Social Monster?: How Social Media is shaping our youth.

By Matthew Dinn

Annotated Bibliography

Week Two

Ginsberg, David, and Burke, Moira. "Hard Questions: Is Spending Time on Social Media Bad for Us?" Facebook Newsroom, Facebook, 15 Dec. 2017,

This primary popular source is written by researchers of arguably the defining social media platform; Facebook, who characterize their domain as being potentially harmful. This includes referencing an experiment conducted by the University of Michigan, which concluded that research subjected students who read Facebook posts for ten minutes reported worse moods at the end of the day, than those who did not. While the transparency of that acknowledgment is admirable, the article does balance this with a multitude of positive reasons for utilizing their platform, that would be nuanced, if they didn't feel so self-serving.  However, this piece remains pertinent to my research, because it is a popular social media site illuminating many of the pros and cons of the platform, specifically related to millennials use of them, based on their University student referenced research studies.

Udorie, June Eric. “Social media is harming the mental health of teenagers. The state has to act | ” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 16 Sep. 2015,

This secondary popular source is an opinion piece that details the pressures to conform that teenagers, specifically girls in the United Kingdom, are facing within the social media landscape. Udorie’s piece discusses possible connective tissues between teenager’s ostensive necessity to be conjoined with these platforms and its potentially resulting detrimental impact on their mental health. Udorie suggests possible government reform, so to allow teenagers to find a harmonious balance in their lives. While this opinion piece details the trials and tribulations of youth in a different continent, because social media is a global community, I believe it is imperative to research this topic through a global contextualization. Additionally, it may prove integral to differentiate between social media's impact on young men and women.

Week Three

"Association Between Daily Use of Social Media and Mental Health Among Students in Ontario." The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, vol. 16, no. 2, June 2015,

This secondary popular source is an eBulletin that references research of Ontario based students in Grades 7 through 12, conducted by The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health's Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey. The organization's survey attempted to formulate a connection between students' social media use, and their mental health. According to the survey, students who reported use of social media of, or in excess, of two hours per day, were far more likely to rate their mental health lower, than those who did not. This is of intrigue to my research, because it implies a statistical connection between social media and negative impact on youth, specifically Canadians. However, I would like to further this statistical connection in future bibliographic readings by examining whether it is the social media platforms themselves causing students' poor mental health, or whether the platforms are an escapism for youth already suffering from mental health related issues. 

Matthew, D Luttig, and Cohen, J. Cathy. “How social media helps young people - especially minorities and the poor - get politically engaged.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 9 Sept. 2016,

This primary popular source is a report by the Washington Post, concluding that social media has allowed millennials, especially those historically disenfranchised, such as minority groups and the poor, to better engage politically.  Their research concludes that young people of colour are the biggest consumers of new, online forms of media. Additionally, it concluded that those from disadvantaged socioeconomic households were more likely to receive their political information from social media platforms, in comparison to those from households with a greater wealth of available resources. This report does an excellent job of detailing social media’s potential for positive impact and change, especially within youth, if used beneficially. Additionally, the disenfranchised are often most in need of enacting change on behalf of themselves, so this a valuable resource to utilize as proof of social media's viability in that respect

Week Four

Martin, Florence, et al. “Middle School Students’ Social Media Use.” Journal of Educational Technology & Society, vol. 21, no. 1, 2018, pp. 213–224. JSTOR,

This primary scholarly source is a peer-reviewed journal that takes a researched and critical based approach, to show how social media affects middle school students. Their research, through questions directed towards middle school students, led them to suggesting students gain "digital citizenship" through their curriculum, enabling themselves to be more cognizant of the dangers of social media use.  This source is of intrigue to my episode, because in the very first paragraph of its introduction, it acknowledges the benefits of youth-based social media use, such as; connection for collaborative learning with fellow students, as well as political and volunteered oriented events. Thus, this source is a useful tool for examining the duality of social media, and how its use is entirely dependent on its user.

Ogrodnik, Irene. "How Canada's youth are using social media to put an end to bullying." Global News, 25 Nov. 2014,

This secondary popular source details initiatives established by Canadians activists and organizers attempting to create greater awareness of strategies to counteract bullying and cyberbullying in youth, through social media. The organizers and activists point towards the sheer volume of young people active on social media as the reason for utilizing the platform. Much like last week's reference of youth utilizing social media for political activism, this article is also emblematic of how youth can utilize social media positively. Bullying, like divisive political rhetoric, can often be fostered online, so why not use that very platform to counteract it? If youth can gain solidarity with each other and commit to combating negativity through fostering positive discussion on social media platforms, the world stands to benefit immensely. 

