Dr. Erin Willis
This project takes an in-depth look at how media on social networking sites (SNSs) affect adolescents. The findings are relevant to our current social media-saturated world. Individuals have access to SNSs at younger and younger ages. This prompts concerns for an adolescent’s well-being since their brains are developing during this period. It is crucial to understand how adolescents absorb antisocial content from SNSs. This project examines how adolescent thinking develops and the role antisocial media content has on that development. I examine the 2014 Slenderman stabbing as a case study of an extreme instance of a negative impact from social media. The main findings from this investigation show that the adolescent period is the most important stage in life for brain development affecting emotional, social, and mental capacities. Findings also show that adolescents have more access to the Internet and are spending more time on SNSs than ever. Research continues to be inconclusive whether or not this affects adolescents in a negative or positive way, but most agree there are both benefits and risk to SNSs.
To examine these issues, I produced a long-form journalism piece of 4,000 words that focuses on the case study and how social media affect multiple parts of an adolescent’s life, an animated video to explain the case study, graphics for data visualization, and a website to display the project in a way that is uniform with digital journalism. Through the creation of the creative project, I have gained an understanding of the amount of work that must go into a digital story. Although the digital components of this project took the most time, planning, and coordination, multimedia components are an important storytelling aid and are crucial in capturing the audience’s attention.
Diestel, Tessa, "Virtually Indoctrinated: An investigation into the effects of antisocial media on adolescents" (2018). Journalism Undergraduate Honors Theses. 2.