Instructor: Dr. Marcia D. Dixson

Office hours: MW 4:00 - 5:00 pm - online and offline - please schedule an appointment first as my time is not always my own to control :)

Office: KT 176

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COM 523 Communication in Personal Relationships












Non-romantic Relationships

CMC: 8 Personal relationships and computer-mediated support groups, 12 CMC and the conceptualization of "friendship", 19 Problematic youth interactions online

1. The chapter on computer-mediated support groups discusses several theoretical approaches (social information processing theory, weak tie network theory, social comparison theory, and the optimal matching model as well as a couple of ideas about how social support may affect health outcomes (buffering model and the main effects model). It then articulates the need to integrate "overlapping features from these theories as well as integrating or combining them with theories regarding health outcomes . . ." (p. 149). Choose at least two and integrate them into one wholistic theory about how computer mediated social support groups might affect health outcomes.

2. Have each group member talk with 2-3 friends and/or family members . Ask them what channels they use to "maintain closeness" with a friend (preferred) or family member (if they don't really "do" friendships). Ask them if that particular friend or family member lives geographically close or further away (farther than 30 miles). How well do those channels work? What kinds of interactions do they have via those channels? Based on this information and your own experience, talk about what you see as the differences in types and channels of communication via maintaining close relationships versus LDRs. How well does this "match" with what your textbook says?

3. You have a friend with a teenage daughter, aged 16. Your friend is concerned about the risks of allowing his daughter to interact via the internet even though she says "Dad, it's perfectly safe. It's not like I'm going to post my address. Besides, I'm mostly talking to my friends from school!" What do you think your friend should "know" about the risk to teens on the Internet? What do you think your friend should "do" to keep his daughter safe?