FACULTY OF APPLIED AND COMPUTER SCIENCES
INFORMATION & COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY DEPARTMENT
Research Proposal: Explore how social media triggers “iDisorder” amongst the youth in SA.
Student number: 213103613
Basic Terms and Concepts
FOMO is an Acronym for Fear of missing out
Mirage is when there is an optical illusion caused by atmospheric conditions.
Virtual living a computer based reality that is a miniature of the real world.
Forbes under 30 Africa is a list of young people who make or have potential of making x amount of money before they hit thirty.
Folks means people in general.
The many faced god is a concept known for a person becoming different people at the same time.
Summa cum laude when an individual graduates with the highest distinction.
Catfishing when someone lures you into an online relationship by creating a fake profile and presenting a different persona as in real life.
Preadolescent – pre-teen or tween, is a stage of human development following early childhood and preceding adolescence between the ages 10–13 years.
Adolescent – A young person in the development stages of being an adult.
Youth – From the South Africa’s National Youth Commission Act, 1996, defines the term “youth” as those individuals who are aged from 14 to 35 years.
Social Media is a collection of websites and applications that allow users to create, interact and share content with one another.
IGeneration is a generation or a collective of individuals aged 18 to 30 who have been bought up in a technological world.
Six Degrees – Social network services site named after the six degrees of separation concept which lasted from 1997-2000.
Myspace – Social networking site that enables user to create web pages, create profiles, blogs as means of interacting with each other.
Introduction ; Background
“iDisorder” is when the human brain is disrupted from its normal functioning; as a result, the brain goes through a wave of confusion having an inability to process data due to the daily over exposure or use of the internet and its social platforms which causes humans to experience signs of psychological disorders such as depression, stress, anxiety, loneliness, insomnia, narcissism and FOMO. Despite the aforementioned signs, an addictive behaviour compels the constant urge to be present in this virtual world called the Internet.
Social media is a collection of applications such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snap chat etc. which are used as a communication medium, by bringing the world together with just a click of a button, from status updates, to live chats, to posting a picture which you believe could get you more “likes” or even gain you a following or letting it go down in the DMs or just keeping up to date and checking the latest #trends. The use of social media by youth (preadolescents and adolescents) continues to increase across the world on a yearly basis (Wood, Bukowski ; Lis, 2015). Although research has largely focused on the same set of variables in exploring Internet and problematic Internet use, the quantity of studies has noticeably grown since 2000(Bozoglan, Demirer, ; Sahin, 2013; Widyanton ; Griffiths, 2009).
A mirage is a concept used to describe the illusion of seeing water from a distance usually experienced in a desert which is a perfect depiction of how social networking triggers psychological disorders. Virtual living has allowed the youth to come alive in ways unimaginable. The IGeneration are technologically advanced, and they jump to any opportunity to communicate. Comparison has become a norm Mark Zuckerberg; Malala Yousafazi, Forbes under 30 Africa these guys have set the bar so high putting a ridiculous amount of pressure on the IGeneration to figure it all out before they fit 25. Getting the perfect internship, gaining over a 1000K following, getting over 250 video views, graduating summa cum laude, landing your first big client as an entrepreneur how can heart palpitations not rise? It is a jungle and everyone is measuring themselves with everyone, and whether you have hit what is called a climax of success. If it’s not on the net it never happened FOMO takes over. To the lonely folks out there who grew up with low self-esteem this world has become heaven allowing you to be the many faced god opening channels of victimized catfishing. Click, click, selfie the South African youth is double tapping their lives away regardless of ethnic background, socioeconomic status and gender the more technological exposed the likely to have this “iDisorder”.
Statement of Research Problem
There has been an increased concern over the years regarding the relationship between social media use and psychological disorders. Research has shown that there is a connection between the increased social media use amongst the youth in SA and the increase in psychological disorders in the same population group, but there has always been blurred lines on how social media triggers these disorders. According to CITATION AME14 l 7177 (STRICKLAND, 2014 ) studies show the link between social media use and the negative impact it has on the youth such as depression, stress, anxiety, loneliness, narcissism, and FOMO.
