An Analysis of Participation, Identity Conversations, and Social Networking Affordances on an Online Social Network for Children

  • Stephanie Valentine Texas A&M University
  • Tracy Hammond Texas A&M University
Keywords: Social networking, Child-computer interaction, Human-computer interaction, Identity exploration


In this study, we explore the behaviors of children ages 7 to 12 years on our custom social network, KidGab, to understand the activities that increase participation and identity-related conversation. We specifically study the effects of two social networking affordances provided by KidGab: a suite of personality quizzes and a badge-based participatory reward system. Both affordances harness the preadolescent’s internal focus on identity exploration. We analyzed KidGab’s activity logs in an attempt to understand the relationships between activities on these affordances and other engagement measured on the site (e.g., the total posts authored on KidGab per day, total comments authored per day, likes per day, etc.). We also investigate the amount of conversation relating to identity that accompanies quizzes and badges. We found that taking quizzes and posting results had a higher positive correlation with online participation on KidGab than attempting to earn badges. Our results suggest that, though youth are interested in self-reflecting via textual compositions, on a daily basis they partake more in personality-quiz-style activities that provide them instant feedback and shared experiences with other users.


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