sample research proposal pdf

sample research proposal pdf

The Impact of Social Media on Mental Health

1. Introduction

With the considerable reactions to earlier forms of digital communication and social phenomena reported in many psychology texts and journals in recent years, it is clear that the psychological impacts of social media will be an issue of great interest and importance in the years to come. Often, new technology has a way of profoundly influencing society. Rapid technological changes typically provoke a great deal of speculation about their effects on the next generation. At the moment, speculation about social media and its effects is running high. Although there is a vast amount of speculation on this topic at the moment, the speculation is by no means unilaterally negative. On the one hand, there are the proud tech advocates who believe that the use of social media furthers many of the core values that drive success in America. Such digital immigrants often find themselves influencing the native young digital generation to adapt similar ideals and tactics, despite their sometimes flagrant lack of technological expertise. Generally, these values are based on the idea of the American dream. It is widely believed that through hard work and perseverance, one can achieve any form of success desired.

2. Literature Review

A systematic search of the UK-based literature across the breadth of social science fields (including medicine, psychology, sociology, health studies, social policy, social work, economics, etc.) from the year 2001 was undertaken in all major databases: Web of Science, JSTOR, PubMed, PsycINFO, Sociological Abstracts, Applied Social Sciences Index and Abstracts, EconLit, Health Management Information Consortium, Social Services Abstracts, CINAHL, The Cochrane Library, the Campbell Collaboration, and Education Resources Information Center. 36 eligible sources were cross-referenced, looking at the impact of exterior societal factors on the mental health of young people today. A critical approach to reading and interpreting the academic resources and empirical research has been taken. All literature found was categorically synthesized in a critical discussion and divided into appropriate sections. The quality of the sources was put into consideration, coming to a final conclusion and implications always reverting back to the research question. To our knowledge, this is the first piece of research each looking at the impact of social media on the mental health of the youth community. Overall, this literature review hopes to answer the question with clarity and provide a framework for work to be done in the years to come and its implications and any cause for concern.

The growing popularity of social media networks and applications has had many positive and negative implications for society. Social media has revolutionized the way we view ourselves, the way we see others, and the way we interact with the world around us. It is part of the twenty-first century, with all its delicate aspirations, delicate idiosyncratic issues, and delicate personal problems. But problems still exist. Social media, just like anything, can cause its own problems. This virtual world is an ally, an enemy, an enabler, a disabler, and a landscape for the future of mental health. But how does social media impinge on our mental health? This literature review will explore and expose research into the impact of burgeoning social media usage on the youth community and a delimitation of its effects on the way we view ourselves. This review set out to systematically explore the links between social media and its impact on the youth of today with the intent to answer the question: “What are the effects of social media on the mental health of the youth community?”

Social media is a virtual platform where people from all over the world interact with each other. Social media sites are used as a medium for communication. Social media includes several web-based technologies to turn communication into interactive dialogue. Some of the popular social media websites are Facebook, Hi5, Twitter, MySpace, etc. Social media is one of the revolutionary changes that happened in the twenty-first century. Globalization and commercialization are some of the features that are introduced through social media. Social media is not only limited to introducing new features to the world and making people interact with each other, but it also has changed the lifestyle of the people and has lots of impact on society and the community.

