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Uses of Social Media in Public Transportation (2012)

Chapter: chapter two - literature review: overview of social media.

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7 This chapter presents an overview of social media, based pri- marily on findings from the literature review. It includes a brief description of social media, highlights how government uses social media, presents the demographics of social media users, and describes approaches to measuring the impacts of these applications. What are Social Media? Social media is a term that refers to a number of web-based applications through which users interact with one another. Interactivity is what distinguishes social networking sites from traditional (or “static”) websites. Social media applica- tions encourage users to share their experiences, opinions, knowledge, and sometimes their locations. These connections can contribute to a sense of engagement or loyalty among social media users. Figure 2 compares the characteristics of traditional media and social media. As the figure shows, traditional media approaches are centralized and focus on delivering one or more messages to customers. Social media methods are collaborative and rely on sharing information and soliciting feedback for their effectiveness. Using traditional media—distributing press releases, granting interviews, etc.— the organization tries to control the message. Using social media, such as YouTube and Twitter, organizations can post information that individuals can share, comment on, and sometimes modify (1). Following are examples of social media platforms commonly used by transit agencies. All quotations from social media sites were accessed from public posts between July 2010 and June 2011. Sources include,, and Spelling and typographical errors were corrected. • Blogs, or web logs, where individuals or organizations post commentary or news, frequently on a particular topic, and often invite comments and feedback. The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Author- ity (LA Metro) publishes a daily blog called The Source to provide news and stories of interest to its riders; El Pasajero is the agency’s companion Spanish-language blog. • Social and professional networking sites that encour- age members to connect with one another, such as Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, and GovLoop. Many transit properties maintain a Facebook page to provide service information and updates, including LANTA, DART, and Community Transit in Everett, Washington. • Micro-blogging sites, primarily Twitter, which allow users to post comments and web links in a format limited to 140 characters. Some transit agencies, such as the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Author- ity (WMATA), find Twitter especially well suited for providing real-time service updates, while Vancouver’s TransLink uses the platform to provide customer service. • Media- and document-sharing sites where members post and share video clips (YouTube), documents (Scribd), and photographs (Flickr). DART makes exten- sive use of YouTube to build community support for its services, whereas MTA maintains an image library on Flickr for media use. LA Metro’s Dorothy Peyton Gray Transportation Library and Archive maintains a collec- tion of historic planning documents on Scribd. • Geolocation applications, such as Foursquare, enable users to share their location with other members of their social network and to earn virtual “badges” for checking into sites. Both BART and TransLink have collaborated with Foursquare to develop transit-specific badges for their riders. A glossary of social media terms can be found at the end of this report. GovernMent USe of Social Media Transit agencies are not alone in their use of social media. Agencies and officials at all levels of government, from city hall to the White House, use social media. According to the Human Capital Institute, 66% of government agencies used some form of social networking in 2009, and 65% of those used more than one tool. LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter were the most commonly used web-based tools among these agencies (2). The Urban Transportation Monitor surveyed transporta- tion organizations about their use of social media (3). Asked what social media platforms they used, about half of the UTM respondents named Facebook (54%) and Twitter (51%); 37% used YouTube. Just over half (51%) said they used another application. Twitter was most commonly used for brief communications and service updates. Facebook was used for announcements and service updates, but also for meet- ing notices, community-building, and branding. YouTube videos covered a wide range of topics, including how-to-ride chapter two literatUre revieW: overvieW of Social Media

8 Officials from the 43 organizations responding to the UTM survey cited multiple reasons for using social media. Survey responses included: (1) engaging customers at a low cost to the agency; (2) keeping stakeholders up to date about service issues, planning, and other time-sensitive informa- tion; (3) allowing customers to bypass agency bureaucracy; (4) making the agency appear more “hip” when communicat- ing with a large student population; and (5) reaching people where they are already communicating rather than requiring them to visit the agency website for information. Among transit agencies, reasons for using social media typically fall into five broad categories, which are summarized here. Figure 3 illustrates some examples. timely Updates Social media provide agencies with an unparalleled oppor- tunity to share information with their customers, often in real-time. Twitter is exceptionally well suited to providing service alerts, and many transit operators use it for this purpose. Blogs and Facebook also allow organizations to update readers about a board meeting, a fare increase, or a new route. For example, the Toronto Transit Commission uses Twitter to relay service updates, whereas MTA uses Twitter to remind the public about scheduled board meetings and to direct them to a live webcast. Public information Many transit organizations use social media to provide general information about services, fares, and long-range planning projects. For example, the Regional Transportation Commis- sion of Southern Nevada posted a YouTube video to showcase the features of its new fleet of double-decker buses, and the Utah Transit Authority is one of several agencies to use social media to highlight local destinations and events that can be reached by transit. At the federal level, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood uses Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and his Fast Lane blog to provide information about department initiatives; periodically he answers constituent questions about federal transportation policy through YouTube. LA Metro sets up Facebook pages for specific long-range projects and sends out live tweets during public meetings. citizen engagement Transportation organizations have taken advantage of the interactive aspects of social media to connect with their cus- tomers in an informal way. These connections can take many forms, but the goals are the same: to reach out to riders and stakeholders and to build support. For example, TransLink ini- tially used Facebook to engage its riders in a contest to name the agency’s new fare card, and Metro Transit St. Louis posts photographs of community events, such as a bus-painting day at a local elementary school, on its Flickr page. information, project updates, agency promotions, and agency stories and testimonials. Organizations used blogs to promote more in-depth discussion, while LinkedIn was used for net- working and recruiting purposes. Why USe Social Media? HCI reports that government agencies at the state, federal, and local levels use social networking for a wide range of pur- poses, including employee learning and development (44%), communications and public relations (44%), recruiting (38%), and support functions such as human relations, training, and finance (35%). The National Association of State Chief Infor- mation Officers (NASCIO) surveyed U.S. states and territo- ries about their use of social media (4). Among 43 agencies responding to the survey, the primary reasons for using social media cited include citizen engagement (98%) and public information and outreach (93%). More than half of the agen- cies responding also selected open government (67%) and business engagement (54%) as important goals. NASCIO’s survey indicated that many government organizations rou- tinely use social media for public safety and emergency noti- fications, although the survey did not specifically cover this application. A survey conducted for FHWA had similar find- ings (5). State departments of transportation reported using Web 2.0 technologies to provide information and to build communities around transportation issues. A few agencies also used collaborative Web 2.0 apps such as mashups, wikis, Sharepoint sites, Google groups, and Google documents for planning and administration. FIGURE 2 Comparison of traditional media and social media. Source: Funk/Levis & Associates.

9 employee recognition Some organizations use social networking for recognizing employees and recruiting new hires. In Virginia, Hampton Roads Transit set up a LinkedIn site that allows current employees to connect with one another and enables potential employees to learn more about the organization, whereas Tulsa Transit has used Twitter to announce job openings. In Texas, the Corpus Christi Regional Transportation Author- ity used Facebook to recognize a long-time employee on his retirement, and DART has created a series of videos for its YouTube channel that feature interviews with agency staff. entertainment Lastly, social media can be fun. Agencies often use social media to put a human face on what can sometimes seem like an impenetrable bureaucracy, and they entertain their riders through songs, videos, and contests. New York’s Long Island Rail Road (LIRR), among other agencies, uses YouTube to share safety information. LIRR’s The Gap Rap is a music video starring in-house talent and local fifth-graders that reminds rid- ers to “Watch the gap” when boarding or alighting trains; in a similar vein, the Transit Authority of River City posted a rap video to show Louisville bus riders how to use a bicycle rack. FIGURE 3 Examples of transit-related social media sites.

10 characteriSticS of Social Media USerS The characteristics of social media users are not yet well docu- mented and questions remain about whether social media plat- forms can bridge the digital divide, or the gap between people who have access to information technology (IT) and those who do not. Although not conclusive, research suggests that social media attract users from multiple demographic categories, as summarized here. age and Gender In 2010, 61% of online Americans used social networking sites (e.g., Facebook and LinkedIn)—up from 46% just the year before—and 17% used Twitter. Although the vast major- ity of adults aged 18 to 29 were social networkers (86%), so were nearly half of those aged 50 to 64 (47%) and one-quarter of those 65 and over (26%). Moreover, older users are out- pacing younger adults in their adoption of social media. The number of Internet users aged 50 to 64 who used a social net- working site grew 88% between 2009 and 2010, and the num- ber of users aged 65 or over doubled. In contrast, the growth rate for those aged 18 to 29 was 13% (6). Although part of the rapid growth rate for older users can be attributed to their smaller representation in the social space, this trend is still noteworthy. Consistent with these findings, nearly half of Americans maintained a personal profile on at least one social networking site in 2010, which was double the proportion recorded just two years earlier. More than three of four teenagers and adults aged 18 to 24 had an online personal profile in 2010, as did 13% of those aged 65 and over (7) (see Figure 4). Based on statistics compiled for 19 social networking sites, the average social networker is 37 years old; adults aged 35 to 44 make up the single largest group of social networkers (25% of site visitors). Adults 45 to 54 and 25 to 34 are also major online networkers, comprising 19% and 18% of site visitors, respec- tively (see Figure 5). Age distribution varies by site and tends to reflect each platform’s target market. The average Facebook user is said to be 38 years old and the average Twitter user is 39 years old. Business-oriented LinkedIn attracts older users, with an average age of 44, and sites such as MySpace appeal to younger visitors (average age is 31 years old) (8). Most social networking sites have more female users than male users. Based on the same 19 social networking sites, the audience is 53% female and 47% male. On average, Twitter has 59% female users and Facebook has 57% (9). However, it should be noted that these estimates are based on proprietary sources and no information is available about the methodology used. Because social media sites do not generally require proof of identity beyond a valid e-mail address, account holders may not always be truthful about characteristics such as age and gender. Indeed, they may not be persons at all. As social media use expands to advocacy, FIGURE 4 Percent by age group with a profile on a social networking site, 2008–2010 (7 ).

11 marketing, and entertainment, account holders may include organizations, family pets, and automated spambots. race and ethnicity A recent study from the Pew Research Center looked at Internet access by race and ethnicity (10). According to the study, 59% of Americans now use wireless technology such as a laptop or cell phone to access the Internet, up from 51% a year before, and minority Americans (defined by Pew Center researchers as African–Americans and English-speaking Hispanics) are outpacing Caucasian Americans in their mobile access. As Table 1 shows, nearly two-thirds of African–Americans (64%) and Hispanics (63%) are wireless Internet users, and minority Americans are more likely to own a cell phone than their white counterparts (87% of blacks and Hispanics own a cell phone, compared with 80% of whites). Additionally, black and Hispanic cell phone owners take advantage of a much wider array of their phones’ data functions compared FIGURE 5 Age distribution across 19 social networking sites, 2010 (8). TABLE 1 USE OF MOBILE DATA APPLICATIONS BY POPULATION GROUP, 2010 Source: Smith (10). Activity A ll Adults White, Non- Hispanic A frican– American, Non-Hispanic Hispanic (English- speaking) Own a Cell Phone 82% 80% 87% 87% Activities among Adults with a Cell Phone: Take a picture 76% 75% 76% 83% Send/receive text messages 72% 68% 79% 83% Access the Internet 38% 33% 46% 51% Send/receive email 34% 30% 41% 47% Play a game 34% 29% 51% 46% Record a video 34% 29% 48% 45% Play music 33% 26% 52% 49% Send/receive instant messages 30% 23% 44% 49% Use a social networking site 23% 19% 33% 36% Watch a video 20% 15% 27% 33% Post a photo or video online 15% 13% 20% 25% Purchase a product 11% 10% 13% 18% Use a status update service 10% 8% 13% 15% M ean number of cell phone activities 4.3 3.8 5.4 5.8

12 with white cell phone owners. Although cell phone use is not by itself an indicator of social media use, both African– Americans and Hispanics are more likely than whites to use cell phones to access the Internet, send and receive text messages, and access a social networking website (10). Less information is available about other demographic groups. For example, the Pew Center does not include Asians and Pacific Islanders in its standard demographic breakdowns because of their smaller representation in the U.S. popula- tion and, in some cases, the language barriers associated with interviewing these individuals (11). While this information suggests that most U.S. adults have access to the Internet, it also highlights a new potential issue for public agencies. While smart phones have made the Internet more accessible, and some even offer integration with social media applications, they pose their own usability challenges. When users access the Internet exclusively by cell phone, no matter how smart or sophisticated the device, they may not have access to all features of a website or application. Another Pew study focuses on use of government social media sites (12). Although the proportion of Americans who interact with government agencies using social media sites is small, there is little difference among the three major ethnic and racial groups. Despite similar levels of activity, however, minority Americans are more likely than white Americans to believe that government use of electronic communications helps keep citizens informed and makes agencies more accessible. There was an especially large gap in attitudes toward government use of social media. Only 17% of white Americans said it was “very important” for government agencies to post information and alerts on social networks, compared to 31% of blacks and 33% of Hispanics (see Figure 6). education and income The same Pew study also showed that individuals with more education and higher household incomes were more likely to use online government services. Although the study did not highlight social media specifically, it did ask respondents whether they used tools such as blogs, e-mails, or text messages to obtain government information. Some 24% of respondents with an annual household income under $50,000 used these tools, compared with 39% of those with higher incomes. Similarly, 21% of those with a high school degree or less education accessed government information with these tools, compared to 36% of those who attended at least some college. At a minimum, these findings suggest the need for additional research on the correlation between social networking and factors such as wealth and education (12). Social Media MetricS The science of measuring social media use is still evolv- ing. Many platforms provide some level of built-in statis- tics. For example, Facebook counts “friends” and “likes,” FIGURE 6 Percentage within each group saying it is “very important” for government agencies to do the above by ethnic group (12).