Week Five

Turcotte, Martin. "Political participation and civic engagement in youth." Statistics Canada, 7 Oct. 2015,

This government documented source details how, despite youth in Canada being politically engaged through various platforms, are not voting at the rate of older age brackets. This engagement includes: being members of politically active groups, signing petitions, and participating in demonstrations and marches. This relates well to my Week Three source from the Washington Post, which suggested social media is allowing youth to better engage in political activism. If youth are becoming more cognizant and engaged politically because of social media, then the coinciding effect should be greater voter turnout. The fact this resource suggests that this is empirically not the case is simultaneously intriguing and frustrating. I should find source(s) in the weeks to come, that may shed light onto this paradox.

Rice, Eric, and Barman-Adhikari, Anamika. "Internet and Social Media Use as a Resource Among Homeless Youth.*" Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 9 Oct. 2013

This primary scholarly source is a peer-reviewed journal that details how homeless youth in the United States of America are utilizing social media as a resource to improve their quality of life. This includes searching for both housing and employment. While not specifically related to Canada, I continue to find it useful to research my topic within a global context, since social media is a global community. Much like my other source for this week, it is tied to much of the knowledge gleaned from my Week Three source from the Washington Post. Like that source, this one also details how social media is helping the disadvantaged. 

Week Six

Robertson, Kate. "Dear Bell, let's talk about how you're part of the mental health problem." Now Toronto, 25 Jan. 2018,

This secondary popular source is an opinion piece written by Kate Robertson, who feels as though the annual Bell Let's Talk campaign, which attempts to help combat and lessen the stigma of mental illness in Canada, is a contradiction. Robertson believes this because the campaign is initiated through a platform which she believes, and her research supports, is part of the problem; social media. The Bell Let's Talk campaign has ostensibly become an undeniable national success, but Robertson's argument is an intriguing one, which I had not previously considered. As frequently well documented, research has linked the modern technology which Bell sells, especially to youth, with mental health related issues. Additionally, it seems to support the argument of social media and modern technology representing a less fully engaged form of activism, often referred to as slacktivism, which I will attempt to explore further in the coming weeks.

Meyer, Robinson. "The Righteous Anger of the Parkland Shooting's Teen Survivors." The Atlantic, 17 Feb. 2018,

This secondary popular source discusses the most recent in a long line of school shootings in the United States, this time in Parkland, Florida, and the surviving students reaction to it, specifically through Twitter. The piece includes many tweets from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students recounting their harrowing experiences and relaying their righteous indignation towards the lack of gun control reform being implemented by their government. This is a timely example and examination of how youth can utilize social media platforms to engage in topical discussions and attempt to enact change in a world which they will soon be leading. The students in Parkland are emblematic of the type of bravery and refusal to be silenced that can allow youth to create tectonic shifts in society, through social media platforms. Because my research is focused on an evolving platform and its use by an evolving generation, it is paramount that I continue to find relevant contemporary moments where it plays a vital role. 

Week Seven

Jacquemin, Stephen J., et al. “Twitter in the Higher Education Classroom: A Student and Faculty Assessment of Use and Perception.” Journal of College Science Teaching, vol. 43, no. 6, 2014, pp. 22–27. JSTOR,

This primary peer reviewed source assesses the viability of integrating social media, specifically Twitter, into post-secondary curriculums. This source consulted with Undergraduate, Graduate, and Faculty members in attempt to glean insight as to whether such an integration would be beneficial to all parties. The source’s survey revealed that while most post-secondary education participants acknowledge the breadth of information social media provides, most were unsure if, and how, an integration would be both appropriate and possible. Much of the results within this source were contingent on the various participants’ perception of social media as either a potential professional resource, or a leisurely pastime. The source concluded that social media’s contemporary prominence makes it a tool that should be integrated into classrooms, pending appropriate vetting processes being implemented. In relation to my episode, the continued accentuation of post-secondary school’s necessity for youth to gain prospective employment has subsequently resulted in annual incremental gains in enrollment. Additionally, social media’s prominence has allowed youth to consume types of news and information that they might otherwise not seek out. Therefore, it would seem a natural evolution within post-secondary education to develop clearly defined vetting processes, to determine if integrating social media into specific disciplines would allow for increased student engagement.

