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Symbol opinion vote Comment: This is an academic essay, not an encyclopedic summary of the subject Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 21:49, 18 November 2014 (UTC)


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Social Media, Adolescents' and Young Adults

Social Media is an emerging tool used for social interaction in the 21st century. It involves consuming and actively contributing information to an online virtual community. The adolescents' (categorized as between the ages of 13-17) and young adults (usually categorized as 18-29) of this generation will be the first to transition into adulthood while having social media as an integral part of their interactions with others. Research done on the subject has provided evidence for both its positive and negative effects on individuals within these two age groups. It is important for to be aware of the possible influences social media can have over cognitions and mental states.

Social Media Use and it Negative Effects on Adolescent Youth and Young Adults

Through various psychological studies, social media use has been shown to have a quantifiable negative impacts on individuals overall well-being. Research done by Erin A. Vogel and colleagues has correlated frequent Facebook use with lower self esteem in young adults, due to an increase in exposure to upward social comparisons. [1] This presents evidence that when comparing oneself to others on Facebook that are perceived to be in a higher social standing, there is a possibility that this comparison will have a negative effect on ones self esteem.

A negative interpretation of a tease on Facebook can elicit negative emotions as well. [2] Mark A. Barnett and colleagues presented 6th to 8th grade students with different ambiguous teases, posted by a hypothetical peer onto a simulated version of their Facebook wall. [2] The result was that youth who had experienced negative teases previously were more likely to have a negative emotional reaction to the hypothetical teases in the study. [2] This provides evidence that some individuals have a more negative experience while using Facebook than others, due to their prior experiences. [2] This study has shown that some individuals may be more prone to experience social media in a negative way.

Other research connects Facebook use and negative aspects of mental health as well. Comparing oneself to others on Facebook may lead to an increase in depressive symptoms. [3] This research, which was done on young adults, presents evidence that negatively comparing oneself to others on Facebook can lead to an increase in rumination, which is a precursor of depressive symptoms. [3] It is important to point out that these depressive symptoms are not a result of Facebook use in general, but rather the correlation between depressive symptoms and negative social comparison some individuals may engage in while using Facebook.

Alcohol consumption can have a negative effect on both adolescents' and young adults. There is research showing that Facebook can negatively influence the perception of drinking norms in these two groups of young people. Adolescent youth who were exposed to Facebook profiles displaying older youth drinking alcohol had increased cognitions related to alcohol use. [4] Seeing these older youth drink alcohol provided the adolescents' in the study with perceived norms associated with alcohol consumption.[4] Young adults can also be influenced by Facebook profiles containing alcohol related content. Alcohol related Facebook content can increase the overestimation of drinking norms among college students.[5] Both of these studies provide evidence that Facebook can influence adolescent youth and young adults to hold possibly damaging beliefs about drinking norms among their peers.

Through these various studies, Facebook use in adolescence and young adulthood has been linked to lower self-esteem, depressive symptoms, and negative emotional states. Evidence has also been provided that adolescents' and young adults may hold inaccurate beliefs about drinking norms, due to the influence of percieved peers Facebook profiles. More research should be done on the possible negative impacts of Facebook use, and overall users should be wary of its effects on emotional states and overall wellbeing.

Social Media Use and its Positive Effects on Adolescent Youth and Young Adults

Estimates indicate that there are approximately 1.8 billion adolescents' and young adults in the world today. [6] A large portion of this demographic are confronted with the increasingly complex demands of modern society. With this rise in a society dependent on technology comes a demand for a new set of skills. One of the several ways we see social media benefitting our adults of tomorrow is the ways in which social media increases a variety of skills applicable to an economy immersed in technology. Social media requires comprehensive computer navigation skills and allows adolescence to become more adapt at a variety of computer related tasks. However more importantly it’s one of the initial steps in learning how to communicate on a variety of platforms and through a different medium. The social skills and etiquette required on social media sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn are drastically different, and the ability for adolescence and young adults to be able to explore and build upon their skills and knowledge of social media is important in our society.

Social media has not only proved useful as a learning tool for a technologically immersed society. Studies also show that the building and sustaining of friendships are especially important in adolescence.[6] Social media can have a profound effect on individual’s ability to help build, and sustain friendships especially when factors such as distance are involved. Further studies have shown that social media has the ability to provide increases in wellbeing among adolescences and young adults. The tool of relatedness is one in which social media does an exceptional job of facilitating. Sites like Facebook for example have hundreds of thousands of groups dedicated to connecting users of similar interests and hobbies. Positive wellbeing has seen to be closely associated with the relatedness provided by social networks. [6]

Despite social media’s links to various issues of mental health regarding adolescence and young adults, there has been a substantial contribution by social media as a self-help tool. [7] While much of the research done on social media and adolescences/young adults has been undergone with focus being towards negative impacts on the psyche. The idea of social media as a self-help tool is one in which has already provided cases of its potential benefits. Research done on the topic showed that approximately 30% of young adults age 18-24 were using the internet (social media sites included) as a way to seek self-help. [7] Physical and mental conditions were both topics of inquiry among the subjects, but the primary subject of those seeking self-help was that of depression. Interesting here is the fact that despite much of the research noted above, social media appears to be able to help seek solutions to problems that may have been potentially caused by itself.