13 Twitter tracks followers and “tweets,” blogging software can count subscribers and impressions, and media-sharing sites such as YouTube and Flickr track views. These applications also provide account holders with additional tools for more detailed analysis, such as Facebook Insights and YouTube Insight. For example, Facebook Insights tracks the number of views for a post. By comparing impressions for each post, users can learn which topics resonate with their Facebook followers. In addition to these prepackaged statistics, numer- ous free and fee-based third-party applications are available for gaining additional insight into the effectiveness of social media activities. Google Analytics, for example, is primarily used for analyzing website visits; however, this free tool also enables agencies to analyze how visitors navigate to their website (including referrals from one or more social media platforms) and what kind of information they are looking for (through search-engine keywords). By drilling down a little further into the collected statistics, agencies can learn what pages on their website are most popular among these visitors, where these readers live (city, state, and country), length of visit, and other useful characteristics. Especially common for use with Twitter, where the length of posts is constrained, link shorteners take a long web address and condense it into a short version for easier posting and forwarding. Many of these services allow users to track the number of times read- ers click on the shortened link, which allows organizations to determine what links are popular and which are not. Finally, Klout is one of several applications that calculate a compos- ite score to represent a user’s social media influence, based on metrics compiled for Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn (13, 14). Some industry experts call for more sophisticated analy- sis, but this can require an investment in analytic software. Owyang and Lovett argue that simply collecting data without further analysis does not allow organizations to draw mean- ingful conclusions (15). For example, they say that it is not enough to track number of blog comments. Instead, orga- nizations could track “audience engagement,” which they define as the ratio of total comments, shares, and trackbacks to total views. In other words, what percentage of viewers is taking some kind of action—either commenting on an online post, forwarding it to someone else (“shares”), or provid- ing a link back to the post from their own social media site (“trackbacks”)? Although the advice is geared toward private businesses that have the resources to purchase sophisticated software, the message applies to transit organizations as well. Counting without context does not create a complete picture of social media effectiveness. Most of the agencies surveyed for this study reported attempting in some way to analyze the effectiveness of their social media strategies. Most relied on informal feedback (94% of reporting agencies) or tracked the number of fol- lowers using built-in application statistics (91%). Just over half (56%) used third-party statistical applications such as Google Analytics and about 10% conducted surveys.

TRB’s Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) Synthesis 99: Uses of Social Media in Public Transportation explores the use of social media among transit agencies and documents successful practices in the United States and Canada.

For the purposes of the report, social media are defined as a group of web-based applications that encourage users to interact with one another, such as blogs, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, Foursquare, and MySpace.

An eReader friendly PDF version of TCRP Synthesis 99 is also available.

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literature review topics about social media

193 Great Social Media Research Topics For Successful Paper

social media research topics

Social media sites are those that facilitate the sharing of ideas, thoughts, and information through virtual networks or communities. Social media is internet-based and gives users effective electronic communication of content. On social media sites, you can send messages, images, documents, videos, or other forms of data. The various large social media networks include; Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter.

Characteristics of a Good Social Media Research Paper

To write a good social media research paper, follow this procedure:

  • Check The Instructions: Check the instructions on what is required. You also need to consult the professor to know what is expected. This will help you to choose the right topic that will lead to a proper research paper. You can check whether the essay needs to be persuasive, engaging, or argumentative.
  • Choose A Topic: Choose a topic that is not too complex. Additionally, it should be something that you are passionate about. Browse various sample papers online to know the best topic to use.
  • Research Well: Once you choose a topic and seek approval from your professor, you now need to do proper research. You can use scholarly articles, documentaries, films, and other data to find the relevant needed information.
  • Draft It Out: Write out the key points and know how the introduction body and conclusion will be. If doing a project, thesis, or dissertation, write a great abstract. The draft should contain all the relevant information. Remember to write titles that correspond to the main points.
  • Write The Final Paper: Once you are done, write the final paper and proofread to ensure that everything you’ve written is as it should be.

Social Media Research Topics

Social media is a great place to interact with friends, colleagues, family, bloggers, and even celebrities. They make the world seem a bit smaller with the amount of information you can get from it.

  • The factors that lead to the growth of social media sites.
  • Evaluate how social media fuels rebellion among teenagers.
  • How are social network websites used for political affairs?
  • The best ways to deal with children’s addiction in social sites.
  • How can social media sites be used during certain country disasters?
  • Evaluate how data protection is done on social media sites.
  • In your own opinion, do you think there should be an age restriction on the use of social networks?
  • Evaluate the various reasons that companies are opting to advertise more on Facebook.
  • The major factors that lead to the popularity of social media sites like Instagram.
  • Evaluate the growth of social media in the past 10 years – what has changed?
  • Is there a relationship between social media and mental problems?
  • Discuss how the major changes that have occurred in communication are due to social media sites.
  • Evaluate the evolution of Twitter from its inception to date.
  • The best tactics to build a strong social media presence.

Social Media Research Questions

Did you know that social media sites can play with the psychology of a teen? They will see society differently than they were used to.

  • Which are the best ways to monitor children’s access to social media platforms?
  • Among all the social media platforms, which is the best to use when starting a business?
  • Which are the positive and negative effects of using social media sites?
  • How do social networks make people commit suicide?
  • Which are the negative effects of children using social media sites?
  • How can addiction to social media occur? The best methods to use to curb it.
  • Which are the advantages and disadvantages of parents monitoring their children’s social media presence?
  • How do social media networks help whenever there is a disaster?
  • How effective is Twitter when providing some information globally?
  • Do you think that social media connects and disconnects people equally?
  • How do social media networks facilitate kidnapping and assaults?
  • How effective is the social media network when providing good PR?
  • How effective is data protection on the internet?
  • Is it safe to do a job on any of the social media platforms?

Research Papers On Social Media

Have you ever come across a social media political campaign? Well, yes, there are social media politics. A couple of politicians have gained popularity through social media exposure.

  • Evaluate the changes that have occurred in human values after social media prevalence.
  • Should there be a restriction on social media activities for both adults and children?
  • Does social media enhance or prevent stereotyping?
  • The best way to recognize valid advertisements and spam.
  • The best way social media can help to stop racism.
  • The effects of online games.
  • The negative effects of social media on crime cases.
  • The best way to manage social media pressure among celebrities globally.
  • How do social media sites boost personal branding?
  • The positive effects of social media on improving the corporate image.
  • How does influence marketing help in boosting businesses?
  • The influence of chatbots in boosting communication in companies.
  • The best strategies to use to create a strong online presence.
  • Evaluate the evolution of social media.

Interesting Social Media Research Topic

There is a close relationship between social media and relationships. This is because it plays a major role in how people relate. This is in families, couples, friends, and colleagues.

  • The power of online communities.
  • The impact of business branding in increasing sales.
  • The major roles of images in boosting online communication.
  • The best methods to use to monitor kids’ activities on social media.
  • Social empowerment on the use of social media sites.
  • The impact of social media in boosting spirituality in individuals.
  • The major impacts of social media on job creation.
  • The effects of cybercrime on different individuals.
  • How do social media relationships occur?
  • The safety of social media relationships in the modern age.
  • The importance of social media in new products marketing.
  • How does social media help in marketing?
  • The negative and positive impacts of social media in religious missions.
  • The role of social media in breaking news to the public.

Social Media Research Papers

Of late many people have been indulging in the social media business. This is because of its diversity. There is a lot of areas that still require exploration in the digital world.

  • Evaluate the impact of social media on modern times.
  • The effectiveness of government communication through social media.
  • How has social media influenced education?
  • The impact of social media in journalism.
  • The effectiveness of mobile technology in marketing.
  • The various regulations put in place for online activities.
  • The most effective email marketing strategies.
  • How is social media being used to boost food security?
  • How does social media affect the behaviors of children at school and home?
  • The global regulations on online activities.
  • The various online marketing modes used by various social media marketers.
  • The best way to use social media networks to boost your content visibility.
  • How can startups use social media to boost their customer service experience?
  • Do you think information overload influences our health?

More Social Media Research Paper Topics

Narcissism behaviors can also be seen easily on social media sites. These are some of the best social media research papers that you can start with. Therefore, use our research paper writing services to get a professional help with your papers. 

  • How social media aids in fighting stereotypes?
  • Do you think terrorists use social networks to recruit new members?
  • Which kind of information should be restricted on social media sites?
  • The best way social sites help to attract people’s attention to social problems.
  • How do you think social media aids to make us educated?
  • Why do you think people use more time using social media sites?
  • The negative effects of information overload.
  • Do you think social media is the best place to seek justice?
  • How does social media stimulate mental issues?
  • The effects of using women’s bodies for advertisements globally.
  • Do you think social media sites are 100% effective for communication?
  • The healthy ways of self-realization through social media.
  • The best way to earn from social media sites.
  • How can blogging help to boost the education system?

Research Topic On Social Media

These are some of the best media topics. You can also find some multimedia topics that you can use for your research paper. Digital media is interesting and you get a lot of information from it.

  • Evaluate business growth in the past and present due to social media networks.
  • How does social media help us to find inspiration?
  • The amount of time to use when using social media sites.
  • Why do you think people always crave likes on social media sites?
  • Why do you think people are often aggressive when using social media sites?
  • Why do you think cyberbullying is rampant on social media?
  • What do you think makes marketing great on social media?
  • Has social media influenced what is considered beautiful and what is not?
  • The best way to depoliticize is through social media.
  • The best ways to interact positively with people through social media.
  • Do you think it is effective to find a relationship partner through social media?
  • It is recommended for employers to always check the social media accounts of their employees?
  • Do you think it is wise to check a candidate’s social media presence before hiring?
  • The best way to boost your social media presence as a brand ambassador.

Informative Research Questions On Social Media

Are you looking for good and interesting research questions on social media? Look no further! You can start with these. Also, remember to do thorough research to meet the end goal.

  • Which are the lessons gotten from social media network usage?
  • The only time when children should be allowed to use social sites.
  • The best way to raise funds for sick people using social media.
  • The best ways social media can be used for acts of mercy.
  • How social media is a new culture.
  • Do you think social media makes us accept violence easily?
  • How do you think social media sites are used to plan crimes?
  • The relation between social media and violence.
  • The relation between social media and culture.
  • The most popular kinds of posts on social media sites.
  • The influence of Instagram on women.
  • The best way to find your perfect target audience.
  • How are social media sites used to unite human beings?

Best Social Media Paper Ideas

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  • Why do some accounts gain more followers than others?
  • How businesses can use social media in client service development?
  • The best methods to stop cyberbullying on social media sites.
  • Do you think it is recommended to trust bloggers’ views before making a purchase?
  • How have social sites become a platform for new business destinies?
  • The best methods to use to become a celebrity on media sites.
  • Should teachers keep their accounts closed to prevent students from knowing them?
  • The various professions emerged due to the developing of social media.
  • How to find your perfect social media audience.
  • Customer engagement on social media platforms.
  • The best way social media can be used is to make students more aware of their surroundings.
  • How can social media be used to track a lost person?
  • The use of mass media on the development of the education system.
  • Why do you think people love reading gossip on various social media sites?

Argumentative Research Topics About Social Media

These research topics about social media will make you think deeper and see the online world differently. Through research, you will also learn why the” future is digital.”

  • How do social media sites help in enriching students with presentation skills?
  • The best way social media can be used to educate students on real-life scenarios.
  • The best way to reduce theft on social media sites.
  • The best way to crowdsource different people to achieve something,
  • How do social media sites invade people’s privacy?
  • Which should be an age limit for using certain social media sites?
  • The best way to learn through social media.
  • The policies and regulations needed for social media usage.
  • The effectiveness of social media sites during elections
  • How has social media led to family breakups?
  • How easy is it to get information online?
  • Evaluate all the Twitter limitations.
  • How do people fake it on social media?
  • Evaluate how to make the online space safe.

Amazing Social Media Paper Topics

As a student, you need to strive to achieve diligently in your course units. Here are some amazing topics that you can use.

