The “mask” filtered by the new media: family functioning, perception of risky behaviors and internet addiction in a group of Italian adolescents

Monica Pellerone, Tiziana Ramaci, Rasoul Heshmati


Recent literature underlines that, during adolescence, social networks are used to manage friendships. The reflection on the relational dynamics in social networks is based on the construction and shaping identity; online identity becomes not only personal information published on the Internet but also support in defining identity in peer group situations.Internet becomes an integral part of their experiential context, weakening influence of the family context on the development of identity. In this process, the web becomes both architect and theatre of Identity achievement, and it enables the adolescents to choose an impressive visual and comprehensive filter for their lives, contributing to the “Mask” construction or the genesis of a “Pseudo-Self”.The research goal is to investigate the influence of family functioning on the perception of risky behaviors as well as the disfunctional use of the Internet in a group of Italian adolescents, taking part in a research-intervention, carried out within school organizational context. The research involved 110 high school students, aged between 15 and 18 (with an average age of 16.14 years), who, in test and test-re test phases, completed the following instruments: Family Assessment Device, Cognitive Appraisal of Risky Events, and Internet Addiction Test. Data show that the perceived behavioral control determines a higher risk perceptions; an elevated problem-solving capacity and family communication lead to reduce the internet use in students. In the field of identity development, the reflection on the relationship between the image and its representation on the social networks is fundamental, in order to help adolescents to become aware of their choices.


Identity; Adolescence; Family functioning; Risky behavior; School.

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