Originally published: May 6, 2012
Last updated: May 6, 2012 - 12:17pm
You're 18 years old. What can social media do for you? What can it do to you?
Social media benefits adolescents by creating connection, academic opportunities, and access to health information. On the other hand, it has created cyberbullying, sexting, and Facebook depression. But how true is any of this, and just what are adolescents doing on social media every day? A new phase of a multi-year study -- kind of a digital version of the famous "7-Up" documentary series -- will attempt an answer. The research, led by Marion K. Underwood, a professor at the University of Texas, Dallas, actually began in 2003. Underwood, UT’s Ashbel Smith Professor, School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, and her research group started a study on social aggression with a group of 175 nine-year-olds (third graders). Five years later, and before the students began ninth grade, they received BlackBerry devices from Underwood and her team. With lots of confidentiality and firewall arrangements, Underwood was able to embark on a new phase of the longitudinal study by recording each text message, photo, email, and IM.
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