  • The amount of bandwidth used when using social media.
  • The negative effects of joining social media platforms when too young.
  • The network connectivity issues that occur on social sites.
  • The best legislations that can be put in place for social media
  • The best way to earn through online games.
  • The effectiveness of digital dating sites on boosting relationships.
  • Data protection policies on social media sites.
  • The best way start-ups can use to boost their companies online.
  • Do you think social media networks are increasing suicide cases?
  • The best way to gain followers on Twitter.
  • The various causes of addiction on social media.
  • The best way to reduce addiction to social media among the youth.
  • The best way to improve social sites for all ages.
  • The various ways Twitter has been used to save lives

Engaging Social Networks Topics

Social media emerged as a way to interact with family and friends. However, with time, businesses started to take advantage of the popular new communication method.

  • The diverse relation between social sites and religion.
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  • The various modes being used to improve interaction online.
  • Is parent-child protection necessary while online to prevent bullying?
  • The dangers of posting pictures online.
  • Evaluate how social media is disconnecting people?
  • The censorship policies that are being put in place for mass media.
  • The mass media bias during elections.
  • How does cyberbullying occur online?
  • The business of mass media during elections in different regions of the world.
  • The various important mass media ethics.
  • Evaluate phone journalism
  • How are images important when giving a story on social media sites?
  • The interrelation between politics and media.
  • The history of mass communication

Unique Social Networking Topics

Social media sites have made it easier to get real-time information fast. Additionally, you get to learn about the latest trends and technologies.

  • The impact of fake news on modern society.
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  • Evaluate the currency of news.
  • The advantages and disadvantages of mass communication.
  • The relation between mental illnesses and social media
  • The relation between media, ethics, and public relation.
  • The relation between media, fashion, and aesthetics.
  • The positive and negative effects of media cliché.
  • How can media be used as an instrument of propaganda?
  • The relation between terrorism and media.
  • The common major media industries.
  • The movement rules and politics about media.
  • The relation between reality shows, privacy, and ethics
  • How does media get information overloading?
  • How are social media sites making us lonely?

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  • The best way to protect children online.
  • Evaluate the world-famous influencers on social media.
  • The effect of social media on our relationships.
  • Evaluate addiction in social media in different age groups.
  • How does social media use lead to anxiety?
  • The negative and positive effects of social media on the youth.
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  • The effects of social media on human beings.

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  • Published: 25 June 2020

Social media, teenagers, and the school context: a scoping review of research in education and related fields

  • Vanessa P. Dennen   ORCID: 1 ,
  • Hajeen Choi 1 &
  • Kari Word 1  

Educational Technology Research and Development volume  68 ,  pages 1635–1658 ( 2020 ) Cite this article

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This scoping review of research explores which disciplines have studied social media as it relates to education and, more broadly, use by students of high school and college age. The sample explores 10 years of research (2009–2018). A search of Web of Science yielded 580 relevant peer-reviewed articles published through the end of 2018, with 260 (44.8%) of these articles focused on education. Research in this area has been on a steady upward trajectory since 2009, the first year when relevant social media articles appeared. About half of this research was conducted in North American settings, and quantitative surveys were the most popular data collection method. Findings show that within education, the dominant themes of research on social media were use as a teaching and learning tool; adoption, use, and beliefs; digital literacy; effects of use; and identity. Outside of education, the dominant themes were negative behaviors, health issues, identity development and expression, digital citizenship, and social relationships. This review shows several areas where education researchers and practitioners would benefit from attending to research conducted outside of our discipline. Although the field of educational research sufficiently addresses issues like teacher professional development and pedagogical uses of social media, the larger issues that affect our students and, in turn, the school context are being explored in other disciplines.

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Vanessa P. Dennen, Hajeen Choi & Kari Word

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Dennen, V.P., Choi, H. & Word, K. Social media, teenagers, and the school context: a scoping review of research in education and related fields. Education Tech Research Dev 68 , 1635–1658 (2020).

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The Use of Social Media in Children and Adolescents: Scoping Review on the Potential Risks

Elena bozzola.

1 Pediatric Unit, IRCCS Bambino Gesù Children Hospital, 00100 Rome, Italy

2 The Italian Pediatric Society, 00100 Rome, Italy

Giulia Spina

Rino agostiniani.

3 Department of Pediatrics, San Jacopo Hospital, 51100 Pistoia, Italy

Sarah Barni

Rocco russo, elena scarpato.

4 Department of Translational Medical Sciences-Section of Pediatric, University Federico II, 80100 Naples, Italy

Antonio Di Mauro

Antonella vita di stefano, cinthia caruso, giovanni corsello.

5 Department of Health Promotion, Mother and Child Care, Internal Medicine and Medical Specialties “G. D’Alessandro”, University of Palermo, 90100 Palermo, Italy

Annamaria Staiano

Associated data.

Data available at Dr Bozzola’s study.

In recent years, social media has become part of our lives, even among children. From the beginning of COVID-19 pandemic period, media device and Internet access rapidly increased. Adolescents connected Internet alone, consulting social media, mostly Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube. During “lockdown”, the Internet usage allowed communication with peers and the continuity activities such as school teaching. However, we have to keep in mind that media usage may be related to some adverse consequences especially in the most vulnerable people, such as the young. Aim of the review is to focus on risks correlated to social media use by children and adolescents, identifying spies of rising problems and engaging in preventive recommendations. The scoping review was performed according to PRISMA guidelines, searching on PubMed the terms “social media” or “social network”, “health”, and “pediatrics”. Excluding articles not pertinent, we found 68 reports. Out of them, 19 were dealing with depression, 15 with diet, and 15 with psychological problems, which appeared to be the most reported risk of social media use. Other identified associated problems were sleep, addiction, anxiety, sex related issues, behavioral problems, body image, physical activity, online grooming, sight, headache, and dental caries. Public and medical awareness must rise over this topic and new prevention measures must be found, starting with health practitioners, caregivers, and websites/application developers. Pediatricians should be aware of the risks associated to a problematic social media use for the young’s health and identify sentinel signs in children as well as prevent negative outcomes in accordance with the family.

1. Introduction

Media device use is increasing year by year in Italy as well as in many other countries. An ISTAT report referred that in 2019, 85.8% of Italian adolescents aged 11–17 years regularly used smartphones, and over 72% accessed Internet via smartphones [ 1 ]. Almost 95% of Italian families with a child had a broadband internet connection [ 2 ]. Internet connection was mostly used to communicate with friends and to use social networks [ 1 ]. In 2020, COVID-19 pandemic represented one of the greatest disruptions for everybody’s everyday life, in Italy as well as all around the world. From the beginning of the pandemic period, media device and Internet access rapidly increased. In line, a 2021 CENSIS report revealed an even progressive increment of smartphone use by adolescents, which reached 95% [ 3 ]. In particular, the majority of adolescents (59%) admitted they use smartphone even more frequently than in the past with a daily use of more than 3 h in 46% of cases. Adolescents connected Internet alone (59%), consulting social media, mostly Instagram (72%), TikTok (62%), and YouTube (58%) [ 4 ]. In this context, social interaction over the Internet or simply social network consulting may play an important part in the lives of many young people, influencing them and their relationship with self-esteem and well-being [ 5 ]. Not being guided and monitored in Internet fruition, the young may be exposed to several risks, including cyberbullying which affects 7% of children aged 11–13 years and 5.2% of 14–17 years old adolescents or stalking which affects more than 600 minors in Italy. On social media, the young are more vulnerable and may display risk behavior, including pertaining substance abuse, sexual behaviors, or violence [ 6 ].

On the other hand, media and social networks are, actually, present in almost any house and are considered a great resource for anybody, including children and adolescents. Especially during “lockdown”, the Internet usage allowed communication with peers and the continuity activities such as school teaching. Social media services enable various form of communication verbally or visually by internet-based networking, bringing people together, facilitating instant connection and interaction, such as a like or a comment on something [ 7 ]. There was also a “school” use of smartphones and social media during lockdown which represented a tool of information and education [ 8 ].

In line, websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking may be currently use as a definition of a social media. Facebook launched in 2004 and Twitter in 2006 were the first social media introduced, rapidly followed by many others [ 9 ]. Actually, Facebook with 2.9 billion monthly active users, YouTube with 2 billion, Instagram with 1.5 billion, and TikTok with 1 billion are the most accessed social media in the world [ 10 ]. As social media are spreading in every day’s life, regulatory models are required to address a broad range of challenges social media pose to the community, including privacy and protection of sensitive data.

Media usage is related to some adverse consequences especially in the most vulnerable people. The health emergency had a strong impact on the mental and psychological health of adolescents causing changing in their routine and daily activities. Forced isolation increased anxiety and stress especially in the most fragile individuals, such as children and adolescents, leading to a change in habitual lifestyles. The greatest risk was that of taking refuge in excessive use of smartphones, electronic devices, and social networks, running into a “digital overdose” [ 11 ].

A recent survey conducted by the Italian Society of Pediatrics in collaboration with State Police and investigated the relationship with media devices in times of pandemic, investigating the habits of adolescents on the use of media and social networks, underlined that 15% of them declared they “cannot stay without” their own media device [ 1 ].

The aim of the review is to focus on risks correlated to social media use by the young, identifying spies of rising problems, and engaging in preventive recommendations.

2. Materials and Methods

This scoping review has been conducted by The Italian Pediatric Society Scientific Communication Group in order to provide an overview of a complex research area. The aim is reviewing international literature disguising about social media and their effect on the pediatric age, including minors less than 18 years, to underline possible risks found so far, identifying the signs of a dangerous use, and to eventually give new recommendation based on these findings.

We define a risk as the possibility of something unfavorable happens, as an effect or an implication of social media usage and which may potentially affect human health. This scoping review has been performed according to the PRISMA Extension guidelines for Scoping Reviews [ 12 ].

An electronic search was undertaken on PubMed database on 23 January 2022. To avoid missing results that may be of note for our revision study, constructing our search in PubMed, we used all of the important concepts from our basic clinical question, avoiding unnecessary filters.

So, the search terms “social media”, “health”, and “pediatrics” in text or title/abstract were used, with the time span set as “all years”. The search on the selected database has produced n 651 among articles and reviews. Another research was made using “social network”, “health” and “pediatrics” as search terms in text or title/abstract, with the time span always set as “all years”. It resulted in 354 articles/reviews.

The two research were downloaded from PubMed and then uploaded to the web application “Rayyan” [ 13 ], a website used to screen and analyze articles, specific for writing reviews. Additional articles for potential inclusion were identified in a second stage by hand searching the reference lists in relevant articles.

Studies were considered eligible for this scoping review if they met the following inclusion criteria:

  • - Full-length articles or reviews.
  • - Pertaining to children and adolescents up to 18 years old.
  • - Negative impact on a pediatric population using social media.
  • - Social media meant as forms of electronic communication.

The exclusion criteria were:

  • - Reports not in English.
  • - Duplications.
  • - Not pertinent field of investigation (e.g., use of the social media to promote healthcare, benefits of social media, social media used to debate on health-related issues, and social network meant as real social interactions).
  • - The population analyzed was adult (>18 years).
  • - The population had previous pathologies.

To reduce errors and bias, two researchers independently, two researchers conducted the screening process to identify articles that met all inclusion criteria. Using the web application “Rayyan” [ 13 ], duplicates were removed, then titles and abstracts were analyzed to exclude distinctly irrelevant articles. Finally, the eligibility of the articles was confirmed by evaluating the full text. Disagreements regarding inclusion/exclusion were settled by discussion between the researchers.

Relevant articles were selected on the web application “Rayyan” and grouped together based on the issue they were dealing with. Afterwards, data were compiled in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet to calculate frequencies and percentages of the problems related to social media use, found in the research.

All the 1005 documents have been reviewed for relevance and eligibility.

As shown in the Figure 1 , through the help of the web application “Rayyan” [ 13 ] we removed before screening 9 duplicates, 25 foreign language works, and 49 publications dated before 2004. We excluded paper published before 2004, the year of Facebook foundation, because before that year “social networks” was a term used to mean “social interactions in real life”, as they were not pertinent to our research.

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Object name is ijerph-19-09960-g001.jpg

Flow chart of the selection process. * automation tools were used: 6 records were excluded by automation tools and 3 were excluded by authors. Twenty-five records were excluded because they were not written in English, these were identified using automation tools, but then checked by authors. ** 49 records were removed because they were published before 2004, and no social network existed before that year.

According to PRISMA guidelines [ 12 ], of the 922 works identified, all abstracts were analyzed, and 832 records were excluded. Around 66% of the excluded records were dealing with other topics (e.g., vaccines, promoting health by social media, social networks meant as real social interactions, and social lockdown during SARS-CoV-2 period), a percentage of 28% of the records corresponded to a wrong population: mostly parents, pregnant women, young adults, or children with pathologies (e.g., ADHD). About 6% of the excluded studies used social media tools to recruit people in their studies or to deliver questionnaires.

In conclusion, 90 were the records to be analyzed reading their full-length articles. The whole article of four of them has not been found (“reports not retrieved”), arriving at 86 reports assessed for eligibility. Figure 1 presents the flow chart of the selection process, adapted from PRISMA guideline [ 14 ].

