Knowledge Exchange Seminar Series (KESS)

Young People, Mental Health and Modern Media

Young People, Mental Health and Modern Media

Prof Sarah Edge (Ulster), Dr Helen Jackson (Ulster) & Dr Caroline O’Sullivan (DKIT) –

This presentation is based on research that used both quantitative and qualitative methodologies to identify the rise in bullying, anxiety, body image and mental health issues for young people within the UK and Ireland, and uses evidence from the findings of #StatusOfMind, May 2017 report commissioned by The Royal Society for Public Health; the Irish Charity Reachout April 2017 report; and the IPPR thinktank findings on the significant increase in suicide rates in UK students. Such research raised significant concerns about the behaviours of young people using social network sites (e.g. Facebook, SnapChat) and the inter-related emotional affects. In particular, it presents research on the sexualisation of young women in popular film in the 1990s, examining how these representations have impacted on how young women see themselves and how they are treated by others. It also introduces the recent initiative BSBH – a programme designed to increase positive representations of women in local news media.

Thereafter it examines the impact of “Reality TV” on the identity formation, perceptions of relationships and of self on teenagers, particularly in the context of the ubiquity and online reach of this content.

It then moves on to present the findings of a recent research project that uses the ‘selfie’ as a means of examining sociological knowledge and feelings. The Self[ie] Reflexive Project explores the processes of self–reflection created by novel forms of convergence, to identify habitual behaviours in young people, and to map the interconnected and competing personal and emotional issues that dominate these behaviours.

Throughout this presentation, the speakers will identify for policy makers the tools required to delve underneath the more negative statistical findings in order to better inform and develop strategies that empower young people via media literacy awareness, and enable them to move beyond personal feelings to collective empowered understanding.

This seminar took place on 7th February 2018

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Policy Briefing
Presentation