A two-part exploratory study into social media use amongst adolescent girls
: 1. What are the reported experiences and perceptions of using social media amongst adolescent girls? 2. What do Educational Psychologists understand about social media use amongst adolescent girls and what can they do to support young people?

  • Caroline Butler

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Educational Psychology (DEdPsy)

Abstract

The use of social media (SM) websites and apps such as Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat have become a fundamental part of adolescence as young people have gained increased access to smart phones. Adolescent girls use SM more than their male peers (The Children's Society, 2018) and are more likely than boys to experience something that upsets them on SM (Lilley, Ball, & Vernon, 2014). Previous literature has tended to focus upon young adults’ usage of SM and has often adopted a quantitative approach. Our current understanding about the experiences of adolescent girls using SM and the impact of these platforms on mental wellbeing is limited. This is unsurprising given the speed of technological change. Educational Psychologists (EPs) apply psychological theory and models when working with young people, school staff and families to reduce barriers to learning and promote inclusion. There are currently no studies into the perception or experiences of EPs on the topic of SM use amongst adolescent girls. This qualitative study used interviews to explore the reported experiences and perceptions of eight adolescent girls who use SM every day. A focus group was carried out with six EPs to elicit their voice on SM use amongst adolescent girls. A constructivist-interpretive approach was adopted, and thematic analysis was used to analyse the transcripts. The findings suggest that the girls partake in a balancing act when using SM to enjoy the advantages (being entertained, keeping up with friends, sharing experiences) and the disadvantages (partaking in a culture of comparison, cyber-bullying, falling out with friends and becoming reliant on SM to maintain friendships). The EPs suggested a wider, more holistic approach is needed to encourage a positive use of SM and to support young people’s mental wellbeing.
Date of Award8 Nov 2018
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Bristol
SupervisorRob Green (Supervisor) & John Franey (Supervisor)

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