Of the 86 reports attained, we read the whole length articles and then excluded 20 studies.

Of these twenty, 6 were excluded because not leading to any conclusion; 13 were dealing with wrong topics, such as: doctors’ social media knowledge; social lock down during the pandemic; social media marketing; underage and privacy; survey on how social media is perceived by adolescents; time consumed on social media; predictor factors of problematic social media use. Finally, one was not included because it focused on parents and families.

Searching through the cited studies in the included reports, two reviews which were not initially included in the research were added.

With 68 included reports analyzed, there were 15 reviews; of these two were systematic reviews, one validation study, and one editorial. Cross-sectional studies and longitudinal studies have been considered, eight and nine, respectively.

Many articles reported more than one issue correlated to social media use. The most frequent problems involved mental health, followed by diet and weight problems. Table 1 shows the problematic topics found to be related to social media use in children and adolescents and their prevalence, expressed as percentage, over the 68 reports analyzed.

Social media health related problems in a pediatric population. This table shows the issues found in this scoping review. Depression was argued in 19 reports, being the main topic found (27.9% of the whole study). Diet associated problems were discussed in 15 reports, cyberbullying in 15, psychological problems in 14, sleep related problems in 13, addiction in 10, anxiety in 10, sex related problems in 9, behavioral problems in 7, body images distortion in 6, reduced physical activity and related problems has been reported in 5 reports, online grooming in 3 reports, sight problems in 3, also headache in 3, and dental caries in total of 2 articles.

The most frequent problems found are related to mental health: depression, anxiety, and addiction.

Other problems are related to sleep, diet and nutrition, cyberbullying, psychological aspects, behavioral problems, sex, body image perception, physical activity, online grooming, sight, headache, and dental caries.

4. Discussion

4.1. social media and depression.

We identified 19 publications reporting a relationship between social media use and depression [ 15 , 16 , 17 , 18 , 19 , 20 , 21 , 22 , 23 , 24 , 25 , 26 , 27 , 28 , 29 , 30 , 31 , 32 , 33 ]. Table 2 summarized the main finding regarding each article. Out of them, four investigated the impact of COVID 19 pandemic on both social media use and depression ( Table 2 ).

Social media and depression.

4.1.1. Before COVID-19 Pandemic

Investigating the impact of social media on adolescents’ wellbeing is a priority due to a progressive increase in mental health problems or addiction and access to Emergency Department [ 15 ]. As Chiu and Rutter stated, there is a positive relationship between internalizing symptoms, such as depression and anxiety, and social media use [ 15 , 16 ]. Depression is connected to a rapidly increased of digital communication and virtual spaces, which substitute face-to-face contact by excessive smartphone use and online chatting. The more time adolescents spend on social device the higher levels of depression are found out. In this sense, social media are representing a risk factor for depression in the young. Depression, anxiety, and behavioral disorders are among the leading causes of illness and disability among adolescents [ 15 , 16 , 17 , 18 , 19 , 20 , 21 , 22 ]. Key findings which correlate to depression regarding social media exposure are repeated activities such as checking messages, investment, and addition [ 23 ]. The findings were similar all over the world.

For example, in Sweden, spending more than 2 h on social media was associated with higher odds of feeling [ 20 ]. In Egypt, as well, students who have problematic Internet use, have higher psychiatric comorbidities, such as depression, anxiety, and suicidal tendency [ 24 ].

Social media addiction and more precisely Facebook addiction was linked not only to depression but even to dysthymia, so that the expression “Facebook depression” was coined to identify a relationship between depression and social networking activity [ 15 , 25 , 26 ]. Individuals suffering from Facebook depression may be at an increased risk of social isolation and may be more vulnerable to drugs or behavioral problems [ 26 ].

Internet penetrance and connectivity are also connected to cyberbullying which can lead to depression and suicidality [ 27 , 28 , 29 ].

On the other side, physical activity may decrease depression and anxiety, potentially protecting the young against the harmful effect of social media abuse [ 16 ].

At last, even if a positive correlation between internalizing symptoms and media use device is noted, Hoge states that there is also evidence that social media communication may improve mood and promote health strategies in some occasions [ 18 ].

Finally, even if evidence revealed that social media use is linked to poor mental health, the relationship between social media and depression in adolescents is still to be completely understood. It is still unclear whether social media use leads to more depression or if these depressive symptoms cause individuals to seek out more social media, which could feed into a vicious cycle [ 16 ]. Keles’s conclusion as well suggest defining the relationship between internalizing symptoms and social media use as an association and not a causative effect [ 23 ].

4.1.2. After COVID 19 Pandemic

During COVID-19 pandemic, the state of emergency and social isolation determined an increase in time on screen not only as a source of online education, but to continuously access social media. According to recent data, a percentage of 48% of adolescents spent a mean of 5 h per day on social media and 12% spent more than 10 h. Moreover, with that increase in virtual time depression arose [ 30 ].

The degree of social media usage in children is a significant predictor of depression, which increases with each additional hour of social media use [ 31 ].

During the pandemic, depressive symptoms may have been reactive to the context of being afraid of the virus and necessitating social isolation [ 32 ].

However, in this peculiar period, schoolchildren who increased time spent on either smartphones, social media, or gaming had significantly elevated psychological distress, such as depressive symptoms, than those with decreased time spent on these internet-related activities [ 33 ].

4.2. Social Media and Diet

Out of the reports, 15 dealt with the association of social media use and diet [ 21 , 34 , 35 , 36 , 37 , 38 , 39 , 40 , 41 , 42 , 43 , 44 , 45 , 46 , 47 ]. The problems were related to junk food marketing (9 reports) [ 34 , 35 , 36 , 37 , 38 , 39 , 40 , 41 ] obesity (4 reports) [ 21 , 41 , 42 , 43 ], unhealthy eating behaviors (3 reports) [ 44 , 45 , 46 ], and alcohol marketing (2 reports) [ 21 , 47 ]. In Table 3 the retrieved articles dealing with social media and diet, and their major findings are presented ( Table 3 ).

Social media and diet.

4.2.1. Before COVID-19 Pandemic

Junk food marketing.

Reports found that children are exposed to the marketing of unhealthy foods on social media and to their persuasive techniques. Digital marketing represents a major threat for children and adolescents in Mexico, because of its persuasive techniques. Cola and soft drinks, sweetened juices and in general the so-called junk food have high followers on Facebook and Twitter. [ 34 ]. This may cause an increase in children’s immediate consumption of the promoted product, unhealthy behaviors and may led to obesity, as confirmed by several studies [ 34 , 35 , 36 ]. Reports agree on the youth major vulnerability to unhealthy food advertisement, including digital marketing, sponsored content, influencers, and persuasive design [ 34 , 35 , 36 ]. This contributes to the obesity epidemic [ 36 ].

Major social media platforms do not have comprehensive policies in place to restrict the marketing of unhealthy foods on their platforms [ 36 , 37 ]. Therefore, exposure to the marketing of unhealthy products, on social media may be considered a risk factor for related unhealthy behaviors.

Analysis of the advertising policies of the 16 largest social media platforms proved them ineffective in protecting children and adolescents from exposure to the digital marketing of unhealthy food [ 37 ].

Among social media, YouTube is particularly worrying considering the affinity of the young toward the platform. Unhealthy food advertisements predominate in YouTube content aimed towards children. In fact, analysis of advertisements encountered in YouTube videos targeted at children revealed that food and beverage ads appeared most frequently, with more than half of these promoting unhealthy foods [ 38 ].

As confirmed by an Irish study, adolescents are very attracted to junk food advertisements and are likely to share comments on their network: generalized linear mixed models showed that advertisements for unhealthy food evoked significantly more positive responses, compared to non-food and healthy food. Of all the advertising, they see in social media, they view unhealthy food advertising posts for longer [ 39 ]. This confirms the vulnerability of children towards ad and digital marketing.

Moreover, it has been demonstrated that adolescent heavy social media users (>3 h/day) are more willing to engage with food ads compared to light social media users, and are more willing to “like” Instagram food ads featuring many “likes” versus few “likes”, demonstrating the power of social norms in shaping behaviors. Adolescents interact with brands in ways that mimic interactions with friends on social media, which is concerning when brands promote unhealthy product. [ 40 ]. There is a need of more strict policies to limit digital marketing, which is becoming more and more intense, especially towards children and adolescents.

4.2.2. After COVID-19 Pandemic

During the COVID-19 pandemic, this phenomenon even increased. In fact, the combination of staying at home, online education and social media usage have all caused screen time to surge and the food industry has been quick to identify this change in their target audience and has intensified online advertising and focused on children. The COVID-19 experience led to an increase in risk and severity of inappropriate behavioral eating habits, affecting the health and weight [ 41 ].

4.2.3. Before COVID-19 Pandemic

Social media is the first independent risk factor for obesity in primary school children and the second for high school students. In both primary school and high school models, children’s social media use has the highest impact on child’s BMI [ 42 ]. In addition, heavy media use during preschool years is associated with small but significant increases in BMI, especially if used ≥ 2 h of media per day [ 21 ].

4.2.4. After COVID-19 Pandemic

Obesity and social media correlated through junk food advertisements [ 41 , 43 ]. During COVID 19 pandemic poor quality food, energy-dense, and nutrient-poor products consumption increased, leading to the risk of overweight and obesity. The phenomenon has been called “Covibesity” [ 41 ].

4.3. Unhealthy Eating Behavior

Some social media contents promote pro-anorexia messages [ 44 , 45 , 46 ]. These messages are no longer limited to websites that can be easily monitored, but instead have been transferred to constantly changing media such as Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Tumblr. Consequently, pro-eating disorder content has become more easily accessible by the users. Pro-anorexia website use is correlated with a higher drive for thinness, lower evaluations of their appearance, and higher levels of perfectionism, and all correlates with eating disturbances [ 44 , 46 ].

In detail, there is a real bombardment of unhealthy messages on media promoting low-nutrition aliments and sugar-sweetened drinks [ 45 ].

It is likely that the suboptimal quality of online information on social media platform contributes to the development of unhealthy eating attitudes and behaviors in young adolescent internet users seeking nutritional information. They look for nutritional information on internet sources such as commercial websites or social media in order to lose weight. In this occasion, they may be exposed to higher risk of eating disorders due to the high quantity of misinformation. Moreover, they may find dangerous methods to rapidly lose weight with possible harm for their health [ 46 ].

Literature agrees on the risk of time spent on social media as well as on the poor quality and reliability of weight loss information on media [ 44 , 45 , 46 ].

4.4. Alcohol Marketing

Adolescents identify drinking brands to peculiar images of ideal adults. Brands know well this underlying psychological mechanism and promote that identity adolescents seek, with specific advertisement on social media [ 47 ].

Studies have shown that exposure to alcohol in TV or movies is associated with initiation of this behavior. The major alcohol brands have a strong advertising presence on social media, including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Several studies underlined risky health behaviors, such as illegal alcohol use or overuse. Evidence suggests that peer viewers of this content are likely to consider these behaviors as normative and desirable. Therefore, targeted advertising via social media has a significant effect on adolescent behavior [ 21 ].

4.5. Social Media and Cyberbullying

We identified 15 publications reporting a relationship between social media use and cyberbullying [ 21 , 22 , 25 , 26 , 27 , 28 , 29 , 45 , 48 , 49 , 50 , 51 , 52 , 53 , 54 ]. Table 4 summarized the main finding regarding each article ( Table 4 ).

Social media and cyberbullying.

Cyberbullying may be defined as any behavior performed through electronic or digital media by individuals or groups that repeatedly communicate hostile or aggressive messages intended to inflict harm or discomfort on others. Compared to bullying, cyberbullying may be even more dangerous as victims can be reached anytime and in any place. Moreover, anonymity amplifies aggression as the perpetrator feels out of reach.

Moreover, the ability to hide behind fake names provides bullies the opportunity to communicate in content and language they would not use in front of people [ 26 , 48 , 49 ]. As confirmed by Shah et al., the anonymity of cyberbullying increases the risk for inappropriate behaviors among adolescents [ 50 ].

In literature, cyberbullying has been identified in phone calls, text messages, pictures/video clips, emails, and messaging apps. This is a great public health concern: in Italy, 2015 ISTAT data showed that 19.8% of 11–17 years old internet users report being cyberbullied [ 49 ].

This phenomenon is increasing. In fact, the number of adolescents being cyberbullied at least once in their life increased from 20.8% in 2010 to 33.8% in 2016 [ 50 ].

Victims of bullies exhibit increased depressive symptoms, anxiety, internalizing behaviors, externalizing behaviors, and greater academic distractions [ 21 , 22 , 25 , 27 , 28 , 29 , 51 ].

Cyberbullying has been associated with higher risks of depression, paranoia, anxiety, and suicide than the traditional form of bullying [ 21 , 22 ]. According to a metanalysis of 34 studies, traditional bullying increased suicide ideation by a factor of 2.16, whereas cyberbullying increased it by a factor of 3.12 [ 39 ].

