communication research.
60
Specifically, the girls in this study were significantly more likely to reference
sex, depression, and God/religion. Developmental literature suggests that all three topics are common
preoccupations for adolescents, regardless of gender. Sexuality at adolescence often becomes a point of
fixation as bodies develop and romantic relationships become more acceptable and desired.
61
Feeling
depressed is also common for both adolescent boys and girls who experience more stress and greater
responsibility than ever before; in fact, some researchers suggest that private media (such as music or
even computer use) are often used to navigate feelings of depression.
62
Religion/God may be considered
an intimate topic, especially in the sense that as adolescents grow older, they often begin to question or
valorize the institutions that dictate moral and behavioral guidelines.
63
Given that all three topics are
intimate in nature, and that boys were significantly less likely to reference any of them, we find added
support for the idea that intimate self-disclosures, whether online or off, are more attributable to
adolescent females.
References to their relationships with families and romantic partners were also significantly more
common on girls’ home pages than boy’s home pages. Again, such findings confirm past offline studies
documenting that both adolescent and adult females often define themselves through their relationships
and more commonly reference such relationships in their communication with others.
64
We might
speculate that boys at adolescence make greater effort in their self-presentation to appear autonomous and
free from their families, whereas girls worry more about appearing connected, both to families and
increasingly at adolescence, to romantic partners. Alternatively, we might look again to past research


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