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Polygence Scholar2023
Melody Zhang's profile

Melody Zhang

Fremont Christian High SchoolClass of 2023Fremont, California

About

Hello! My name is Melody Zhang, and my Polygence project is on how social media impacts the mental health of adolescents. I chose to work on this project because I hold a particular interest in psychology, especially regarding the new generation and the parallel rise of the digital age. After my project is complete, I would like to share it as an illustrated e-journal, free to read and learn all about the interesting phenomenon packed within.

Projects

  • "How does social media impact the mental health of adolescents?" with mentor Rachel (Jan. 25, 2023)

Melody's Symposium Presentation

Project Portfolio

How does social media impact the mental health of adolescents?

Started Mar. 23, 2022

Portfolio item's cover image

Abstract or project description

With the 21st century comes the age of technology, wherein the Internet has become a perpetual, pervasive presence. Youth in particular are heavily influenced by the constant exposure to digital technology, evidenced especially by their relationship with social media, which in turn seeps into their mental health. The effect on mental health is not purely black-and-white good or bad; rather, it is a wide expanse of grey area. Social media use has been found to parallel increases in depression, anxiety, and suicide rates, but it can also be utilized to combat these very things by allowing teens to consume entertainment, indulge in escapism, inspire healthy lifestyles, and forge new friendships.

The COVID-19 pandemic has only amplified the rate of social media interaction; quarantined in isolation, people find a lifeline to the outside world through their online relationships and activities.

This project will aim to explore and describe these nuanced dynamics and relationships between social media and adolescents, taking the form of a zine comprised of textual research and graphic illustrations. Through conducting comprehensive literature review, this paper will aim to describe and synthesize physical, emotional, behavioral, and neurobiological patterns at a population level.

Some key questions this paper will explore are: How can online interactions result in either fortuitous friendships or toxic relationships? How can information be shared or misinterpreted? How can social media promote healthy or unhealthy lifestyles? How can media creation and consumption both inspire and demotivate people? Should social media in its entirety be fully embraced or discarded?

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