Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Expanded study will track adolescent behavior on Facebook

17.04.2012
NIH grant adds use of social media site to study of texts, emails, instant messages
A large-scale, long-term UT Dallas study focusing on adolescent friendships and electronic communication is expanding to include Facebook posts.

A research team led by Dr. Marion Underwood of The University of Texas at Dallas will capture and code the content of adolescent activity on Facebook, the most popular social networking website. The new research is supported by a more than $408,000, two-year grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The NIH earlier funded Underwood's study of teen texts, e-mails and instant messages with a $3.4 million grant.

According to national surveys conducted by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, 73 percent of teens and preteens (12 – 17 years of age) use social networking sites. About 51 percent of the young people check social networking sites daily, and 22 percent check more than 10 times per day.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recently reported that social media may offer adolescents benefits such as increased opportunities for social connection and communication, academic opportunities and access to health information, but also warned that use of social media may increase risks of cyber bullying and "sexting." Despite the serious concerns, little research has examined the content of adolescent Facebook communication, said Underwood, Ashbel Smith Professor in UT Dallas' School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences.

"Although systematic studies of Facebook communication are lacking, the structure of Facebook has the potential to provide great social satisfaction but also painful social rejection," she said. "Facebook allows users to customize an online profile with information about relationships, activities, likes and dislikes, and numerous photographs, all of which are visible and available for comments posted by others for all to see. Comments can be positive but also negative."

Facebook communication will be analyzed from a sample of 200 adolescents participating in the ongoing study of friendships and social adjustment. The study began when participants were 9 years old and since then has involved yearly assessments of relationships and adjustment.

Four years ago, the summer before the participants started high school, the children were given BlackBerry devices with service plans paid for by the researchers, including unlimited text messaging, internet access for email and a limited number of voice minutes. The researchers have been capturing the content of all text messaging and email sent and received on these BlackBerry devices.

Starting this summer, and for each year of the two-year study, the adolescents and their parents will be asked to grant permission for the investigators to access the young people's Facebook communication by installing a Facebook application developed by Arkovi, an Ohio-based company.

The Facebook application will record wall posts, status updates, in-boxes and photo albums. All Facebook communication will be captured from all devices used. Facebook content will be stored by Arkovi and maintained in a searchable online archive maintained by another firm, Global Relay, for later coding and analysis.

Studying the content of Facebook communication is vitally important because adolescents and young adults are heavily engaged in Facebook in ways that likely affect their relationships and adjustment, Underwood said.

She added that Facebook has the potential to be powerfully reinforcing because every posting can be "liked" (by pressing a thumbs-up icon) or commented on by others. But it also has great potential to make some people feel lonely because of constant social comparisons among acquaintances.

"Facebook can also be used for intentional, public bullying," she said. "Facebook users can post negative remarks on others' walls or make hurtful comments about others' pictures that can be viewed by all of that person's friends."

By coding the content of Facebook activity in the context of an ongoing longitudinal study measuring friendships and adjustment, the study will examine how social development and adjustment from third grade onward - as assessed by observations, parents, peers, teachers and self-reports - relates to the content of Facebook communication by a typical group of adolescents.

"Studying the content of Facebook communication could reveal much about adolescents' developing social relationships, the extent to which youth communicate with strangers, and if they are harassed, by whom," Underwood said.

She said the findings could have implications for policy and parenting.

"This study will also illuminate whether some features of Facebook communication are related to psychological health for youth," Underwood said. "Nothing about Facebook has to be inherently negative. Teenagers may use Facebook in positive ways: to express their identities, share information with friends, plan social events and service projects and school activities, and as a means of seeking social support in times of stress."

Emily Martinez | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.utdallas.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Do microplastics harbour additional risks by colonization with harmful bacteria?
05.04.2018 | Leibniz-Institut für Ostseeforschung Warnemünde

nachricht Rutgers-led innovation could spur faster, cheaper, nano-based manufacturing
14.02.2018 | Rutgers University

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: BAM@Hannover Messe: innovative 3D printing method for space flight

At the Hannover Messe 2018, the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und-prüfung (BAM) will show how, in the future, astronauts could produce their own tools or spare parts in zero gravity using 3D printing. This will reduce, weight and transport costs for space missions. Visitors can experience the innovative additive manufacturing process live at the fair.

Powder-based additive manufacturing in zero gravity is the name of the project in which a component is produced by applying metallic powder layers and then...

Im Focus: Molecules Brilliantly Illuminated

Physicists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, which is jointly run by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have developed a high-power laser system that generates ultrashort pulses of light covering a large share of the mid-infrared spectrum. The researchers envisage a wide range of applications for the technology – in the early diagnosis of cancer, for instance.

Molecules are the building blocks of life. Like all other organisms, we are made of them. They control our biorhythm, and they can also reflect our state of...

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Industrial Maturity of Electrically Conductive Adhesives for Silicon Solar Cells Demonstrated

25.04.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Electrode shape improves neurostimulation for small targets

25.04.2018 | Medical Engineering

Silicon as a new storage material for the batteries of the future

25.04.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>