Social Media - A social problem?

Student thesis: Master Thesis and HD Thesis

  • Jonas Trytek Vestrup
  • Miki Pau Otkjær
4. term, Social Work, Master (Master Programme)
In this thesis the goal has been to examine whether social media leads to an added pressure for young Danish people, and whether it might lead to a worsening in their mental health.
In the thesis we have a preunderstanding largely based on critical theory and surveys showing that the mental health overall is worsening for Danish youth. According to the empirical and theoretical preunderstanding this is mainly due to the development of individualisation and pressure for performance. We further want to show whether the social media can be seen as contributing to these factors.
To do this we have interviewed 6 young Danish people and analysed their opinions using critical theory. We have hereby tested and expanded our preunderstanding.
To do it adequately we have first researched what the social media means to the youth and how they use them. Second; how the social media affects their self-representation and ideals. Third and finally; whether the usage of social media leads to pressure for the youth and can be thought to lead to a worsening in their mental health
Our main findings include; that it is expected for the young people to be accessible at all times. That the self-representation mostly is made to show a successful image, and that the understanding of recognition, regarding social media, is an understanding based on quid pro quo principles, and something that you have to earn. This leads to a series of different types of pressure felt by the young people. The accessibility and usage of social media at all times leads to a pressure of time and a feeling that the time is disappearing. The twisted self-representation can lead to pressure from comparing oneself to the successful images of others and further lead to at pressure for performance. This pressure is two-fold. It is both felt from being constantly exposed to other peoples successful self-representation and makes one doubt oneself, and is also pressing a lot of young people to create a successful self-representation of themselves. Furthermore misunderstandings can easily occur on social media and this can also lead to a feeling of pressure.
These different types of pressure can be thought to possibly lead to a worsening in the mental health for the Danish youth. The generative mechanisms of these social problems are on a societal level and possible solutions should therefore also be aimed here.
Publication date2019
Number of pages79
ID: 304656291