3. Methodology

Consequently, the research methodology used in the comprehension and appraisal of the concept of social media and mental health will be of qualitative design. This was concluded after comparison to the alternatives of a mixed method design and quantitative design. It has been chosen due to the depth of understanding and insight that it should yield to the proposed matter. This is assuming that the results will act as a precursor to future research and policy making in the area. The research will use the method of systematic review to gain an understanding of the current prevalent attitudes and knowledge about social media’s impact on mental health, which should give a broad understanding of the subject area. The initial scoping of the systematic review search has highlighted four themes within this matter which include: social comparison, cyberbullying, self-esteem, and JOMO and FOMO. It may use these as search terms to guide researchers to relevant articles which may help to understand these issues. A meta-ethnographic approach as discussed by Noblit and Hare (1988) in their book ‘Meta-Ethnography: Synthesizing Qualitative Studies’ will be used to synthesize the data found from the literature review on the subject and to generate evidence-based insight into the issues which have been found to date. Following this, based on the evidence outlined by the literature review, an adaptive theoretical approach will be taken in generating a better understanding of the speculative theory that social media negatively impacts mental health, as it is the most plausible suggestion of causality. An adaptive approach of grounded theory was chosen in hopes of generating new theory on this matter as well as comparing findings to the speculative theory itself. This approach was chosen due to the fact that there is a lot of data on the subject and past research, and as the theory is only speculative, a deductive or inductive approach may force ideas to fit the data from the other.

4. Findings and Analysis

The first thing that a student might face in social media is the addiction to it. They might just want to take a look for a while but end up spending more than an hour. There are many types of social media and forums teenagers will always be glued to their laptops, tablets, or smartphones to chat with their friends and make their presence on the internet. This will affect their study as their focus will shift more towards the internet compared to books. According to an article written by Elizabeth Hartney, BSc., MSc., MA, PhD, who has researched addiction to social media, stated that “Teens may feel that they will miss out on important information or events if they do not check into their web-based networks frequently. They may be afraid of getting out of touch with their friends if they do not stay logged on.” Step by step, it will become a habit. Students will focus more on social media because they do not want to miss anything and take it as a serious matter. This will have an effect on them regarding their social life, but it will also affect their studies. They will feel “withdrawal symptoms” and depression if they stay off the internet compared to the last time.

Social media is a network where a person can share their personal information with others or a group that has the same interest as them by using a website. With this, they can make friends and interact to fulfill their emotional needs. Social media has made an impact on society. A research on the impact of social media on society that has been done by the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project stated that “On any given day, 20% of the youth in our sample took part in social networking, 13% used the internet to get information about college, and 13% used the internet to seek health information.” These numbers are related to each other, meaning that the youth today frequently use the internet to seek health information compared to the last generation. By using social media, there are many positive and negative impacts that can happen to students. In social media, it is easier to find long-lost friends, make new friends, and share the same interests with each other. It could fulfill one’s emotional needs and involve them in society.

Social media is an important application within the context of the internet in which many users utilize it as a channel to connect with other people. Social media is widely used by the young people of today as it is a new way for them to express themselves. This new technology has an effect on the young users, particularly students. In Malaysia, there are many social media applications that are famous among the students, for example, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. This research work is to prove that social media has an effect on the students mentally, physically, and emotionally.

5. Conclusion and Recommendations

In the DSM-V, Internet Gaming Disorder is still in the section “Conditions for Further Study”, but with the new release of games and more advanced technology to make gaming more immersive, it is clear that video game addiction and social media addiction are on the rise. Because of this, it is essential for the IGD to be properly defined and a set of standardized criteria be established. General criteria for substance abuse and pathological gambling are currently used as references and diagnosed on a case by case basis. Since its inception, the internet has drastically changed and affected how people live and with online activities becoming more and more different from offline activities, it needs differentiated diagnostic criteria to adapt to these changes. This is especially important due to the continuous allurement of social media and gaming, such as receiving notifications while not engaging in social media or being able to skip cut scenes in video games. Higher allurement is associated with higher incidence of addiction. A simple criteria allows easier and accurate diagnoses for health professionals who encounter these patients. It also allows for proper assessments of prevalence and further research on prevention and treatment. This would have a considerable impact on how mental health professionals approach and deal with affected patients so that they need not rely on treatments meant for substance abuse or other behavioral addictions.

Given the complexity and nuance involved in social media’s impact on mental health, it is also important to use research and the implications of such research to make the public aware of possible risks. An educated public could then make policy changes that would reflect the seriousness of the issue. But what should these changes be?

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