Turkish adolescents' anonymous use of social networking sites (SNSs): A phenomenological study

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Çimşir E., Akdoğan R., Akbayrak A.

PSYCHOLOGY IN THE SCHOOLS, no.-, pp.1-18, 2024 (SSCI)

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Publication Date: 2024
  • Doi Number: 10.1002/pits.23200
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, ASSIA, IBZ Online, PASCAL, Applied Science & Technology Source, Child Development & Adolescent Studies, EBSCO Education Source, Education Abstracts, Educational research abstracts (ERA), ERIC (Education Resources Information Center), Linguistics & Language Behavior Abstracts, Psycinfo
  • Page Numbers: pp.1-18
  • Anadolu University Affiliated: Yes


Despite the surging anonymous social media use among adolescents living in non-Western countries, such as Turkey, existing studies have been conducted in a Western context and do not provide a holistic understanding of adolescents' lived experiences of anonymous social networking site (SNS) interactions. As a result, Turkish adolescents aged 12–15 years (N = 20) were interviewed about their lived experiences of anonymous SNS interactions, using a phenomenological qualitative approach. The authors identified 10 themes. Four themes address circumventing social norms and avoiding repercussions: mocking friends, seeking revenge, engaging in activism, and exploring and expressing self. Four themes pertain to initiating, developing, and testing relationships: exploring romantic relationships, testing friendships, seeking information about others, and gaining attention and/or popularity. Reflecting a major intrapersonal dynamic, another theme describes low self-confidence/esteem. The final theme addresses a significant risk associated with the anonymous use of SNSs: increased risk of child sexual exploitation. The results provide important insights into the roles of anonymous online interactions in satisfying adolescents' developmental needs and indicate the importance of providing them with support and education to help them navigate the online world safely and responsibly.