China has a huge population of young netizens. With the rapid rise in use of the web in China, the integration of the Internet into the existing media system is influenced by individual dependency on traditional media, and vice versa. This study examines Ball-Rokeach and DeFleur's (1979) media dependency theory using Chinese college students as the sample. The Internet has tremendously changed the information environment in China, enabling people to bypass traditional media to secure more diverse information, especially in threatening situations. Survey of Chinese college students found that while the Internet satisfied the young Chinese "goals" at both individual and social levels, the "goals" they pursued from dependency relations with traditional media were mainly social ones. Contrary to the theory, when the young people perceived the environment as threatening, their dependency on traditional media decreased significantly rather than increased; their Internet dependency was high in threatening situations, but it did not vary greatly from that in everyday life. In contrast, interpersonal communication was significantly intensified in threatening situations. Our results also indicated that the Chinese youth depended more on the Internet than traditional media. An in-depth discussion about the findings was carried out at the end. Keywords: The Internet dependency, traditional media dependency, dependency intensity, threatening situations, Chinese College students
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