In adolescence, social media intense or problematic use and frequent online contact with strangers are all independently associated with cyberbullying [ 45 , 52 , 53 ]. In this contest, social media represent a risk factor for cyberbullying and for inappropriate behavior related to it. In fact, problematic social media use is an important driver of cyberbullying victimization and perpetration, especially among girls [ 50 , 53 ]. The highest percentage is observed in adolescents, aged 13 to 15 years as suggested by literature reviews and, in particular, by Marengo and Uludasdemir [ 53 , 54 ]. However, Marengo also suggests that in presence of social support, the phenomenon is attenuated [ 53 ].

Moreover, having daily access to the Internet and the sharing of gender on social media increased the likelihood of cyber victimization among adolescents aged 12–17 years. Those who use Tumblr and Snapchat were found to become victims even more frequently [ 54 ].

4.6. Psychological Problems and Social Media

We identified 14 publications reporting a relationship between social media use and psychological problems [ 17 , 23 , 33 , 45 , 49 , 52 , 55 , 56 , 57 , 58 , 59 , 60 , 61 , 62 ]. Table 5 summarized the main finding regarding each article ( Table 5 ).

Social media and psychological problems.

4.6.1. Before COVID-19 Pandemic

A high use of screen device has been correlated to a low psychological well-being among children and adolescents, especially among females [ 17 ].

For examples, in Canadians adolescents, the prevalence of loneliness was higher for daily computer-mediated communication users than non-daily users [ 55 ]. As well as for cyberbullying, adolescents may benefit from social support, family communication, and interaction to ameliorate feelings of loneliness [ 53 , 55 ]. Boer et al. confirmed that intense user reported more frequent psychological complaints than non-intense user as well as less family and friend support [ 56 ]. In line with this finding, in Lithuania a problematic social media use has been associated with two times higher odds for lower life satisfaction [ 57 ].

Moreover, an intense social media use correlated to either low school well-being and reduced social well-being (decreased family and friends support and relations) [ 56 ].

A relationship between poor life satisfaction, problematic social media use, and lack of social support was found not only in adolescents, but also in children [ 52 , 57 , 58 , 59 , 60 ].

Social media use is also correlated with conduct and emotional problems, attention deficit, peer problems, school impairments, and psychological distress [ 23 , 45 , 61 , 62 ].

Social networks and media device use correlate to low academic outcomes, reduced concentration, and procrastination. In fact, problematic smartphone use correlates to a surface approach to learning rather than to a deep approach, leading to reduced creativity, organization skills, own thinking, and comprehension of information [ 49 ].

4.6.2. After COVID-19 Pandemic

During this COVID-19 pandemic, primary school children reported significantly higher psychological distress than the period prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. Studies showed that schoolchildren who increased time spent on either smartphones, social media, or gaming had significantly elevated psychological distress than those with decreased time spent on these internet-related activities [ 33 ].

4.7. Social Media and Sleep

Extended use of digital media screen time correlates with sleep impairment [ 18 , 21 , 22 , 26 , 31 , 43 , 47 , 49 , 57 , 61 , 63 , 64 , 65 ]. Table 6 summarizes the evidence in literature ( Table 6 ). Exposure to screen-based devices, online social networking sites, and video-sharing platforms is significantly associated with sleep-onset difficulties in adolescents [ 18 , 49 ]. Findings from a meta-analysis of 20 cross-sectional studies show 53% higher odds of poor sleep quality among adolescents with consistent bedtime media use [ 63 ]. Moreover, the use of computers and smartphones among adolescents is associated with daytime sleepiness and fatigue, shorter sleep duration, later bedtime, and unfavorable changes in sleep habits over time [ 22 ]. Smartphones may be easily carried around and even taken to bed. Several sleep disorders correlate to both overall and night phone use among adolescents. It has been demonstrated that social media addiction in school students decreases students’ sleep efficiency [ 61 ]. Use of cellphones, particularly for nighttime texting, and consulting social media were associated with insufficient sleep [ 63 ]. A 5 or more hours daily of media devices use has been related to a higher risk of sleep problems when compared to a 1 h use daily [ 49 ]. This finding is confirmed by Buda who correlates problematic social media with about two times higher odds for a bad sleep quality [ 57 ]. Varghese as well associated social media use with sleep difficulties. Furthermore, YouTube user had two-times higher odds for sleep-onset difficulties [ 63 ].

Social media and sleep.

In addition, it seems that girls suffer more than boys from these sleep problems [ 57 ].

Sleeping problems, especially sleep duration, have been then associated with time spent on screen, problematic behaviors, and higher internalizing and externalizing symptoms [ 64 ].

Even among children, there is a problem with extended use of social media sites, which result in sleep deprivation due to delayed bedtimes and reduced total sleep duration and quality of rest [ 31 , 65 ]. The report by Hadjipanayis as well confirms that sleeping disturbances may be associated with the disruption of circadian rhythms due to the blue light emission from the electronic screen-based media devices [ 26 ]. Negative outcomes including poor school performance, childhood overweight and obesity, and emotional issues have all been associated with sleep deprivation [ 21 , 26 , 43 , 47 ]. Inadequate sleep quality or quantity associated to social media use represents a risk factor for metabolic conditions such as for diabetes, cardiovascular disease and for mental problem, such as depression or substance abuse [ 49 ].

4.8. Social Media and Addiction

Ten reports found correlations between social media use and risk of different types of addictions: with internet [ 17 , 24 , 49 , 51 , 52 , 66 ], with substance abuse [ 15 , 67 ], with alcohol addiction and gaming [ 67 ], with gambling [ 68 ], and with tobacco use [ 69 ]. In Table 7 , the major findings of the related reports are presented ( Table 7 ).

Social media and addiction.

Investigating the impact of social media on adolescents’ wellbeing is a priority due to a progressive increase in mental health problems and access to Emergency Department [ 15 ]. Chiu reported that mental health or addiction related emergency department access increased by almost 90% in ten years mainly among adolescents aged 14–21 years. The increment well correlates to an increase availability of social media [ 15 ].

High screen use associated with internet addiction is also confirmed by O’Keeffe who states that technology is influencing children’s lives from a very young age [ 51 ].

More than 7% of youth have problematic social media use, indicated by symptoms of addiction to social media [ 52 ]. Warning signs of internet addiction can be skipping activities, meals, and homework for social media; weight loss or gain; a reduction in school grades [ 41 ]. In detail: concern, loss of controlling tolerance, withdrawal, instability and impulsiveness, mood modification, lies, and loss of interest have been identified as risk factors for smartphone addiction. Females have almost three times more risk for smartphone addiction than males and it may be related to a stronger desire for social relationships [ 66 ]. Main problems correlated to addiction are low self-esteem, stress, anxiety, depression, insecurity, solitude, and poor scholastic outcomes. Smartphone addiction correlates to both fear of missing out (FOMO) and boredom. FOMO is the apprehension of losing experiences and the consequent wish to remain constantly connected with others, continuously checking social applications. Boredom is defined as an unpleasant emotional state, related to lack of psychological involvement and interest associated with dissatisfaction, to cope with boredom adolescents may seek additional stimulation and compulsively use smartphones [ 49 ].

As well as O’Keeffe, Hawi found out that children are starting to use digital devices at a very young age, and so should be screened for the risk of digital addiction. New scales of early identifications have been developed such as the Digital Addiction Scale for Children, validated to assess the behavior of children 9 to 12 years old in association with digital devices usage. Out of the sample size, 12.4% were identified as at risk of addiction and most of them (62.4%) were male. Nevertheless, results demonstrated that weekday device use among females causes more conflicts [ 66 ].

Different grading scales can test addictions. A study assessed 700 adolescents aged from 14 to 18 years and found out that 65.6% were having internet addiction, 61.3% were gaming addicts, and 92.8% Facebook addicts. Internet addict students had statistically significant higher age, higher socioeconomic scale score, male gender, and lower last year grades in comparison to non-addicts. Depression, dysthymia, suicide, social anxiety, and phobias were common comorbidities in addicted adolescents [ 24 ].

In undergraduate students, disordered online social networking use is associated with higher levels of alcohol craving and in pupils aged from 11 to 13, it is associated with a higher likelihood of being substance users [ 67 ]. In addition, excessive video gaming is associated with increased substance use [ 15 , 67 ].

One report showed greater risk for children and adolescents to develop gambling problems. In fact, the prevalence of adolescent gambling has increased in recent years. Across Europe, self-reported rates of adolescent gambling in 2019 ranged from 36% in Italy to 78% in Iceland. Adolescent problem gambling prevalence ranges from 1.6 to 5.6%. Not only adolescents but also children are widely exposed to gambling advertisements on television and via social media. In recent years, there has been an expansion in sports betting online, and this has been heavily promoted by advertising and marketing attractive to adolescents. Gambling is also promoted to children via social media: children are sharing and re-tweeting messages from gambling companies, they are active in conversations around gambling, and regularly consume and share visual gambling adverts. Lastly, there is also a strong relationship between gaming and gambling: in video games, children pretend to gamble and some video games would ask real money to play [ 68 ].

Finally, there might be a relationship between youth using tobacco and tobacco social media posts. It is not clear if the relationship can be cause-effect or only a correlation. Adolescents who participate in conversations about tobacco in social media by posting positive messages about tobacco are more likely to be past-month tobacco users. Posting even only one positive tobacco-related tweet was associated with greater odds of using cigarettes, e-cigarettes, or any tobacco product, compared to those who did not post positive messages about tobacco [ 69 ].

Finally, social media has been associated to social media use and may represent a risk factor for the young as it interferes with dailies activities leading to unhealthy habits. The easy access to social media by smartphone undoubtedly facilitates addiction.

4.9. Social Media and Anxiety

We identified 10 publications reporting a relationship between social media use and anxiety. Out of them, three investigated the impact of COVID 19 pandemic on social media use and anxiety [ 15 , 16 , 17 , 18 , 22 , 23 , 31 , 32 , 33 , 70 ]. Table 8 summarized the main findings ( Table 8 ).

Social media and anxiety.

4.9.1. Before COVID-19 Pandemic

Evidence agrees that the degree of social media usage in children is a significant predictor of anxiety and perceived stress levels and that it increases with each additional hour of social media use [ 17 , 23 , 31 ]. Anxiety may represent a risk factor for children and adolescents’ health as it influences the way they see their body, the way they feel, and it may impact on social acceptance and relations with peers.

The excessive use of at least one type of screen, including television, computer, social media, and video gaming, has been connected with anxiety symptoms in the pediatric age [ 22 , 23 , 31 ]. Furthermore, in Rutter’s study a significant association between depression and anxiety with social media use has been detached [ 16 ]. Nevertheless, it is still unclear if social media use provoke anxiety or if anxiety is the cause of excessive use of social media [ 16 ]. Emergency department visits for mental health, including anxiety problems, has arisen since 2009, likely linked to the increased use and the harmful effect of social media [ 15 ]. On the contrary, physical activity may protect the young against the harmful effect of social media, preventing depression and anxiety [ 16 ].

In a scientific report, Muzaffar confirmed that an association between anxiety and social media is of note. In detail, increased adolescent generalized anxiety symptoms were associated with increased Facebook use and repetitive Facebook habits. Anxious adolescents may not be able to control their discomfort to the point that they need to regularly go back to check their previous posting on Facebook [ 70 ].

The constant connection to social networks through digital devices, on its side, potentially contributes to feelings of anxiety. Adolescents and children suffering from social anxiety may prefer to interact with texting, instant messaging, and emailing than over face-to-face interactions. However, the behavior may increase risk in individuals vulnerable to social anxiety disorder because substituting digital media for interpersonal communication to avoid feared situations may be reinforced over time, making the person even more avoidant and worsening the symptoms and severity of social anxiety disorder [ 18 ].

However, in some studies, not just overexposure but also underexposure to social media was associated with adolescent anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation [ 22 ].

4.9.2. After COVID-19 Pandemic

Screen time and social media use have increased during the pandemic. Social media has been helpful during lockdown to keep social relationships and not to discontinuate school activities. However, an excessive Internet use may negatively affect children and adolescents’ well being. So, during social lockdown, an elevated psychological distress and anxious symptoms have been described in schoolchildren who increased time spent on screen [ 32 , 33 ]. Children who increased by 15 or 30 min daily the time spent on internet presented a high level of psychological distress.

4.10. Social Media and Sex Related Problems

Studies have found social media use related to sexual problematic behaviors such as early sexual activity, exposure to pornography, and sexting. [ 21 , 22 , 26 , 50 , 51 , 71 , 72 , 73 , 74 ]. Table 9 summarizes the results ( Table 9 ).

Social media and sex related problems.

The prevalence of sex related problems cannot be accurately recorded as for a wide range of definition and sampling methods and the comparison among reports is difficult.

Especially for girls, higher social media use, associated with lower family affluence and poorer body image, are key to early sexual activity [ 71 ].

