Adolescent Social Media Use, Research Paper Example
Words: 5047Research Paper
How Social Media Affects Mental Health in Teens
The paper is a study of the effects of social media on mental health in teens. Hypothetically, social media has been known to cause adverse effects on the minds of young people who use the various platforms excessively. Through a group of volunteers from Towson University, this study was conducted following various guidelines and in a logical manner in order to determine those effects. It was found out that depression and anxiety top the list of mental adversaries that affect the minds of such a group of people. The paper illustrates the variables in this study and connects with what was actually found out. Additionally, the research done here was compared to previous works done on the same issue and matched. It is important to note that the method of study done here was the use of questionnaires. The findings concurred with previous researches. The results that were gotten in the study were then analyzed statistically and conclusions drawn from it. However, there were challenges that were realized and they have been highlighted in the paper, as well as the ways to overcome such in the future. Summarily, an in-depth analysis carried out, pointed to the fact that excessive use of social media can lead to mental defects especially in teens.
Social media refers to the applications and websites which help facilitate the creation and sharing of content using virtual networks and communities (Elmquist & McLaughlin, 2018). It helps in sharing various content like entertainment content, news, career interest, ideas, and other expressions. Mental health is a condition of emotional and psychological well-being (Benotsch et al., 2014). Spending long hours per day online affects the mental illness of a person. It can make one feel bad about himself or herself. This is because, in the virtual world, most people only post their success with very few posting their failures. Current studies show that Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other forms of social media increase internalizing problems, despair, and nervousness (Benotsch et al., 2014).
Overview of Present study section
This is a study on the mental effects of using social media in teens. The paper illustrates how excessive consumption of material from social media impacts negatively on the mental wellbeing of young people. Studying this area is essential in the sense that various stakeholders can learn from the findings and aid the youth to curb the menace most of them are facing. Additionally, teens can also be awakened by the fact that their mental health is at stake and shun from excessive use of it.
Several types of research done in the past point out to the fact that cases of anxiety and depression have arisen from incidents of teens consuming social media products in excess. Furthermore, it has also been found out that many young people of the age bracket 19-25 spend a lot of time online. They have been addicted to the internet. For these reasons, the study in social media is an important topic to study, intending to help the affected teenagers overcome pressures of mental health.
Mental illness and social media are related in the sense that its excessive use could lead to cases of depression, and eventually, teenagers committing suicide. The hypothesis lies solely on this statement, and for a fact, teenagers would go into depression if they fail to achieve the amount of attention they are looking for in social media. That is why it is essential to study the effects of social media on mental health so that they can be helped. IV is the independent variable that can be manipulated to give a particular effect; in this case, it is social media. The concept of social media is to stay updated in trending affairs while operationally, it is used to like posts and follow gossip. DV on the other hand, is the dependent variable, one which can be measured. It depends on IV. Operationally, it is the measurement of health symptoms, and conceptually, it is the pessimistic attitude towards one’s life or physical appearance.
The general plan of the study is to get volunteer participants from Towson university who would then be taken through the process of answering questionnaires for the study. Their consent would have to be taken just to ensure that they are okay with giving information that can be used in doing the research work a success. Anonymity is guaranteed. After reading this outline, the reader should be able to go through the whole research document.
(Jethwani et al., 2015) Explains that although social media offers a fascinating new method of communication amongst teenagers, its usage should be controlled because it can lead to depression. There has been a definite link between depressive tendencies alongside the time which an individual spends on the platforms. That translates to mean that there are more chances for an individual to become depressed if they spend more time on online social networks. The current review entails a systematic study that identified research for using social media for communications that can help in giving a positive impact on health outcomes amongst the use because most teenagers already turn to social media for the shared experience or to seek advice, it can be essential to utilize the platforms to reach out to the young adults about mental illness using correct information and support. There are high chances for an individual to become sexually harassed online, with others getting sexual solicitations that are unasked for (Jethwani et al., 2015). The study was mainly observational, which means that there is a need for further studies on examination of how teenagers communicate in the virtual platforms. On the contrary, methods such as examining the social media platform groups like Facebook were used in coming up with the analysis of some mental disorders. Again, more studies can be necessary to help in explaining whether or not social media can be used to impact mental health positively (Elmquist & McLaughlin, 2018).
