Impact of Social Media on Youth Wellbeing (2012)

Mass media research on the impact of social media on youth wellbeing, based on primary (~800 respondents) and secondary research (2012)

Module: Mass Media Research (Singapore Polytechnic)

[Group Project]

—Research Objective—

To explore how social media affects the wellbeing of Singapore youth, specifically in the areas of connectedness and empowerment.

It covers four main areas:

  • Aims to find out if youth thinks social media has helped improve relationships
  • To find out if youth thinks what they say can effect a change
  • To find out if social media affects youth’s decision-making process
  • To find out if youth feel that they are significant

The concepts of wellbeing, connectedness, and empowerment will be defined in the report, to better understand what the study is about.

—Research Questions—

• Do youths think their opinion on social media can evoke changes that make them feel significant?

• Does the time spent communicating on social media help improve relationships?

• Can social media be the bridge youths use to connect with people they do not see often?

• How does the presence of social media influence youth’s decision making in social businesses?

• How has social media affect youth’s satisfaction of life?

—Findings—

The entire cohort of Year 2, Singapore Polytechnic’s Diploma in Media & Communication students conducted this nationwide study. 800 Singaporean youths aged 18–35 years were asked to complete a quantitative survey on their behaviour and actions on social networking sites. The main areas asked are on the basic usage of internet, connectedness, empowerment, social businesses, and wellbeing.

Unless otherwise stated, this report uses the term ‘Youths’ to include all young people aged 15-35, as defined by National Youth Council.

—Most Popular Social Networking Site—

The study revealed that Facebook is the most used social media site, with an average of five to six visits in a week. 98% of the respondents claim to use that platform. In second place is Video-Sharing sites with 91%, and Social News and Information with 76%.

—Usage of Youths—

Research have found that internet users who spend more than 4 hours a day on social media platforms are considered “heavy users” of social media and in our survey the average amount of time youths spent is 5.5 hours daily.

—Top Activities—

In our study, the top 3 activities done on social media platforms are mainly reading content, viewing photos or videos and commenting or replying others. 93% of the respondents who are avid social media users chose to spend most of their time on reading content while 91.9% on viewing photographs or videos and 85.3% on commenting or replying to others.

—Inferiority On Social Media: Political Issues—

Although a large number of people agree that social media can allow freedom of expression, the result contradicts especially toward politics with 42% disagreeing. Also, 50.5% of the respondents have never used Facebook to give feedback or share their opinions on government or local public issue.

—Online Habits Affect Relationships—

In our research we found that social media appeals to both younger audiences (15-19) as well as a more matured audience (30-35). 69.2% of the younger respondents and 69.1% of those aged 30-35 agreed that social media improve their relationships by communicating through social networking sites.

—Connected Through Social Media—

A large majority of the respondents go on to social media to connect with other people. 81.1% found social media as a medium to helped maintain relations with people they do not see often. Hence the level of interaction on or offline does not affect the depth of ones relationships.

—Favor Business Using Social Media—

With 80.1% of the respondents following, subscribing or “liking” at least one business or brand on social media. 56.7% agree that they are more likely to purchase if a business or brand has an active social media presence. Hence online business activities do affect purchase decisions.

There are implications that comes along with these key findings, and that they will affect the generations, or even those to come. Along with the implications, that will be delve into more detailedly in the report, there are also recommendations that my group came up with, that could alleviate, or improve the circumstance, so that the usage of social media, will be a betterment of our lives.

As much as this report aims to find out about the youths in Singapore, it should be noted, that there are limited findings to this study because of the empirical observations, possibility of subjective answers, and the difference in personal perspective, amongst several others, which will be covered later on in the report.

The Impact of Social Media on Youth Wellbeing (2012)

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