Major evidence of the idea that social media could be used in a way that positively impacted young adults mental health, came from a study conducted to help screen college students (young adults) for Major Depressive Disorder also known as MDD. [8] Through the use of an online program which targeted these college students, the study was able to diagnose 259 young adults. [8] The evidence found was that roughly 25% of the students tested positive for MDD, out of this only 14% were actively receiving treatment for MDD. [8] This data and the logistics of the study conducted show how potentially beneficial social media can be in identifying mental illness. By extension social media could have the ability to provide further self-help and not just in terms of diagnosing, but in aiding against illnesses such as depression.

Research indicates that a personal diary and as an extension to that, blogs and other forms of media can aid in relieving mental and emotional stress. Specifically adolescents' faced with emotional difficulties can benefit in the way of positive self-esteem, and increased emotional stability.[9] The therapeutic effects of writing, and in our case blogging, appear to have the best results in terms of adolescents' who were blogging on social platforms that incorporate feedback as an element of their site.[9] Examples of this could look like a comment section or feedback forum.

References

  1. Vogel, E. A., Rose, J. P., Roberts, L. R., & Eckles, K. (2014). Social comparison, social media, and self-esteem. Psychology Of Popular Media Culture, 3(4), 206-222.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Barnett, M. A., Nichols, M. B., Sonnentag, T. L., & Wadian, T. W. (2013). Factors associated with early adolescents’ anticipated emotional and behavioral responses to ambiguous teases on Facebook. Computers In Human Behavior, 29(6), 2225-2229.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Feinstein, B. A., Hershenberg, R., Bhatia, V., Latack, J. A., Meuwly, N., & Davila, J. (2013). Negative social comparison on Facebook and depressive symptoms: Rumination as a mechanism. Psychology Of Popular Media Culture, 2(3), 161-170.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Fournier, A. K., Hall, E., Ricke, P., & Storey, B. (2013). Alcohol and the social network: Online social networking sites and college students' perceived drinking norms. Psychology Of Popular Media Culture, 2(2), 86-95.
  5. Fournier, A. K., Hall, E., Ricke, P., & Storey, B. (2013). Alcohol and the social network: Online social networking sites and college students' perceived drinking norms. Psychology Of Popular Media Culture, 2(2), 86-95.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Best, P., Manktelow, R., & Taylor, B. (2014). Online communication, social media and adolescent wellbeing: A systematic narrative review. Children And Youth Services Review, 27.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Clifton, A., Goodall, D., Ban, S., & Birks, E. (2013). New perspectives on the contribution of digital technology and social media use to improve the mental wellbeing of children and young people: a state-of-the art review. Neonatal, Paediatric & Child Health Nursing, 16(1), 19-26.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Soo-Jeong, Y., Nhi-Ha, T., Shyu, I., Chang, T., Fava, M., Kvedar, J., & Yeung, A. (2013). Using online social media, Facebook, in screening for major depressive disorder among college students. International Journal Of Clinical Health & Psychology, 13(1), 74-80.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Boniel-Nissim, M., & Barak, A. (2013). The therapeutic value of adolescents’ blogging about social–emotional difficulties. Psychological Services, 10(3), 333-341.
  • Vogel, E. A., Rose, J. P., Roberts, L. R., & Eckles, K. (2014). Social comparison, social media, and self-esteem. Psychology Of Popular Media Culture, 3(4), 206-222.
  • Barnett, M. A., Nichols, M. B., Sonnentag, T. L., & Wadian, T. W. (2013). Factors associated with early adolescents’ anticipated emotional and behavioral responses to ambiguous teases on Facebook. Computers In Human Behavior, 29(6), 2225-2229.
  • Feinstein, B. A., Hershenberg, R., Bhatia, V., Latack, J. A., Meuwly, N., & Davila, J. (2013). Negative social comparison on Facebook and depressive symptoms: Rumination as a mechanism. Psychology Of Popular Media Culture, 2(3), 161-170.
  • Litt, D. M., & Stock, M. L. (2011). Adolescent alcohol-related risk cognitions: The roles of social norms and social networking sites. Psychology Of Addictive Behaviors, 25(4), 708-713.
  • Fournier, A. K., Hall, E., Ricke, P., & Storey, B. (2013). Alcohol and the social network: Online social networking sites and college students' perceived drinking norms. Psychology Of Popular Media Culture, 2(2), 86-95.
  • Best, P., Manktelow, R., & Taylor, B. (2014). Online communication, social media and adolescent wellbeing: A systematic narrative review. Children And Youth Services Review, 27.
  • Clifton, A., Goodall, D., Ban, S., & Birks, E. (2013). New perspectives on the contribution of digital technology and social media use to improve the mental wellbeing of children and young people: a state-of-the art review. Neonatal, Paediatric & Child Health Nursing, 16(1), 19-26.
  • Soo-Jeong, Y., Nhi-Ha, T., Shyu, I., Chang, T., Fava, M., Kvedar, J., & Yeung, A. (2013). Using online social media, Facebook, in screening for major depressive disorder among college students. International Journal Of Clinical Health & Psychology, 13(1), 74-80.
  • Boniel-Nissim, M., & Barak, A. (2013). The therapeutic value of adolescents’ blogging about social–emotional difficulties. Psychological Services, 10(3), 333-341.
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