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Human being experiences different stage of development in their life. This development might be rapid or slow. each stage is related to specific needs in relation to identity construction and interpersonal communication (Steijn, 2014). One of the human development is adulthood which refers to psychological and biological changes of individuals that occur after adolescence. At this stage people are physically and mentally mature. Adulthood commonly starts abound 20 to 40-year-old. Consequently, users of SNSs have different SNSs behavior according to which age group they belong to.
Overall, psychologists have defined several stages of life. For instance, Erikson have identified eight life stages which are: (0–1.5 years old), early childhood (1.5–3 years old), play age (3–6 years old), school age (6–12years old), adolescence (12– 18 years old), young adulthood (18–40 years old), middle adulthood (40–65 years old), and maturity (65+ years old) (Kail & Cavanaugh, 2012). However, due to shifts in age marriage and ag of having firsts child, Jeffrey Arnett (2000) argued that Erikson’s life stage would not be applicable for recent society.
the theory of emerging adulthood. The following paragraphs will discuss to two stages of emerging and young adulthood in line with SNSs use.
The concept and theory of emerging adulthood has been formulated by Jeffrey Arnett which covers age from 18-29 but its focus on 18 to 25-year-old individuals. Arnett consider emerging adulthood as that emerging ‘transition age youth’. It is a transition between adolescent and young adulthood. Arnett defines this stage as: definition: “Emerging adulthood can be said to exist wherever there is a gap of at least a few years between the end of puberty and the entry into stable adult roles in love and work” (2015, p.
26). Additionally, he characterizes five features of emerging adulthood as Identity explorations; Instability; Self-focus; Feeling in-between; and Possibilities (Arnett, 2015). In relation to SNSs consumption emerging adults show different behavior than older behavior. emerging adults tend to disclose- more information about themselves on SNSs (i.a. Steijn & Schouten, 2013; Urista, Dong, & Day, 2009). They compromise the most active group on SNSs for example, emerging adults using Facebook are more eager to reveal their emotion and experiences (Pempek, Yermolayeva, & Calvert, 2009; Subrahmanyam et al., 2008). Moreover, studies showed that emerging adults disclose larger amount of personal data then older adults (Debatin, Lovejoy, Horn, & Hughes, 2009; Steijn, 2014; Subrahmanyam et al., 2008). in terms of privacy emerging adulthood show more protection. one study found that only 14% of adults between 17 to 25-year-old do not change their privacy seting (Young and Quan-Haase; 2013). Other study also proved that emerging adulthood apply strong privacy setting while using SNS (Christofides et al., 2009; Debatin et al., 2009; Madden & Smith, 2010). One possible explanation might be the fact that emerging adulthood has higher level of Internet knowledge this age group (boyd & Hargittai, 2010; Litt, 2013).
On the other hand, according to Erikson’s theory young adulthood range from 20- 40year-old which is between emerging and middle adulthood. at this stage friendship and romantic relationship commence (Erikson, 1968). Young adults are characterized as setting down. Erikson noted that life stage in related to culture and we can not consider is as a universal issue and will be changed in future. people in their thirties start to create more concurred boundaries. and due to new family relationship and work-life young adult will have less time to spend with their friend (Crocetti & Meeus, 2014; Steijn, 2014). Hence, SNS play a key role for young adults to maintain relationship and contacting with other groups (Steijn & Schouten, 2013). That is to say, young adults utilize Facebook to gain bounding social capital that facilitate their online relationships. In contrary, individuals at emerging adulthood stage use SNSs like Facebook to form “bridging social capital” with people who they have weak relationships (Ellison, Steinfield, & Lampe, 2007). Another feature of young adulthood is creating boundaries to have a balance in sharing personal information on SNSs. in fact, they are aware to share what sort of information with which social groups (e.g., family members, colleagues, high school friends). in relation to online privacy, one study suggested that young adult users of Facebook actively manage and regulate their privacy setting (Christofides et al., 2009).
In summary, determining exact transition time between life stage is challenging. there are different classification of life stage. In this dissertation individuals from 18-29 are considered as emerging adulthood and individuals from 30-40 reflect young adulthood emerging adulthood which is between 18 to 29-year-old have been characterized as stage for identity exploration. They are legally considered as adults. young adulthood is an stage form 30 to 40 year-old that people are more independent have a role in marriage and career and family . Individuals at different life stage have different conception and behavior about privacy on SNSs (Steijn, 2014).
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