Social media use was found to be significantly associated with risky sexual behavior among pre-college students in Ethiopia. Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and other platforms have been identified as a factor that alters adolescent’s perception and influences them to engage in risky sexual behavior. Those who view sexually suggestive Facebook photos have a higher chance of having unprotected sexual intercourse and sex with strangers [ 72 ].

Moreover, youth can be exposed to unwanted sexual material online, including unwanted nude pictures or sexually explicit videos through means such as pop-up windows or spam e-mails [ 73 ].

Children exposed to inappropriate sexual content are prone to high-risk behaviors in subsequent sexual encounters. [ 22 ] Sexting activities may also affect emotional and social wellbeing of adolescents; it is correlated to depression and risky health behaviors, such as substance use, alcohol consumption, and suicide [ 26 , 50 ]. The odds of risky sexual behavior were 1.23 higher in social media user than in other students [ 72 ]. Furthermore, on the internet, pornography is readily accessible by media device, so that Wana found out that 7% of students use social media for pornography. In most cases, adolescents admit they intentionally viewed materials [ 74 ]. Pornographic media depict a fantasy world in which unrealistic encounters result in immediate sexual gratification, and intimate relationships are nonexistent. Repeated exposure of the adolescent brain to the world of online pornography can make it difficult for adolescents to develop mature healthy sexual relationships [ 22 ].

Internet pornography usage has been documented in adolescents before the age of 18. Online pornography is often the first source of sex education for many adolescents, and exposure to violent pornography increases the odds of sexually aggressive behavior [ 50 ]. Peer advice as well as substance abuse are significant predictor for risky sexual behavior [ 72 ].

Finally, among adolescents 10–19 years of age, the rate of sexting ranges from 5 to 22% [ 50 , 72 , 74 ].

Sexting is the use of media to send nude or sexualized contents such as texts, photos, or videos. An extensive sharing of these contents through technology has been connected with a negative impact on the emotional and social wellbeing of adolescents involved. An earlier sexual debut such as the use of drugs and promiscuity have been all associated to the excessive use of sexting. It can also cause spreading of sexual content material without consent, to a third party as a method of bullying or revenge [ 21 , 26 , 51 , 74 ].

4.11. Social Media and Behavioral Problems

Out of the reports, seven explored the influence of social media and behavioral problems [ 22 , 49 , 64 , 75 , 76 , 77 , 78 ]. Table 10 outlines the highlighted findings ( Table 10 ). Behavioral outcomes usually cover five areas, including hyperactivity/inattention, emotional symptoms, conduct problems, peer relationship, and pro-social behavior.

Social media and behavioral problems.

For children aged 10–15 years old, limited time on social media has no effect on most emotional and behavioral outcomes (and can even positively impact social relationships), while there are strong negative associations between very long hours on social media and increased emotional distress and worse behavioral outcomes, which continue for several years [ 75 ].

In accordance to McNamee, the study by Okada conducted in Japan [ 76 ] among children aged 9–10 years old highlighted that mobile devices usage time of less than 1 h was a protective factor for behavior problems in boys. Instead, the usage time of 1 h or more was a risk factor in girls. Among girls, a dose–response positive association was found between duration of mobile devices usage and total difficulty score. A U-shaped association was found between duration of mobile devices usage and behavioral problems in boys: moderate use of mobile devices might be a tool for relaxation or alleviating distress through interactions with peers. However, in the subscale analysis, boys who use two or more hours of mobile devices showed higher risk of emotional problems and peer problems [ 76 ].

Moreover, the social media violent content exposure may be a risk factor for violent and aggressive behaviors. In this context, levels of aggression are directly proportional to exposure of types of violent media content. Electronic and social media showing contents with fights, stealing, dead bodies, and people’s belongings being destroyed influence young viewers, as per observational-learning theory, making them believe that reacting aggressively in response to perception of any offense is acceptable [ 77 ].

In line with Tahir’s report, Maurer underlined a significant association between exposure to media violence and aggressive behavior, aggressive thoughts, angry feelings, and physiologic arousal. Media exposure is also negatively related to personal adjustment and school performance and positively related to risk-taking behaviors [ 22 ].

Another study confirmed that longer the time spent on screens, higher the risk for behavioral problems among children 9–10 years old, and depending on the content type visualization, the risk for an aggressive and rule-breaking behavior. This association was mediated by sleep duration: longer sleep duration was associated with fewer problem behaviors [ 64 ].

Challenges and risk-taking attitudes are frequent in child and youth culture. However, online challenges take on new meanings when mediated by digital sociability; they appear as a powerful communicative resource to reaffirm belonging, recognition, and audience adherence. They are a media strategy adopted by youth in the construction of an internet-mediated identity in which risk and violence are crucial devices in building a self-image capable of maintaining an audience. Nevertheless, they can involve potential self-inflicted injuries to participants, with risks ranging from minor to even lethal [ 78 ].

Finally, an emerging problem is the social phenomenon called Shakaiteki Hikikomori (social withdrawal). Most of them are males and they usually experience a social reclusion range from 1 to 4 years. They refuse to communicate even with their own family and spend even more than 12 h a day in front of a screen [ 49 ].

4.12. Social Media and Body Image

On social media platforms such as Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram, body image has become an important topic [ 17 , 25 , 45 , 46 , 50 , 73 ]. Table 11 summarized the evidence. ( Table 11 ). People post their most flattering photos and view those of others, creating an online environment that could be damaging to body image acceptance. Spending time on social media puts adolescents under a higher risk of comparing themselves to models that are more attractive. As a result, these unfavorable social comparisons of physical appearance may exacerbate body image apprehension [ 17 , 45 ].

Social media and body image.

Moreover, beauty trends are constantly reinforced through social media networks and image-editing tools are often used to alter images to fit beauty standards. Teenagers who, perhaps, are not aware of these digital changing made in commercial photos may become insecure of their image. This may reduce self-esteem and body satisfaction, mainly among adolescent girls, developing body image concerns, engaging in weight-modification behavior, and potentially developing eating disorders. Nowadays, adolescents, and, in particular, girls, need to fit “social media” standard for photo posting; they use to modify photos with specific programs in order to respect society beauty standard. In fact, 28% of girls aged 8–18 years admit to editing their photos to make themselves look more attractive prior to posting online [ 50 ].

In addition to social media causing body image problems, adolescents with body image misperception may look on the internet for advice on how to lose weight quickly. However, the suboptimal quality of online information contributes to the development of unhealthy eating attitudes and behaviors in young adolescents. It may be that the content of these sites promotes eating disorders by providing unhealthy weight loss advice [ 46 ].

Furthermore, the desire of perfection and selfie mania with repeated selfie can cause depression and self-harm. This is a typical symptom of body dysmorphic disorder [ 73 ].

Finally, this association between the use of social media, self-esteem and body image can be a correlation and not a cause-effect relation: girls with lower self-esteem and sensitive to body image complains may use social media more frequently than girls with a higher level of self-esteem. For example, users can make a “selective self-presentation” where they show themselves only in a positive way on their social media profiles [ 25 ].

4.13. Social Media and Physical Activity

Evidence supports a correlation between social media and physical activity [ 45 , 49 , 57 , 73 , 79 ]. Excessive use of smartphones and other digital devices can also cause physical problems, such as a more sedentary lifestyle [ 45 ], which is positively associated with childhood obesity. In addition, non-physiological postures assumed while using smartphones may lead to cervical rigidity and muscle pain resulting in neck strain or “Tech Neck”. Moreover, “texting thumb” is a form of tendinitis that comes from overusing the thumb from excessive texting, video gaming, and web browsing using a smartphone [ 49 , 73 ].

An Australian study found that non-organized physical activity declines between 11 and 13 years, especially in children with a large increase in activities of texting, emailing, social media, and other internet use [ 79 ].

Another study showed that problematic social media use is related to lower levels of vigorous physical activity, especially in girls [ 57 ].

In Table 12 are listed the reports related to this topic and their major content ( Table 12 ).

Social media and physical activity.

4.14. Online Grooming

Online grooming may be defined as a situation in which an adult builds a relationship with a minor finalized to a sexual abuse using social media. [ 47 , 80 ]. The risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder in the victims is of note and may affect mental and well-being of children and adolescents [ 80 ].

Children are more vulnerable online as they often escape their parents’ control and may be more willing to share information or pictures about themselves than in real life.

Online grooming, differently to offline sexual abuse, is simpler to perpetrate, due to internet’s technology and accessibility. Furthermore, often the perpetrator misrepresents himself as another child or teenager, in order to establish a trusting relationship [ 21 ].

Teenage girls appear to be more at risk, even if the proportion of male victims is considerable too. In general, minors with problematic internet use are at greater risk of being groomed.

Sexual solicitation has been found to be more common in children spending longer time on internet on weekdays, being involved in sexting, having strangers in social networks friends list, playing online games, and chats. The risk is high even for adolescents whose curiosity and unconsciousness set them at risk of being deceived [ 80 ].

Table 13 presents the reports related to this topic and their major content ( Table 13 ).

Social media and online grooming.

4.15. Social Media and Sight

Studies have investigated the risk of social media on sight, in terms of visual imbalance [ 22 , 49 , 73 ]. Evidence underlines that children can develop ocular disorders from excessive screen time, including myopia, eye fatigue, dryness, blurry vision, irritation, burning sensation, conjunctival injection, ocular redness, dry eye disease, decreased visual acuity, strain, fatigue acute acquired concomitant esotropia, and macular degeneration. During smartphone use, there is a reduction of the blink rate to 5–6/min that promotes tear evaporation and accommodation, leading to dry eye disease [ 49 , 73 ].

In addition, excessive screen time and less time spent outdoors may lead to early development of myopia, particularly with smartphone and tablet use [ 22 ].

Table 14 presents the reports related to this topic and their major content ( Table 14 ).

Social media and sight.

4.16. Social Media and Headache

There are increased complaints of headaches related to staring at a screen for too long [ 62 , 73 , 81 ]. Reports dealing with social media and headache are listed in Table 15 ( Table 15 ).

Social Media and headache.

Headache is actually the most common neurologic disorder in the population, children and adolescents included [ 81 ]. It may negatively impact on children and adolescents’ well-being, leading to stress, tiredness, anxiety, and bad mood. Time of usage of media device has been directly connected to headache: in particular, adolescents using more than 3 h a screen have a significantly higher risk of headache compared with those using a device for less than 2 h ( p < 0.001). Spending even 2–3 h with a computer significantly increases the chance of suffering a headache in comparison with those using a computer for less than 2 h ( p < 0.01). Excessive use of electronic devices is considered a risk factor, especially for the development of migraine-type headache ( p < 0.05) [ 81 ].

According to recent studies, headache and somatic symptoms have been found mostly in patients with problematic social media usage, compared with non-problematic peers. There is a consistent association between the problematic use of social media and adolescent psychosomatic health [ 62 , 73 ].

4.17. Social Media and Dental Caries

The association between use of internet and social media has been studied in literature [ 35 , 82 ]. Table 16 summarizes the main findings ( Table 16 ).

Social media and dental caries.

The association between use of internet social media to obtain oral health information and dental caries has been highlighted in Almoddahi’s report [ 82 ]. In detail, problematic internet use has been associated with unhealthy lifestyles, poor oral health behaviors, and more oral symptoms such as toothache, bleeding gums, and poor self-perceived oral health. Caries and junk food have been both connected to excessive internet use and ads [ 82 ]. Therefore, social media may be a risk factor for caries, poor oral health, and dental outcomes.

In line with Almoddahi, Radesky underlines that advertisements on social media promote intake of foods that contribute to dental caries, such as fast food and sugar beverages [ 35 ]. Nevertheless, evidence suggests that smartphone applications may improve health and oral health when internet-based health interventions are in place. Delivering oral health information via social media may increase tooth brushing and dental outcome [ 82 ].

5. Limitations

From the literature, it is not possible to decide whether social media use causes internalizing symptoms and problematic behaviors examined in this manuscript or whether children and adolescents suffering from depression, anxiety, or other psychological distress are more likely to spend time on social media. We can just state that there is an association between social media use and health problems, but that is not necessarily cause-effect. Moreover, the articles included are different, ranging from reviewers to clinical studies to letters and to editors, so that it may be difficult to accurately compare them. Third, as specified in the materials and methods, we excluded reports not in English letter and not published in PubMed.

Nevertheless, through our manuscript we contribute to the existing literature to highlighting the impact of social media use on adolescents, providing advices to pediatricians in everyday practice.

6. Conclusions

Social media is increasingly being used by children and adolescents, especially during COVID-19 pandemic and the health emergency. Although social media use demonstrated to be of utility, an excessive or non-correct use may be a risk factor for mental health, including depression, anxiety, and addiction.

Social media use may also correlate to a non-adequate nutrition with consumption of junk food marketing leading to weight gain, obesity, dental caries, and unhealthy eating behaviors. Associations have been found also with increasing physical problems due to sedentary lifestyle, obesity, and non-physiological postures. On the other hand, social media can cause problems with body image visualization and acceptance, especially in young adolescent girls with lower self-esteem, who may look for contents for losing weight rapidly, and this can help the extension of anorexia disorders.

