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 The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht A sudden drop in outdoor temperature increases the risk of respiratory infections
11.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg

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: Quantum optical sensor for the first time tested in space – with a laser system from Berlin

For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.

According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Tracking movement of immune cells identifies key first steps in inflammatory arthritis

23.01.2017 | Health and Medicine

Electrocatalysis can advance green transition

23.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

New technology for mass-production of complex molded composite components

23.01.2017 | Process Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>