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In the case of ICT, the presence of advertising directed at adolescents is carried out more implicitly than conventional media, although its existence and effectiveness cannot be denied. It is easy to access this segment of the population through mobile phones, web pages, or emails. This situation has revealed the existence of two problems: the possibility for companies to violate, through commercial communication, the right to privacy; and the appearance of deceptive advertising practices.
The adolescent population and their environment may be affected by the possibility that ICTs offer to obtain a large amount of information about their users, without their being aware of it (Naval, Sábada and Bringué, 2003). There are several strategies: harmless-looking forms or promotions via SMS to mobile phones are among the most frequent. Companies are capable of crossing the barrier between public and private very easily, using the ingenuity of users.
Regarding the second problem, advertising is not expressly differentiated from other information in the content provided by ICT. In this regard, it is logical that, if one studies, for example, the composition of the web pages of the adolescent’s favorite brands and products, and the advertising that reaches them through mobile phones, it is difficult to clearly differentiate between information and persuasion (Naval, Sádaba and Bringué, 2003).
Through the use of ICT, social relationships are expanded, but they also obtain new characteristics, which do not occur in the real plane of interpersonal communication (face to face). In this regard, the influence of anonymity among participants has been one of the most studied elements in relation to the personal identity that adolescents construct in virtual environments.
Indeed, adolescents are people who are in a process of discovering their identity and experimenting with it; they are interested in finding out who they really are or who they would like to be (Castells 2001: 139). With this, an interesting field for research opens: establishing parameters to understand the construction of identity and the experience that it entails.
We have already appreciated how, in virtual environments, adolescents can maintain relationships with their peers from other regions, countries and continents, talk with them daily and maintain a friendship with people they may never know personally.