Zeilinger, Julie. "The #MeToo Movement Is Affecting Men Too." MTV News, 29 Jan. 2018,

This secondary popular source dissects how the #MeToo movement is altering the way young men behave and think in relation to romantic relationships. This source surveyed 1800 young people and concluded that the wake of the #MeToo movement has resulted in young men more thoroughly contemplating their past, present, and future behavior, as well as young women noticing a shift in young men's behavior. This is an important and ongoing topical conversation that has indelibly ingratiated itself into online conversations among youth. Therefore, for my research and episode, it is integral to contextualize how a movement that's namesake was initiated as a social media hashtag to implement future change, is actually affecting those who will lead the future.

Week Eight

Chiweshe, Manase Kudzai. “Social Networks as Anti-Revolutionary Forces: Facebook and Political Apathy among Youth in Urban Harare, Zimbabwe.” Africa Development / Afrique Et Développement, vol. 42, no. 2, 2017, pp. 129–147. JSTOR,

This primary scholarly source is a journal which combats the Arab Spring's notion that social media can be an organizing force capable of enacting social change among youth. They argue that social media, specifically among youth in Zimbabwe, is not a tool or platform utilized for discussing socially and politically pressing issues. They arrived at this conclusion through a survey among youth in Zimbabwe. Their survey revealed that only 6% of their participants comment on political issues on Facebook, and even fewer, 2%, post political messages on their profile page. The term "clicktivism", which I had referenced in a previous week, is invoked frequently as part of the argument for the type of political engagement that this journal entry believes youth engage in. This journal continues my research and exploration into the global community that the Internet creates, and also, my topic's more skeptic point of view, through the prism of a scholarly outlet.

Lim, Niel Niño. “Novel or Novice: Exploring the Contextual Realities of Youth Political Participation in the Age of Social Media.” Philippine Sociological Review, vol. 57, 2009, pp. 61–78. JSTOR,

This primary scholarly source is a peer reviewed journal, which while slightly outdated, raises many pertinent and prescient points in relation to my topic. Specifically, this journal entry discusses how one's perception of social media is the decisive factor in how one views its capacity for political and social change. The journal argues an appreciation of social media's ability to represent a new medium and mode of dissent, specifically for youth, is a necessity. While this journal was written in 2009, it argues on behalf of many of social media's beneficial attributes that have only entirely crystallizied themselves recently; whether it be the reaction to Donald Trump's political campaign, the #MeToo movement, or youth such as those in Parkland, attempting to start a conversation leading to stricter gun reform laws.


Episode Pitch:

This is the source for the opinion piece which spurred my initial interest in my topic and is referenced in my Episode Pitch:

Potarazu, Sreedhar. “Is social media ruining our kids? (Opinion).” CNN, Cable News Network, 22 Oct. 2015,

Episode Pitch Transcript:

Social Monster: How social media is shaping our youth. A podcast pitch by Matthew Dinn.

The damaging and reverberating effects that social media can implant onto the minds of youth has been detailed ad nauseum. In October 2015, for CNN, Dr. Sreedhar Potarazu published an opinion piece pointedly titled “Is social media ruining our kids?” There are some admittedly alarming statistics included in the piece, such as; 92% of teenagers are active online daily and 54% of University students have admitted to experiencing overwhelming anxiety. To be clear, these are statistics which warrant entirely valid concern; social media presents an all-consuming platform that has the potential to negatively infiltrate the minds of our youth. However, by constantly reinforcing these drawbacks, are we failing to make our youth aware of how social media can be shaped and utilized positively? Additionally, are these statistics even necessarily mutually exclusive in the way we assume they are? As in, are students necessarily reporting higher anxiety rates because of their social media use, or are they using social media as an escape from whatever is fueling their anxiety? Frankly, I have no idea, and the answers may well vary, but it is a question I have not seen raised or dissected with any thoroughness. Therefore, I would like to raise this question: Can there be a way to ensure our youth is both cognizant of the potential damages, while also reaping the potential rewards that social media has to offer? We are at the precipice of a divisive sociopolitical era where politicians are gaining power through racist, xenophobic, and sexist rhetoric. Ultimately, the internet, and specifically social media, is a vast and seemingly infinite space. Therefore, should it not stand to reason that our view on social media’s impact match this wealth of space? My goal is to find the nuance in an increasingly one-sided debate