The second article is written by (De Calheiros & Stauder, 2018), and it explains that social media can help researchers to understand the issue of mental health amongst teenagers. Mental health comprises both externalizing and internalizing dimensions, where the former entails behavioral issues, peer problems, and hyperactivity. Internalizing dimensions are factors like emotional problems, self-esteem issues, anxiety, and depression. There are different activities that people do on virtual networks, and each of them has a disparate impact on mental health. Some of the most common social media activities entail updating status, shopping through these platforms, socializing, chatting, and posting amongst others. Also, events like playing online video games were closely linked to compulsive use of the internet in addition to social media. Therefore, only using one platform or one action cannot help in getting the relationship flanked by sanity and social media. As a result, researchers should not study social media as a single measure; instead, they should research it like a combination of numerous activities and sites for them to analyze its impact on adolescent mental health — the study comprised CIU questionnaires to measure how the brain of individuals who use social media function. The current review is to get a more precise explanation of how particular activities in various online platforms affect the mental health of multiple individuals. (De Calheiros & Stauder, 2018) explained that there is a need to check whether the mental health of different genders is affected differently by the use of specific activities on social media.
The participants were recruited from Towson University. There were fifty participants.
A random sampling technique was used in this assignment.
They were recruited through flyers posted around several different locations on the notice boards around the school.
Participant status does not affect their status to participate, and it is up to them in the end if they want to join or not. However, undergraduate students showed up for the study.
Ages are in the 13-25 range, and both genders, ethnicity is mixed as stated.
If they answer the questionnaire successfully, then they get a pat on the back as a reward.
The subjects involved in this study might have some issues and fail to respond to the questions and end up, probably dropping out of the investigation after all if they get bored or not interested.
The participants were first welcomed, and they agreed to be given the two consent forms. The researcher signed and dated both copies at first, giving one copy to each participant. Consequently, the description of the research project and what it is overall was given. They were then briefed on what the methods of study were, laying out the step by step procedure and at the same time, letting them know the risks involved and the benefits earned if the forms are completed correctly. They were assured that the information they gave out would be kept private. Later on, the participants were taught on the coding technique. There is no pressure, and it was necessary to notify them that they could withdraw at any point in the survey. After that was done, questions that arose from the participants have then answered accordingly. If there were no questions, they were signed the copies that they had dated them too. The organizers took to observing the participants ensure everything was done according to the instructions. Each one of them had about fifteen minutes to answer the questions by filling three electronic questionnaires given on iPads. The type of questionnaire used in the closed-ended questions with high imposition. Different classrooms in the university were used, and after done, they sat in the lounge area. All this was done when the participants had been randomly assigned to various categories by pairing and swapping partners for authenticity.
In this study, one category of the extraneous variable is maturation. For example, as the teen in social media gets more likes the videos and photos posted, their mental health becomes better with time. Thus, the investigator should not base the mental health effects on social media because of the potentially confounding maturation effect.
Another type of an extraneous variable present in the study was the physical variable whereby some participants forgot the exact day of the week for which the study was to be conducted (Kwon & Lee, 2018). However, this was not so big an issue because they could quickly be reminded by the flyers and posters that were posted all around the school. Thirdly, the demand characteristics of the participants were also another extraneous variable that was exhibited. It was noticed that some of them were tending to behave in a particular manner during the study. To eliminate this, the organizers had to debrief them and give out cover stories to make them feel at ease with the study. Finally, the last variable witnessed was the context variable. Some of the participants wanted to choose whether or not they wanted to be part of the study after seeing the type of questionnaire and if it was familiar to them. In as much as some wanted to leave, we quickly intervened and gave them the same unbiased form to be used for the whole study.
Loss of subject or morality is a related threat to internal validity in the study. For example, the topics under study may fail to respond successfully to the questions asked and probably drop out of the investigation (Elmquist & McLaughlin, 2018). This drop out would cause an erroneous benefit from the intervention provided. The total number of people who dropped out was four. Also, the method of assignment of subjects to control and experimental groups might influence the study’s outcome. Even with the intervention application, the results for both groups might differ. To deal with such threats, the investigator should randomly assign subjects to the group.
Several other threats that were present in the study include instrumentation threats. In this scenario, the iPads in use could breakdown and become useless. This could be from accidents. To avoid such instances, I brought several backups so that in the event of a failure, they can be easily replaced. Next is the threat of statistical regression whereby the participants are grouped according to their self-esteem. If there are extremely high or low categories, the average will be pulled down.
Among other threats, selection and testing threats are easy to deal with. With the latter, the participants were engaged in several other intermediary activities. Additionally, I urged them not to give subsequent answers based on the previous ones. The threat of selection was dealt with by not using random assignment. Some of the risks had a preventive measure; some were affected by external factors and could alter the final results. A history threat, for example, needed the participants to be replaced or just left out.