Social media has become a very popular tool that is mostly accessible to everyone but the youth are the most active users of these platforms, according to CITATION AME14 l 7177 (STRICKLAND, 2014 ) 84% of 18-29 year olds are on Facebook, more than any other age group.
Motivations of social media use
CITATION AME14 l 7177 (STRICKLAND, 2014 ) States that a recent neuropsychological research could hold only one answer as to why so many people use social media: “the self-disclosure one would engage in on social media activates the intrinsic reward system of the brain in much the same way as powerful primary rewards such as food and sex.” Also CITATION AME14 l 7177 (STRICKLAND, 2014 ) says that “people use social media for two reasons a need to belong and self-presentation.”
With the increase of social media use and internet experience and psychological heath tracking CITATION AME14 l 7177 (STRICKLAND, 2014 ) states that research has concluded that the greater use of the Internet was associated with more psychological disorder signs. In 2012, Rosen, Cheever, and Carrier than coined the term “iDisorder” which is defined as the negative relationship between technology use and psychological health.
This study is therefore aimed at exploring how social media triggers “iDisorder” amongst the youth in SA.
The current situation is that we have a vast number of youth who are technological advanced and social media addicts and a majority of them are gadget junkies who possess more than one device as a result have internet connection which enable them to have multiple social media application accounts they go from one platforms to another with just second in a day, just to check the happenings, respond to messages and post a tweet. With the advancement of smart phones all you need is to just get notifications from these apps allowing you to read them without even going on the actual sites.
Social media is without a shadow of a doubt addictive not only that it attracts users who are more anxious, depressed and lonely. Individuals who live with the idea that life is constantly happening and they are not there to experience it. This study is a researchable problem because one of the perks of social media and I speak of the involvement in a negative connation is a result of physical illnesses which could potential lend people in the hospital.
Social media is known as “forms of electronic communication” (Websites for social networking) which enable users to create online profiles and share information; whether it is personal messages, ideas or any other content (such as videos) on the communities they have created CITATION AME14 l 7177 (STRICKLAND, 2014 ).
Aims and Objectives
To identify a factor/s triggering “IDisorder” amongst the youth in SA.
To investigate what are these “IDisorder.”
To investigate if social media does contribute to a vast number of psychological disorders amongst its younger users and if so.
To investigate how does social media cause these psychological disorders?
What are the factor/s triggering “IDisorder” amongst the youth in SA?
What are “IDisorders?”
Does social media contribute to a vast number of psychological disorders amongst its younger users?
If so how does social media cause these psychological disorders?
Research design and Methodology
The researcher will use both qualitative and quantitative research approaches for gathering data from the SA youth. According to CITATION Sof99 l 7177 (Sofaer, 1999), qualitative methods help provide rich descriptions of phenomena. They enhance understanding of the context of events as well as the events themselves and, according to, (Frenzel, 2014), a quantitative research can thus be seen as a research strategy that emphasizes quantification in the collection and analysis of data. The key to producing good research is in the quality of data you have gathered.
According to (Gill et al., 2008:291) asserts that there are three fundamental types of research interviews: structured, semi-structured and unstructured. On the basis of unstructured interview, the researcher will go around randomly seeking a youth to interview and the opening question of this particular interview will be ‘Can you tell me about your experience on social media?’ and the interview will progress gradually based on the initial response to the question. For semi-structured interview key questions will be defined in order to identify the area of focus, questions that can be asked can be ‘What do you mostly use social media for?’ ‘Identify under what circumstances do you find your highest rate or consumption of social media’?
According to (Frenzel. et al., 2014), a questionnaire often uses closed-ended questions, checklists and rating scales. He, (Frenzel. et al., 2008), also says that these devices are very useful because they simply and quantify responses, and people are usually more willing to tick boxes than they are to write or type out long answers.The researcher will conduct a questionnaire in which a list of predetermined questions will be asked to the youth which will be posted online via different platforms where the youth will be requested to give answers to those questions. According to (Frenzel. et al., 2014), they are several advantages of using questionnaires namely: they are relatively inexpensive, you can collect a lot of data from an individual respondent at any time, it is less time consuming. The other advantage is that the data can be standardized. The disadvantage of using a questionnaire is that they tend to be artificial and potentially, superficial, (Frenzel. et al., 2014).
