How to Cope With Digital Stress: The Recommendations Adolescents Offer Their Peers Online

April 1, 2015


Emily C. Weinstein, Robert L. Selman, Sara Thomas, Jung-Eun Kim, Allison E. White, Karthik Dinakar


There is considerable interest in ways to support adolescents in their digital lives, particularly related to the relational challenges they face. While researchers have explored coping with cyberbullying, the scope of relevant digital issues is considerably broader. Through the lens of online peer responses to personal accounts posted by adolescents, this study explores recommended strategies for coping with different experiences of socio-digital stress, including both hostility-oriented issues and digital challenges related to navigating close relationships. A content analysis of 628 comments posted in response to 180 stories of digital stress reveals five common recommendations: Get Help from others, Communicate Directly, Cut Ties with the person involved, Ignore the situation, and Utilize Digital Solutions. The most common recommendation for hostility-oriented issues is to Get Help, while Cut Ties is most common for issues that arise in close relationships. Variations in the pattern of recommendations proposed for different digital issues and for each type of recommendation are described.

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