The method of data collection used in this study was surveying by written questionnaires. To gather data that is first hand, and with sensitive topics, this is the method that was deemed fit (Grogan et al., 2017). Besides, this method was also cheap to use, and large amounts of data could be collected at the same time. A total of twenty questions, which were easy to answer and could take lesser time filling, were placed in a total of three forms. This was deliberate because the participants could get bored while answering the questions. Therefore, keeping the questions as few as possible would encourage them.
The type of questions chosen for the study were closed-ended questions that have a high imposition of units. Equally, the ratio scale was used to have the highest level of measurement. Keeping in mind that the participants were divided into groups and even given codes to apply for the survey, their identity and confidentiality in the study are guaranteed. This encouraged them to give honest answers without fear of them being exposed.
The statistical procedures used for the whole process was a collection, analyzing, presentation, and modeling of data. The main focus was on the analysis part, which was used to interpret the data. A method called inferential analysis whereby samples were collected from the broader student community as volunteers who participated in the study, and consequently, conclusions were drawn from it.
Out of every ten students, eight were found to be using social media platforms heavily per day. These were considered to be addicted to the sites. It was also noted that the majority of the students were registered in at least two social media platforms from which they made their daily visits.
The probability of having to reject the proposed hypothesis when it was right for this study was 0.05. Therefore, the significance level used was p<0.05.
It is important to note that the students who were paired were being tested on the same thing. Therefore, in as much as they could have been separated, the results would still be dependent. The average was expected to be around the same for all the students. On calculating the mean, it was found out that there was normalcy across all the subjects.
The CI value taken for this experiment was 95%. This was because the experiment was conducted from the same group of students with basically the same techniques applied to all of them. As a result, the mean is also within the range.
The number of participants per group was equal, and as such, the results that were achieved were evenly distributed.
Yes, the paper supports the hypothesis that was given. Extracts from the paper indicate that the research done concurs with the hypothesis suggested.
Social media and mental illness are related in that continued use of social media may cause mental illness, especially in teenagers. Study shows that many people who spend a lot of time in these platforms will most likely get addicted to them and with time; they will not be able to do without them. It is common to see people get depressed when they do not get the amount of attention they were looking for in social media. Alternatively, whenever teens are not liked as much as they would like to, anxiety and depression will kick in. For such reasons, mental illness manifests itself to these people who may start getting suicidal thoughts, or they feel like society does not need them.
The study is done here also confirms what has been done before in previous works. Teenagers have been known to commit suicide due to factors such as depression (Al-Deen & Hendricks, 2012). In most of the cases, they have been known to post whatever they are about to do on social media and proceeding to do the same (Thorstad & Wolff, 2019). Several other studies have been done confirming the same.
The main reason for conducting this study was to find the relationship between social media and mental illness so that a way of helping the already affected parties can be determined. Additionally, teens can also be educated on the negative effects of social media and how it may lead to mental illness or at the very worse, death due to pressures.
The study conducted represented only a fraction of the population of youths who were sampled. In essence, the remaining larger group out there may still be obsessed with using social media, oblivious of the fact that they could fall victim to depression and anxiety.
Many youths need immediate help from society to prevent further cases of mental illness. From the study, it was deduced that it is true youths suffer from addictive tendencies while using social media. This can be projected to affect the bigger group of other people who use the same. Furthermore, the ones who accepted to have had depression from excessive use of social media admitted to having friends who have had the same experience.
The findings from this research result enough that prompt aid must be given to several teenagers before the social media situation gets dire. A lot of input needs to be done by parents and teachers and all other stakeholders to educate them on various effects of excessive social media use. They should also be taught how to control depression whenever such arises due to social media use.
The limitations encountered in this study include inadequate materials to make the study successful, many volunteers not showing up, and other volunteers turning down the study. Each of the above limitations can be solved quantitatively by proper planning.
In the case of inadequate materials, the organizers can source for more funding from various donors to aid in the purchase of the materials. Additionally, prior communication should be done, and follow-ups made to volunteers so that they are encouraged to go for such research studies. The other solution to volunteers turning down the study during research work, the introduction of incentives could go a long way to ensure that they stay focused during the research, and they do not back out.