The researcher will conduct a survey based on social media consumption time spent on a daily basis, the reason why the user uses the platforms, how social media affects the users whether on a positive aspect or negative.
Focus groups is another method the researcher will use by gathering a number of youths from different ethic, gender backgrounds to generate information from a collective perspective and the meaning behind those perspective (Gill et al., 208) claims that a focus group is a group discussion on a particular topic organised for research purposes.
Observations is another method in which the researcher will conduct to check from a daily basis how many users based on the people they follow on the particular platform e.g. tweet or post anything that might be psychologically related to the aforementioned disorders.
Size of Sampling
Sampling is a selection of elements from a population and is used to make statements about the whole population, according to (Blaike, N., 2003). There are several methods of sampling techniques namely: simple random sampling, systematic sampling, stratified sampling and cluster sampling. However, on this study of exploring how social media triggers IDisorder amongst the youth in SA a simple random sampling will be used as a sampling strategy/technique. According to CITATION Fre14 l 7177 (Frenzel, D, & B, 2014), simple random sampling is the most basic type of sampling method. It can be used when each element of the population has the same and equal chance of being selected to be part of the sample. Vaal University of Technology students are the participants on this study. Random sampling was used in the study to enable each and every individual the equal probability of being selected from the population.
Due to the magnitude of this research the researcher has decided to include all gender and ethnic backgrounds and will only focus on the VUT main campus students which will only be limited to 100 students.
With regards to data capturing the researcher has considered some ethics which will be listed as follows:
Both research methodologies will not be bias as it will include all ethnic backgrounds and genders.
The questionnaires, surveys that will be posted online will not require any personal information e.g. giving away of username and password of the different platforms.
The questions will not be harmful or disrespect the individuals that will be answering the questions.
The focus groups and interviews will ensure a safe space for all individuals who will participate.
All information given by the respective individuals will be private and will not in any way be used against them under any circumstance.
This study will focus mainly on VUT students to assist in regards to data capturing, focus groups, and interviews.
Only 100 young people from different social platforms will be considered to participate in the survey or questionnaire that will be posted online to help make it easier to evaluate and study the answers given.
Based on the manner in which the survey and questionnaires will be there might be a limitation in terms of data and internet access to view the completed surveys and questionnaires.
Time to review the questionnaires and surveys.
Significance of the research
The significance of this research is that it might serve as an awareness to a group of individuals particularly the focus group whom in this case study are the youth of SA to help them understand the power that social media has and the negative impact it may potential have on their health. By so doing this research will help them to understand why it is important that their social media intake or rather participation is controlled and possibly limited to help reduce triggering the aforementioned psychological disorders.
This study was about exploring how social media triggers “iDisorder” amongst the youth in SA, and how social media links with the negative impact of psychological disorders such as depression, stress anxiety, loneliness, narcissism and FOMO. It also shows why the youth is the most predominantly active population group that uses social media platforms and the reasons why they use social media as a networking communication tool. The main objective of this research is to identify factor/s that trigger “iDisorder” amongst the youth in SA, which will help us answer the main question as to what are these factor/s that trigger “iDisorder” amongst the youth in SA. The researcher of this study will use both qualitative and quantitative methods to help conduct this research because the key to producing a good research is in the amount of data you have gathered. Data tools that will be used in this study are interviews, questionnaires, focus groups and surveys. Ethical considerations are also covered to make use that this study does not in any way cause harm to the participants of the study and the delimitations will assist in identifying the limits that this study will not be able to accommodate. So this research will potentially create an awareness to a group of individuals particularly the youth of SA, to help them understand the power that social media has and the negative impact it may potential have on them and their health.