Children and adolescents who use social media for many hours a day, are also at higher risk for behavioral problems, cyberbullying, online grooming, sleep difficulties, eye problems, (such as myopia, eye fatigue, dryness, blurry vision, irritation, burning sensation, conjunctival injection, ocular redness, and dry eye disease), and headache. Moreover, uncontrolled social media use, can lead to sexting, exposure to pornography, exposed to unwanted sexual material online, and early sexual activity. Social media users meet more online risks than their peers do, with an increased risk for those who are more digitally competence.

Public and medical awareness must rise over this topic and new prevention measures must be found, starting with health practitioners, caregivers, and websites/application developers. Families should be educating on the dangers and concerns of having children and adolescence online. Prerequisite to inform families how to handle social media is to educate those responsible for training, including health practitioners. In detail, pediatricians should be reminded to screen for media exposure (amount and content) during periodic check-up visits. They need to keep in mind a potential correlation of problematic social media use with depression, obesity and unhealthy eating behavior, psychological problems, sleep disorder, addiction, anxiety, sex related problem, behavioral problem, body image, physical inactivity, online grooming, sight compromising, headache, and dental caries. Pediatricians can also counsel parents to guide children to appropriate content by consulting ratings, reviews, plot descriptions, and by a previous screening of the material. They should inform parents about the potential risk of digital commerce to facilitate junk food, poor nutrition and sweetened aliments, facilitating overweight and obesity. On the contrary, a healthy diet, adequate physical activity and sleep need to be recommended. Pediatricians may also play a role in preventing cyberbullying by educating both adolescent and families on appropriate online behaviors and on privacy respect. They should also promote a face-to-face communication and to limit online communication by social media. Pediatricians may encourage parents to develop rules and strategies about media device and social media use at home as well as in every day’s life.

Funding Statement

This research received no external funding.

Author Contributions

Conceptualization: E.B.; methodology: S.B.; formal analysis G.S. and A.D.M.; Resources R.A. and R.R.; writing E.S. and A.V.D.S.; visualization: C.C.; editing: A.S.; supervision G.C. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.

Institutional Review Board Statement

Not applicable.

Informed Consent Statement

Data availability statement, conflicts of interest.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Publisher’s Note: MDPI stays neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

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  • How to Write a Literature Review | Guide, Examples, & Templates

How to Write a Literature Review | Guide, Examples, & Templates

Published on January 2, 2023 by Shona McCombes . Revised on September 11, 2023.

What is a literature review? A literature review is a survey of scholarly sources on a specific topic. It provides an overview of current knowledge, allowing you to identify relevant theories, methods, and gaps in the existing research that you can later apply to your paper, thesis, or dissertation topic .

There are five key steps to writing a literature review:

  • Search for relevant literature
  • Evaluate sources
  • Identify themes, debates, and gaps
  • Outline the structure
  • Write your literature review

A good literature review doesn’t just summarize sources—it analyzes, synthesizes , and critically evaluates to give a clear picture of the state of knowledge on the subject.

Table of contents

What is the purpose of a literature review, examples of literature reviews, step 1 – search for relevant literature, step 2 – evaluate and select sources, step 3 – identify themes, debates, and gaps, step 4 – outline your literature review’s structure, step 5 – write your literature review, free lecture slides, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions, introduction.

  • Quick Run-through
  • Step 1 & 2

When you write a thesis , dissertation , or research paper , you will likely have to conduct a literature review to situate your research within existing knowledge. The literature review gives you a chance to:

  • Demonstrate your familiarity with the topic and its scholarly context
  • Develop a theoretical framework and methodology for your research
  • Position your work in relation to other researchers and theorists
  • Show how your research addresses a gap or contributes to a debate
  • Evaluate the current state of research and demonstrate your knowledge of the scholarly debates around your topic.

Writing literature reviews is a particularly important skill if you want to apply for graduate school or pursue a career in research. We’ve written a step-by-step guide that you can follow below.

Literature review guide

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Writing literature reviews can be quite challenging! A good starting point could be to look at some examples, depending on what kind of literature review you’d like to write.

  • Example literature review #1: “Why Do People Migrate? A Review of the Theoretical Literature” ( Theoretical literature review about the development of economic migration theory from the 1950s to today.)
  • Example literature review #2: “Literature review as a research methodology: An overview and guidelines” ( Methodological literature review about interdisciplinary knowledge acquisition and production.)
  • Example literature review #3: “The Use of Technology in English Language Learning: A Literature Review” ( Thematic literature review about the effects of technology on language acquisition.)
  • Example literature review #4: “Learners’ Listening Comprehension Difficulties in English Language Learning: A Literature Review” ( Chronological literature review about how the concept of listening skills has changed over time.)

You can also check out our templates with literature review examples and sample outlines at the links below.

Download Word doc Download Google doc

Before you begin searching for literature, you need a clearly defined topic .

If you are writing the literature review section of a dissertation or research paper, you will search for literature related to your research problem and questions .

Make a list of keywords

Start by creating a list of keywords related to your research question. Include each of the key concepts or variables you’re interested in, and list any synonyms and related terms. You can add to this list as you discover new keywords in the process of your literature search.

  • Social media, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, TikTok
  • Body image, self-perception, self-esteem, mental health
  • Generation Z, teenagers, adolescents, youth

Search for relevant sources

Use your keywords to begin searching for sources. Some useful databases to search for journals and articles include:

  • Your university’s library catalogue
  • Google Scholar
  • Project Muse (humanities and social sciences)
  • Medline (life sciences and biomedicine)
  • EconLit (economics)
  • Inspec (physics, engineering and computer science)

You can also use boolean operators to help narrow down your search.

Make sure to read the abstract to find out whether an article is relevant to your question. When you find a useful book or article, you can check the bibliography to find other relevant sources.

You likely won’t be able to read absolutely everything that has been written on your topic, so it will be necessary to evaluate which sources are most relevant to your research question.

For each publication, ask yourself:

  • What question or problem is the author addressing?
  • What are the key concepts and how are they defined?
  • What are the key theories, models, and methods?
  • Does the research use established frameworks or take an innovative approach?
  • What are the results and conclusions of the study?
  • How does the publication relate to other literature in the field? Does it confirm, add to, or challenge established knowledge?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of the research?

Make sure the sources you use are credible , and make sure you read any landmark studies and major theories in your field of research.

You can use our template to summarize and evaluate sources you’re thinking about using. Click on either button below to download.

Take notes and cite your sources

As you read, you should also begin the writing process. Take notes that you can later incorporate into the text of your literature review.

It is important to keep track of your sources with citations to avoid plagiarism . It can be helpful to make an annotated bibliography , where you compile full citation information and write a paragraph of summary and analysis for each source. This helps you remember what you read and saves time later in the process.

To begin organizing your literature review’s argument and structure, be sure you understand the connections and relationships between the sources you’ve read. Based on your reading and notes, you can look for:

  • Trends and patterns (in theory, method or results): do certain approaches become more or less popular over time?
  • Themes: what questions or concepts recur across the literature?
  • Debates, conflicts and contradictions: where do sources disagree?
  • Pivotal publications: are there any influential theories or studies that changed the direction of the field?
  • Gaps: what is missing from the literature? Are there weaknesses that need to be addressed?

This step will help you work out the structure of your literature review and (if applicable) show how your own research will contribute to existing knowledge.

  • Most research has focused on young women.
  • There is an increasing interest in the visual aspects of social media.
  • But there is still a lack of robust research on highly visual platforms like Instagram and Snapchat—this is a gap that you could address in your own research.

There are various approaches to organizing the body of a literature review. Depending on the length of your literature review, you can combine several of these strategies (for example, your overall structure might be thematic, but each theme is discussed chronologically).


The simplest approach is to trace the development of the topic over time. However, if you choose this strategy, be careful to avoid simply listing and summarizing sources in order.

Try to analyze patterns, turning points and key debates that have shaped the direction of the field. Give your interpretation of how and why certain developments occurred.

If you have found some recurring central themes, you can organize your literature review into subsections that address different aspects of the topic.

For example, if you are reviewing literature about inequalities in migrant health outcomes, key themes might include healthcare policy, language barriers, cultural attitudes, legal status, and economic access.


If you draw your sources from different disciplines or fields that use a variety of research methods , you might want to compare the results and conclusions that emerge from different approaches. For example:

  • Look at what results have emerged in qualitative versus quantitative research
  • Discuss how the topic has been approached by empirical versus theoretical scholarship
  • Divide the literature into sociological, historical, and cultural sources


A literature review is often the foundation for a theoretical framework . You can use it to discuss various theories, models, and definitions of key concepts.

You might argue for the relevance of a specific theoretical approach, or combine various theoretical concepts to create a framework for your research.

Like any other academic text , your literature review should have an introduction , a main body, and a conclusion . What you include in each depends on the objective of your literature review.

The introduction should clearly establish the focus and purpose of the literature review.

Depending on the length of your literature review, you might want to divide the body into subsections. You can use a subheading for each theme, time period, or methodological approach.

As you write, you can follow these tips:

  • Summarize and synthesize: give an overview of the main points of each source and combine them into a coherent whole
  • Analyze and interpret: don’t just paraphrase other researchers — add your own interpretations where possible, discussing the significance of findings in relation to the literature as a whole
  • Critically evaluate: mention the strengths and weaknesses of your sources
  • Write in well-structured paragraphs: use transition words and topic sentences to draw connections, comparisons and contrasts

In the conclusion, you should summarize the key findings you have taken from the literature and emphasize their significance.

When you’ve finished writing and revising your literature review, don’t forget to proofread thoroughly before submitting. Not a language expert? Check out Scribbr’s professional proofreading services !

This article has been adapted into lecture slides that you can use to teach your students about writing a literature review.

Scribbr slides are free to use, customize, and distribute for educational purposes.

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If you want to know more about the research process , methodology , research bias , or statistics , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.

  • Sampling methods
  • Simple random sampling
  • Stratified sampling
  • Cluster sampling
  • Likert scales
  • Reproducibility


  • Null hypothesis
  • Statistical power
  • Probability distribution
  • Effect size
  • Poisson distribution

Research bias

  • Optimism bias
  • Cognitive bias
  • Implicit bias
  • Hawthorne effect
  • Anchoring bias
  • Explicit bias

A literature review is a survey of scholarly sources (such as books, journal articles, and theses) related to a specific topic or research question .

It is often written as part of a thesis, dissertation , or research paper , in order to situate your work in relation to existing knowledge.

There are several reasons to conduct a literature review at the beginning of a research project:

  • To familiarize yourself with the current state of knowledge on your topic
  • To ensure that you’re not just repeating what others have already done
  • To identify gaps in knowledge and unresolved problems that your research can address
  • To develop your theoretical framework and methodology
  • To provide an overview of the key findings and debates on the topic

Writing the literature review shows your reader how your work relates to existing research and what new insights it will contribute.

The literature review usually comes near the beginning of your thesis or dissertation . After the introduction , it grounds your research in a scholarly field and leads directly to your theoretical framework or methodology .

A literature review is a survey of credible sources on a topic, often used in dissertations , theses, and research papers . Literature reviews give an overview of knowledge on a subject, helping you identify relevant theories and methods, as well as gaps in existing research. Literature reviews are set up similarly to other  academic texts , with an introduction , a main body, and a conclusion .

An  annotated bibliography is a list of  source references that has a short description (called an annotation ) for each of the sources. It is often assigned as part of the research process for a  paper .  

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Trending Social Media Research Topics To Write a Great Paper

Social Media Research Topics

Social media is a recent addition to our general social framework. However, it soon emerged as one of the most indispensable tools for people to connect with one another, fun businesses, and even find their own voice. Most importantly, it has become an extension of our community today, making it one of the most talked-about subjects in sociology and psychology.

In an age where social platforms and networks are prevalent, writing a social media research paper is inevitable. Despite its prevalence, students may still find it challenging to come up with a good topic. This piece seeks to provide you with good social media research paper topics. You can choose the best topic and make any of the social media platforms a case study.

Writing About Social Media Research Topics

Although it is a fairly new subject, there have been several social media research papers over the past decade that study the overall impact of this new medium of communication on people of all ages.

The advantage of choosing research questions about social media is that it is a topic that is very current and trending. While social media has changed the way we communicate, it has also had a huge impact on the way people think and behave. Social media offers great scope for research because there have been several conversations about this impact. Even today, people are divided in their opinion about social media. While most agree that it has opened up a world of opportunities, it is impossible to ignore the psychological impact that it has had, especially on the younger demographic.

If you find yourself thinking, “Will someone do my homework for me?”—worry no more. Our professional writing service is here to assist you. We offer expert help with social media research topics, providing well-researched and insightful papers.