Specific Mental Health Diagnosis
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a common condition which several teenagers are diagnosed with (Grogan et al., 2017). The disorder has several adverse effects on the life of an individual, and there is a need to combat depressive symptoms early enough and effectively. In the current day society, where most adolescents prefer social media as the primary source of information, a site like Facebook can be used to understand the mental health issues of the young generation. In this article, (Grogan et al., 2017) examined the composition for Facebook support groups, with the main focus being on youths who suffer from depression. The study shows that most posts which the teenagers make on Facebook are aimed at connecting with people who could have experienced the same conditions, and also sharing helpful information about health outcomes. The study shows that Facebook has a positive impact on the brain because it was seen to be a potential source of support for the people who used it. The current study showed that young adults posted on Facebook to find free help in issues affecting them mentally. (Grogan et al., 2017) also showed that the youths were interested like exchanges which the teenagers used to get the help they needed.
Category of Effects from Data Collected
According to (Negriff, 2019), depression can change the frequency at which young people maintain or make online friends. Social media characteristics of a teenager can be used to explain whether or not they are at risk of becoming mentally ill. Most scholars and researchers argue that depression can be caused as a result of excessive or frequent internet usage, specifically online social platforms. Nonetheless, the studies which link the virtual networks to depression are mainly cross-sectional, which leaves open the probability that depression can result in particular tendencies in online activities, which can advance the depressive symptoms. According to the theory of social media corrosion, people who suffer from depressive symptoms do not have the social skills which are required to make and maintain close and supportive friendships, which can result in them ending the relationships that they have been having. The study comprised data from Time five and Time three of the longitudinal research about the impact of mistreatment on adolescent life. On-time three, teenagers showed more depressive symptoms than at times five. The coefficients of time three showed that fewer friends on social media represented higher levels of depression. The psychological well-being of an individual has a direct correlation to the friendship activities which a teenager has, where the better their well-being, the easier it is for them to make and maintain friends. Therefore, online platforms result in both negative and positive impacts on the mental illness of an individual. (Negriff, 2019) shows that social networking harms the brain of an individual.
Study shows that several teenagers use twitter to plan on how they can commit suicide together (Kwon & Lee, 2018). Most teenagers are using social media platforms excessively because they feel lonely and end up being addicted. The study entailed research of all the twitter posts in Korea, which had the term “Suicide pact” from sixteenth October 2017 to 30th November 2017, and it was seen that 551 people had posted 1702 tweets seeking other people whom they could commit suicide together with. The tweets had detailed information like the location of the person posting, their age and gender, how they could be contacted, and the characteristics they would prefer for the person they were willing to commit suicide with. Depression is what pushes most people to commit suicide. Therefore, relevant authorities should come up with ways that can help teenagers not to commit suicide using suicidal pacts through twitter (Kwon & Lee, 2018).
Instagram and Depression
(Benotsch et al., 2014) Argue that there is a correlation between a social network and well-being conditions like making healthy decisions, health conducts, and status. In their study, they mention that teenagers are more likely to engage in heavy drinking and substance use than older adults. They are also the highest numbers using social media platforms. Social media creates a network design among peers where they report their relationship status as well as substance use. Therefore, adolescents are influenced by the videos or images seen on social media like Instagram, showing their friends having a good time when using alcohol or other substances (Benotsch et al., 2014). There is a link between Instagram usage and depression. This platform shows that it leads teens to report worries about body image, anxiety, and depression because of the fear of missing out. Teenagers and young adult Instagram users record a higher rate of depression than those spending the least time online. Instagram has the curation of giving the perfect image for the followers. This feature may make others feel inadequate in their body image or successes, which is unhealthy. Teenagers spend so much time on Instagram trying to post what they think the world would deem as the perfect life. They fear getting rejected by their friends because perhaps they do not fit in an individual status. Seeing friends enjoying nights out or continuously on vacation can make teens feel like they are missing out while their friends are enjoying life. Instagram, like Facebook, promotes the compare and despair attitude, which is harmful to the mental well-being of an individual. However, teens get some dopamine burst when they receive a notification, follow request, or a like on their picture. Such results boost their mental health. They can become addicting without being satisfying, creating depression. On a positive review, (Benotsch et al., 2014) explained that Instagram, based on its photo-based idea, can improve self-expression and self-identity.
