Young people's views regarding participation in mental health and wellbeing research through social media

About the Course:

Social media is a central component in the lives of many young people, and provides innovative potential to conduct research among this population. Ethical issues around online research have been subject to much debate, yet young people have seldom been consulted to provide a youth perspective and voice. Eight (8) focus groups involving 48 Grade 9 Western Australian secondary school students aged 13-14 years were held in 2012, to investigate how young people perceive the feasibility and acceptability of social media when used as a research tool to investigate various issues relevant to their mental health and wellbeing. Whilst young people recognise many benefits of researchers using social media in this way, such as its relevance, innovation and accessibility, there were salient issues of privacy, consent, and practicality that require careful negotiation. There is a need for continued exploration and scientific debate of the moral and ethical implications of using social media for research, to help ensure this is employed in an appropriate and effective way that is respectful of and sensitive to the needs and views of young people.

Journal/Publisher:

The International Journal of Emotional Education

Publication Date:

Volume 7, Number1, April 2015

Authors

Helen Monks; Patricia Cardoso; Alana Papageorgiou; Catherine Carolan; Leesa Costello; Laura Thomas

About the Authors:

Helen Monks a PhD Candidate within the School of Exercise and Health Sciences at Edith Cowan University. She has worked in the area of health promotion for the past eight years, focusing specifically on the promotion of mental health, including the reduction of school-based bullying through bystander intervention.

Patricia Cardoso is a Lecturer in Public Health within the Edith Cowas University School of Exercise and Health Sciences.

Catherine Carolan is a project coordinator, Edith Cowan University.

Dr. Leesa Costello is a Senior Lecturer in Public Health within the School of Exercise and Health Sciences.

Dr. Thomas is Deputy Head, Child Health Promotion Research Centre, Edith Cowan University, Western Australia.

Recommended For:

Mental health practitioners and researchers using social media in the collection of social science research data, especially as it relates to teens and yourng adults. In addition, those professionals seeking timely information concerning the practical and ethical challenges, confidentially concerns, and consent issues, attendant to such data collection methodologies.

Course Objectives:

  1. To identify fundamental issues associated with online research focused on adolescents and young adults, and to make decisions about the use of social media as a research tool among this population when there are no clear ethical boundaries present.

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