This fall, TEC Center’s director and Erikson Institute’s Associate Professor, Alexis Lauricella, PhD, was on a panel with Adrian Massanari and Zizi Papacharissi of UIC Department of Communications to discuss social media and mental health. In a Gazette Chicago article, David Warren, discusses the panelists’ conversation. Lauricella is quoted in the article saying,
Social media is just one part, so to understand more clearly how it affects mental health, we have to look at the individual user, the content, and the context.
During the event, Dr. Lauricella talked about the need to consider social media use with regard to the content the user is engaging with, the individual user, and the context in which they are engaging with social media. She articulated that it is essential to consider each of these aspects of use to fully understand the impact of social media on health.
User: Lauricella discussed the importance of considering vulnerable adolescents and the unique impact social media use may have on certain users based on recent data from Common Sense Media.
Content: Lauricella addressed that what users see on social media varies dramatically and that content is critical when thinking about the effect it may have on health. She discussed cultivation theory and talked about how the more we are exposed to scenarios, images, and stories via media, the more we feel like that is what the world is like.
Context: Unlike other media platforms, social media use and the extension of mobile smartphones has led social media use to occur in a variety of contexts. Lauricella discussed how the context in which the users engage media can influence its effects. She provided examples of using social media for hours alone in your room in comparison to looking at social media with a parent or peer to talk about experiences or events.
Interested in having TEC Center speak at an event? Email TEC Center’s Director, Alexis Lauricella, PhD, at email@example.com