How Social Media is as helpful as it can be depressive
Elmquist and McLaughlin point out that for the last decade, virtual networking platforms have intruded on the well-being of adolescents across the world. In this article, they mention that approximately 73% of teenagers have access to a smartphone and are integrating social media into their critical identities aspects (2018). In this article, they discuss the risks and potential benefits of using social media among teenagers. For the past ten years, communication has dramatically improved through social media use because of the opportunity to a social network, create content, and engage in computer-mediated conversation. YouTube ranks as the best social media that improves the health and well-being of an individual. This platform allows users to share original videos in the form of vlogs, make-up tutorials, music, or cooking, and other beneficial tutorials. According to (Elmquist & McLaughlin,2018), watching an educational video on YouTube enhances social connection and communication skills among teens because it provides a platform where they can learn necessary technical skills, develop new interests and experiment, exchange ideas, and socialize. YouTube provides a sense of community and connectivity to the individuals. However, YouTube, Twitter, and Ask.fm have the highest form of cyberbullying where the user uses fishing methods to harass, prey on victims through pranks, or use violent threats on them. Social media has created a platform where people get humiliated and bullied, which can lead to depression and, ultimately, suicide. There are several cases of deaths following cyberbullying in social media. (Elmquist & McLaughlin,2018), give an example of 13 Reasons Why, a popular book and Netflix series that shows the potential trigger effect that social media can cause to vulnerable youths. The main character commits suicide after struggling with untreated mental health disorders like depression, suicidal intentions, and anxiety. (Elmquist & McLaughlin, 2018) Explained that Cyberbullying and trolling gets linked to suicidal ideation and other psychological problems.
The use of online platforms among adolescents is closely related to numerous adverse health indicators. For instance, excessive use of the platforms results from sleeping problems, anxiety, and esteem issues (Barry et al., 2017). Based on the results of the 224 sample members, the article showed that activities done on the virtual applications and websites have a positive correlation with FOMO, anxiety, depression, also loneliness. However, the authors mention that there are benefits of using social media, some of which include creating a greater connectedness and interaction among peers on social media. Social media is an essential part of a teenager’s life because if used moderately, it reinforces ethical aspects in their lives. They might use platforms such as Facebook or Twitter to express their emotions if face-to-face interactions are unsuitable or uncomfortable for them. Also, stigmatized adolescent groups such as sexual minorities use social media for community building, identity exploration, and self-education. Instead of adverse mental health problems, they show improvements in mental health difficulties because they use social media to receive social support. (Barry et al., 2017) explained that these groups are more closely connected to healthy psychiatric symptoms than young adults using social media for mere entertainment.
Social media seems to be an essential part of many lives among teenagers, with millions owning at least one account of online networking platforms (Barry et al., 2017). The impacts of virtual applications and websites use on adolescents may have particular relevance or cause adverse mental health problems depending on the usage. The apparent roles of stress, FOMO, or depression are the leading adverse psychological effects. Discussed articles mention that teenagers and young adult Instagram users record a higher rate of depression than those spending a lesser time online. The increased time spent on these sites negatively affects the ability of these teenagers to handle their emotions, which increases their perceived stress. The fear of being left out, anxiety, and depression may lead to worsening mental health, such as suicidal idealization. Young adults today have greater access to information through social media. Social media are often linked to hurting mental well-being, although teenagers can use it to their advantage. (Barry et al., 2017) explained that researchers should use online platforms to get more information on their bodies, world, and selves, which will lead to positive effects on psychological health.
If social media platforms are used excessively, then it can lead to anxiety and depression, which causes mental illness. Summarily, in a much as social media may cause depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts to a teenager who uses it excessively, the same platforms can also be harnessed to educate the said category of people and help save the lives of several other people.
Barry, C. T., Briggs, S. M., Lindsey, R. A, Reiter, Shari R & Sidoti, C. L. (2017). Adolescent social media use and mental health from adolescent and parent perspectives. Journal of Adolescence, 61, 1–11.
Benotsch, E. G. Mason, & M. J., Zaharakis, N. (2014). Social networks, substance use, and mental health in college students. Journal of American College Health, 62(7), 470–477.
De Calheiros Velozo, J., & Stauder, J. E. A. (2018). Exploring social media use as a composite construction to understand its relation to mental health: A pilot study on adolescents. Children and Youth Services Review, 91, 398–402.
Elmquist, D. L., & McLaughlin, C. L. (2018). Social media use among adolescents coping with mental health. Contemporary School Psychology, 22(4), 503–511.
Grogan, G. J., Hudson, C. C., Johnson, E., Lerman, B. I., Lewis, S. P., & Lumley, M. (2017). Teen depression groups on Facebook: A content analysis. Journal of Adolescent Research, 32(6), 719–741.
Jethwani, Kinane, T K., Scirica, C. V., Yonker, L. M, & Zan, S. (2015). “Friending” teens: Systematic review of social media in adolescent and young adult health care. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 17(1).
Kwon, Y & Lee, S. Y. (2018). Twitter as a place where people meet to make suicide pacts. Public Health, 159, 21–26.
Negriff, S. (2019). Depressive symptoms predict characteristics of online social networks — Journal of Adolescent Health, 65(1), 101–106.
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