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An RIT/NTID Center of Excellence for Students Who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Deaf Adolescents' Online Activities, Friendship Qualities, and Their Influence on Well-Being

NTID/Dutch Study of Social Networking

Helen C. Blom is a (deaf) graduate student at Radboud University Nijmegen, in the Netherlands, visiting the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) and Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in 2013. Helen is conducting a study into deaf and hard-of-hearing students' online social networking activities. The goal is to understand how those activities and the friendships they support affect deaf and hard-of-hearing students' feelings of social integration and well-being. Also of interest are differences between them and hearing students both in the United States and in the Netherlands, countries that are very similar but appear to differ in the nature of friendships.

The study will provide us more insight into the online activities and the quality of online friendships of hearing, deaf-and-hard of hearing youth. The results will be used to find alternative ways to build and improve deaf adolescents' friendships and to try to give them more insights into how they could improve their social lives and, indirectly, their general well-being.