The advent of text messaging as a popular and cheaper form of communication has offered a new research perspective on adolescent development. Erikson’s identity formation theory, the core tenets of existentialism, and the developmental factors of adolescence provided a conceptual framework for the present investigation, which was guided by two research questions: What are the needs of adolescents seeking assistance through text-based messaging? How do the needs expressed align with the stage of development that adolescents are in? Since the data set had already been established from text messaging between learners and tutors in the Dr Math online tutoring programme, secondary data analysis was employed. A qualitative approach, rooted in an interpretivist paradigm, was used. In total 143, of the 5284, messages were included based on the inclusion and exclusion criteria. Thematic network analysis served to enable coding and grouping of the data into thematic networks for analysis. A bottom-to-top hierarchy of codes, basic themes, and organising themes led to the formulation of the global themes of romantic curiosity, emotional expression, academic and career concerns, personal counselling, and social interactions as central to arriving at a better understanding of adolescents’ psychosocial needs in an increasingly technological communication environment. Further research is recommended into ways in which training and development in technology can be used for aiding adolescents in South Africa, as well as into the role of technology in advancing practice and research for professionals.
Mini-dissertation (MEd)--University of Pretoria, 2015.