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Sarah Figert

Professor Gathof
English 102
29 February 2016
Research Proposal
I am researching the psychological effects and disorders in adolescents of social media.
My research question is, what are the psychological effects of social media on adolescents in the
technological era? This question is important, not only for my personal interest, but for our
society as well. Social media is becoming overwhelmingly involved in the everyday life of
adolescents for the first time, and the effects that it has will shape our society as a whole. This
question is important to me because I have experienced some of the negative and positive effects
of social media, and Im interested in how this will effect the generation that has grown up with
these things their whole life. The current generation of adolescents are in a difficult spot, because
they have most likely grown up with access to technology and social media, while their parents
havent and dont understand it.
My research question was originally, how are social media and social anxiety related? I
changed it because there wasnt much scholarly research or scholarly articles available about this
topic. When I broadened by research question to, what are the psychological effects of social
media on adolescents, there were significantly greater results. Most of the results I have found
have been about the negative effects of social media, but I do have one article about the positive
effects. The sources; The Psychological Effects of Social Media, Concerns Regarding Social
Media and Health Issues in Adolescents and Young Adults, Cyberbully, The Impact on Family
Functioning of Social Media Used by Depresses Adolescents, Photoshopping the Selfie: Self

Photo Editing and Photo Investment Are Associated With Body Dissatisfaction, Media Exposure
Extracurricular Activities and Appearance-Related Comments as Predictors of Female
Adolescents Self-Objectification mostly focus on the negative effects of social media. The
article, Social Media: How Does it Affect Our Mental Health and Well-Being, discusses both the
negative and positive effects of social media. Through my research I have found that social
media can cause social anxiety, depression, anorexia, bulimia, poor self-image, and a disconnect
from their parents. I have also found that social media can in some ways help reduce social
anxiety. All of the information found on the scholarly sources I am planning on using seems to
align with my perception of the reality of social medias effects.
The large majority of my research around the topic is done. The only thing I would still
like to do is to find some more primary sources to incorporate. Including more than one primary
source in my research paper will enhance my paper by including different points of view straight
from the source. Many primary sources are also a part of popular culture, such as the movie
Cyberbully. Using these types of sources can relate my topic to pop culture even more.
The movie, Cyberbully, is the only primary source I have as of now. This movie was
originally shown on the ABC television channel, and is also on Netflix. Television and social
media are a big part of popular culture. People in Western society get the majority of their
information, news, and entertainment, from television and social media. In society today people
can selectively expose themselves to the information that they want to hear/agree with, because
there is a plethora of television channels and social media websites and applications. This is a
large factor in how they are effected, because they can choose the stimulus that causes the effect.
There is a minority that choses not to be exposed to social media at all, but in todays society it is
almost impossible to be completely disconnected from it.

My thesis statement is; social media is beginning to have negative psychological

repercussion for adolescents such as; depression, social anxiety, issues with body image, and
much more. My target audience is anyone who is effected by, or partakes in social media. I
assume that my audience already knows what social media is. The audience for this research
paper may expect to gain a better understanding of the psychological repercussions of social
media on adolescence. I want to spread awareness to parents in order to help their adolescents
when they may not under stand what social media is or how it works. I would also like to help
adolescence gain a self awareness around their social media usage.

Works Cited:
Becker, Mark W., Reem Alzahabi, and Christopher J. Hopwood. "Media Multitasking Is
Associated With Symptoms Of Depression And Social Anxiety." Cyberpsychology,
Behavior & Social Networking 16.2 (2013): 132-135. Academic Search Complete. Web.
18 Feb. 2016.

"Concerns Regarding Social Media And Health Issues In Adolescents And Young
Adults." Obstetrics & Gynecology 127.2 (2016): e62-e65. Academic Search Complete.
Web. 18 Feb. 2016.

Cyberbully. Charles Biname. ABC Family. 2011. Film.

Honor Whiteman. Social Media: How Does It Affect Our Mental Health and Well-Being?
Medical News Today. 10 June 2015. Website. 18 February 2016.

Lewis, Andrew J., et al. "The Impact On Family Functioning Of Social Media Use By Depressed
Adolescents: A Qualitative Analysis Of The Family Options Study." Frontiers In
Psychiatry (2015): 1-8. Academic Search Complete. Web. 18 Feb. 2016.

McLean, Sin A., et al. "Photoshopping The Selfie: Self Photo Editing And Photo Investment
Are Associated With Body Dissatisfaction In Adolescent Girls." International Journal Of
Eating Disorders 48.8 (2015): 1132-1140. Academic Search Complete. Web. 18 Feb.

Slater, Amy, and Marika Tiggemann. "Media Exposure, Extracurricular Activities, And
Appearance-Related Comments As Predictors Of Female Adolescents SelfObjectification." Psychology Of Women Quarterly 39.3 (2015): 375-389. Academic
Search Complete. Web. 18 Feb. 2016.