TVET College students’ participation on Facebook and their identity construction

Chetty, Lamese (2016-03)

Thesis (MEdPsych) --Stellenbosch University, 2016

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT : Technology is a very important part of our daily lives. We cannot leave the house with some sort of smart device including a cell phone, tablet or laptop. Young people that are in the age cohort of 18-35 years have grown up within this technological movement and social networking sites make up a huge part of their daily interactions. One such popular social networking site, Facebook, allows these young people a platform for online engagement and limits face-to-face interaction. The TVET College is an ideal place for understanding the particular age group within an educational sector. These first year students seem to construct their identity in such an online social platform. Knowledge on this type of experiences as well as the added value of online engagement can provide some interesting information in a new age of development of these young people and their construction of their identities. This research can shed light on the particular developmental level of these students as well as their sense of identity engaging online. The aim of the study was to investigate the experiences of TVET College first year students, specifically exploring their participation on Facebook and how it contributes to their identity construction. This was a qualitative study based on the social representations theory. This refers to the association of an individual’s characteristics and that which other people ascribe to the individual. The particular sample was purposively selected and they participated voluntarily in one-on-one interviews and consented to the researcher observing their FB profile pages. The research findings highlighted the important role of Facebook in the lives of TVET College first year students and how they gain a sense of belonging as a mechanism for coping in today’s life. Four main themes were identified, namely a real world identity, an on-line identity, the on-line self in relation to other people and the practical implications of being active on-line. These students viewed the virtual world as a world where they were accepted, whereas this did not happen in the real world, where they reported often feeling isolated. Their online interactions incorporated their understandings of who they are and was thus closely connected with how they represented themselves on-line. Therefore, the research concluded that they seem to construct their identities in an online manner.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Tegnologie is ‘n belangrike deel van mense se daaglikse lewens. Selfone, tablette en skootrekenaars vergesel ons waar ons ook al gaan. Jongmense tussen die ouderdomme van 18 en 35 het grootgeword binne hierdie tegnologiese omgewing en sosiale media verskaf die platforms vir ‘n groot deel van hierdie jongmense se daaglikse interaksies. Een spesifieke populêre sosiale medium, Facebook, maak dit moontlik dat aanlyn interaksie gemaklik kan plaasvind, met minder gepaardgaande aangesig tot aangesig interaksie. ‘n Kollege vir verdere onderrig, die ‘TVET College’ bied ‘n ideale omgewing waar die genoemde ouderdomsgroep binne ‘n opvoedkundige omgewing waargeneem kan word. Dit kom voor asof daar by eerstejaar studente by so ‘n kollege ‘n identiteitskonstruksie proses plaasvind deur aanlyn sosiale platforms te gebruik. ‘n Ondersoek na hierdie proses kan waardevol en interessante inligting na vore bring ten opsigte van hoe jongmense hul identiteit konstrueer binne ‘n nuwe era waar tegnologie so ‘n groot rol speel. Hierdie navorsing het dus ten doel om lig te werp op studente binne hierdie spesifike ontwikkelingsfase, en hoe hulle hul identiteit beleef deur aanlyn betrokkenheid. Die doel van die navorsing was om die ervarings van eerstejaar studente by ‘n TVET kollege te ondersoek, spesifiek ten opsigte van hul deelname aan Facebook en hoe dit bydra tot hul identiteitskonstruksie. Dit was ‘n kwalitatiewe studie, gebaseer op sosiale aanbiedingsteorie (social representations theory). Dit verwys na die assosiasie van ‘n individu se eienskappe met dié wat ander mense aan die individu toeskryf. Die betrokke deelnemers is doelgerig geselekteer. Hulle het vrywilliglik ingestem tot individuele onderhoude en tot die waarneming van hul Facebook profiel bladsye deur die navorser. Die bevindinge van die navorsing het gedui op die belangrike rol wat Facebook in die lewens van die TVET kollege eerstejaarstudente speel. Vier hooftemas is geïdentifiseer, naamlik die regte wêreld identiteit, die aanlyn wêreld identiteit, die aanlyn self in verhouding met ander en dan ook die praktiese implikasies van aanlyn aktiwiteit. Dit het voorgekom asof die deelnemers die virtuele wêreld ervaar as die ruimte waar hulle aanvaar word, in teenstelling met die regte wêreld waar hulle meestal geïsoleerd voel. Hul aanlyn interaksies word geïnkorporeer in hul ervaring van wie hulle is. Hoe hulle hulself aanbied aanlyn beïnvloed hoe hulle oor hulself dink.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/98690
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