How to Select Social Media Research Topic

If you have a sociology paper due, here are some simple tips that will help you choose the right research topics on social media:

  • Write on a topic that is trending: For instance, you can explore the role of social media during the pandemic. It became a very useful tool to share vital information while it was also instrumental in opening up a platform for creating panic through misinformation.
  • Look for topics that everyone can relate to: When you think of a social media research topic, you tend to think of subjects that are associated with youngsters. However, social media has influenced people of all age groups. You can write topics like making the transition from regular communication tools to social media for the older age group. You can also explore the primary differences between the digital generation and the older generation. These subjects give you a lot more material for research and writing.  You should also ensure you have a piece of firsthand information on social media platforms that can serve as your case studies.
  • Argumentative subjects give you maximum material: The best thing about social media research topics is that they give you a host of argumentative subjects. As mentioned before, this is a subject that has a lot of divided opinions. Choose one topic that is trending and has dual opinions among the general population. This gives you great scope for data collection, research, and of course, writing a great paper.
  • Make sure the subject interests you: This, of course, is the most basic rule when it comes to writing any research paper. Make sure that you try to answer questions that you personally have about social media and its impact on the world. You can even choose specific subjects like the impact of social media on advertising and marketing in the modern world. Try combining a topic that interests you and associate with social media in different ways possible to find the perfect title for your research paper.

Social Media Addiction Research Topics

This is one of the first subjects that come to mind when one discusses social media. With most people being addicted to their smartphone and primarily social media, this is one of the favorite research topics on social media:

  • Social media addiction: Primary causes
  • The rising concern of social media addiction among school students
  • How social media addiction is impacting creativity
  • How does social media addiction reduce productivity among employees
  • The effect of social media addiction on the general health of the human population.
  • Is social media addiction a primary cause for several psychological disorders?
  • What is the impact of social media addiction on the general population?
  • The relationship between obesity and social media addiction.
  • How does social media addiction impact the sleep cycle
  • The negative impact of social media addiction

Social Media and Mental Health Research Topics

Is social media a primary cause for the rapid increase in mental health issues the world over? These research paper topics explore different angles to this important question.

  • How can social media affect mental health positively?
  • Is social media the cause of increasing mental health issues?
  • What is the relationship between social media and mental health?
  • Has social media contributed to growing cases of narcissism?
  • How has social media affected the confidence levels of youngsters?
  • Has social media been impactful in improving awareness about mental health?
  • Is social media a good place to discuss personal issues like mental health issues?
  • Has social media made it easier for people to talk about mental health issues?
  • Why does social media cause mental health issues?
  • Is social media addiction a common mental health issue today?

Social Media and Body Image Research Topics

Social media and scientific research has focused on the impact that this medium has had on the body image of men and women with celebrities and influencers setting unrealistic goals through social media.

  • Celebrity influencers increase body image issues among youngsters
  • Social media is responsible for reduced body image among youngsters.
  • Bullying on social media is responsible for body image issues.
  • People are subject to more body shaming these days because of social media.
  • Social media and the need to look great all the time. Your comments.
  • Social media and how easily it influences people
  • Information overload on social media is responsible for body image issues
  • Hate on social media is the primary cause for body image issues
  • Are body image issues and social media addiction related?
  • How can influencers be more effective in improving body image among followers?
  • Do influencers have a responsibility towards their followers?
  • Social media is the primary source of validation in the world today.
  • Social media and the need to please. What is the association?
  • Why are people so aggressive on social media?

Social Media Marketing Research Topics

Social media has changed the way we market and advertise products. You can write detailed academic research on it based on this subject. The following are social media research paper topics to consider:

  • The impact of social media on marketing
  • Has marketing become cheaper because of social media
  • Is social media responsible for increasing start-ups
  • Is social media better than traditional marketing?
  • How can social media be used effectively for marketing?
  • Social media influencers, the new superstars for brands. Your comments.
  • How social media has made business more accessible.
  • Best social media marketing practices
  • How social media marketing has uncovered new job opportunities.
  • The best thing about social media

Social Media Psychology Research Topics

How has social media affected various age groups and demographics psychologically? This simple question gives you a host of research topics on social media.

  • Has social media played a role in the increasing suicide rates the world over?
  • Has social media brought unknown mental health issues to light?
  • Depression and social media
  • Does social media cause anxiety?
  • Social media makes you lose grip on reality. Your thoughts?
  • Has social media affected buying behaviors?
  • How influencers use psychological tools to build followers.
  • Why do people feel the need to check social media so many times each day?
  • The relationship between social media and aggression.
  • Social media and growing inferiority complex

 Ethical Issues In Social Media Research Topics

One of the most widely used subjects for research questions about social media, you can explore a range of ideas:

  • Should photoshopped images on social media be banned?
  • The use of cookies. Is it ethical?
  • Should there be stricter guidelines for language usage on social media?
  • The unethical side to social media marketing
  • Are the current features for reporting abuse on social media enough?
  • How are copyrights violated on social media?
  • Plagiarism and social media.
  • Should social media content be censored?
  • What should the age limit for entering social media be and why?

Dopamine and Social Media Research Topics

The link between social media and dopamine is said to make it addictive. There have been several research papers on this subject that you can draw inspiration from for your own social media research paper topic. The following are social media research paper topics to consider:

  • The relationship between dopamine and social media
  • Each like on social media is as addictive as using drugs. Write your thoughts backed by research.
  • The similarities between social media addiction and drug abuse
  • Is social media addiction an indication of other underlying mental health issues?
  • How does social media addiction impact relationships?
  • Is loneliness the cause for increased dependence on social media?
  • Why is social media so addictive?
  • Ways to manage social media addiction
  • What are the signs of social media addiction?

Mass Media Research Topics

Here is a list of general topics that you can make use of to write great social media research papers:

  • How new tools are being developed each day to improve social media marketing.
  • Is traditional marketing dead because of social media?
  • Is social media an effective form of mass media
  • How mass media changed since the advent of social media
  • A brief timeline of social media and how it changed the world.
  • Using social media to dispense news. Is it a good idea?
  • How social media influences political ideologies.
  • Why social media should be governed by stricter rules
  • How will media change in the coming 20 years?

For any more assistance on assignment writing, get in touch with us today. From finding the latest social media topics to preparing a well-structured paper, we take care of it all for you. Our experts are always ready to help, whether you need guidance or have a request to “ do my homework for me ” Rest assured that we are dedicated to providing you with the best research paper and ensuring your academic success. If you need help with your assignment , our expert writers are here for you. Contact us now and let our professionals handle your assignment with expertise.

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220 Excellent Social Media Essay Topics for Students

Table of Contents

Would you have to prepare a social media essay? Are you looking for the best social media essay topics? If yes, then take a look at this blog post. Here, we have suggested a list of 200+ outstanding social media essay topics and ideas. In addition to that, we have also explained the effective ways to write a detailed social media essay with proper evidence and citations.

In recent times, social media is one of the trending subjects considered widely for academic discussion and essay writing assignments. Particularly, after the advent of the internet, social media plays a vital role in connecting millions of people across the globe. Besides establishing a social connection, some popular social media platforms like Whatsapp, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, LinkedIn, and many more also help people in various ways. Even though social media applications are beneficial, it also has many disadvantages. So, when writing academic papers on social media topics, you will get a wide scope of discussion.

Keep on reading to know more about social media essay writing.

Social Media Essay Topics

How to Write a Social Media Essay?

Are you unaware of how to write a social media essay? Cool! To come up with a great social media essay, follow the below-mentioned social media essay writing steps in order.

  • First, read and understand the essay writing instructions shared by your educator.
  • Matching your educator’s essay writing guidelines, search and find a compelling social media essay topic.
  • Perform deep research on the selected essay topic and gather the key points for discussion.
  • Identify a strong thesis statement relevant to your topic.
  • Prepare a neat and clear essay outline with essential sections such as an introduction, body, and conclusion.
  • Begin writing the essay by organizing your ideas in a proper structure.
  • Write an introductory paragraph by including a catchy hook, brief background information on the essay topic, and a thesis statement. For the opening hook sentence of an essay, you can use statistics, facts, or famous quotes.
  • Craft the body paragraphs by explaining all the major points related to your thesis statement with valid evidence or examples.
  • Close the essay with a conclusion paragraph. The conclusion should contain a summary of all the main points and a thesis restatement.
  • Double-check the entire essay content and edit the errors in it. The final draft of the essay that is ready for submission should be free from errors and should not contain any plagiarism issues.

By following all these steps, you can craft an excellent social media research paper or essay. To escape from plagiarism issues, include a reference page at the end of the essay and cite all the sources that you have used in the essay. Note that, the social media essay you write should be simple, logical, and concise.

Social Media Essay Topic Selection

When it comes to writing an outstanding social media essay, give a high level of importance to the topic selection step. Selecting a social media essay topic will not appear tough for you when you have a clear idea of how to present your thoughts.

Basically, while you are in the topic selection phase, first decide on what social media essay type you are going to craft your content. If you know your essay type, then you can easily select a topic of that type and define your writing style.

Some common social essay types include Argumentative Social Media Essays, Satire Social Media Essays, and Persuasive Social Media essays. From all these three social media essay types, you can choose a topic from any type based on your writing skills and interest. But remember, it is not mandatory for you to select a topic of these types. You can also select general descriptive essay topics on social media and craft the essay in a writing style that is persuasive, argumentative, or satirical.

Social Media Essay Topics and Ideas

We all know how important a topic is for an essay. Especially for writing a social media essay, there are plenty of social media essay topics available on various essay types. But to search and find the right essay topic, you should invest more time and effort.

As topic selection is a time-consuming task, to make your search process easier, here we have suggested a list of the best social media essay topic ideas.

If you are running short of ideas, feel free to go through the entire list below and pick the social media essay topic that is convenient for you to write about.

Social Media Essay Topics

Simple Social Media Essay Topics

  • Discuss the impact of social media on society.
  • Is social media strengthening relationship bonds or breaking them?
  • Explain the positive and negative effects of social media.
  • Describe the world before and after social media.
  • Explain the effective ways to overcome social media addiction.
  • Is social media causing more harm than good?
  • What are the causes and effects of social media?
  • Is social media a social problem or a social solution?
  • Discuss the pros and cons of using social media.
  • Is social media bad for society?
  • Facebook versus Twitter: Which is a better platform to know about political news
  • Discuss the pros and cons of Facebook Messenger
  • YouTube is the best social networking platform to promote a brand
  • Social media is breaking the communication barriers: Explain
  • Political parties and their policies get significantly influenced by social media

Easy Social Media Essay Topics

  • Describe how social media influences revolution and activism across the world
  • Discuss the impact of the rapid circulation of hate speech on social media platforms
  • How do child traffickers use social media?
  • Discuss the effect of social media on social relationships and happiness
  • Discuss the impact of social media on the practices related to public relations
  • Effects of Lack of Social Media Marketing on Papa Pita Bakery.
  • The Internet as social media: connectivity and immediacy
  • The role of social media in promoting healthy/unhealthy lifestyles, beauty image
  • Does social media promote or harm real-life communication?
  • The Effects of Technology on Humans: Social Media
  • Influence of social media on the food culture in America
  • How the fashion industry embraces social media?
  • What is the role of the social media network in changing the attitudes of the youth of Australia?
  • What is the influence of social media on customer behavior in the electron sector?
  • Is social media used for mass surveillance?

Interesting Essay Topics on Social Media

  • Do social media promote radicalization?
  • What are the great things we owe to social media?
  • Are social media sites killing the productivity of humans?
  • Is social media corrupting the idea of democracy?
  • Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of Facebook.
  • Is social media aiding cyberbullying?
  • Why is Twitter popular among celebrities?
  • Explain the regulation of social media to produce a balanced society.
  • Why do professionals use LinkedIn?
  • Discuss the adverse impact of social media that we should fight against.
  • Can the world survive without social media?
  • Discuss the effect of fake identities on social media.
  • Do social media create isolation?
  • Is social media promoting an unhealthy lifestyle?
  • Influence of social media promotion on Brands

Argumentative Essay Topics on Social Media

  • Discuss the advantages of disadvantages of using social media posts while making judgments
  • Is social media responsible for fueling online prostitution and sexual exploitation?
  • Discuss the impact of accessing social media networking sites on workers’ productivity
  • The Role of social media in Cyberbullying
  • Is social media used for  mass surveillance ? Why shouldn’t/should better be used this way?
  • Ethnicity and Self Representation in social media: When cultures merge.
  • Influence of social media on the purchase decision of the younger generation in the Regions of Saudi Arabia
  • How do Internet communication and social media influence politics and social awareness in the world?
  • The significance of social media on children and teenagers as well as in modern marketing.
  • What are the implications of social media on communication patterns?
  • Discuss the hate culture on social networking platforms.
  • Can social media dating be considered real?
  • How has social media transformed psychological education?
  • What is the weaponization of social media?
  • Are social media making people more self-centered?
  • What are the negative psychological effects caused by social media?
  • Why children should not have social media?
  • Explain how immigration is portrayed in social media.
  • How does humor affect mental health in social media?
  • Why is social media bad?

Social Media Essay Ideas on Business

  • Is social media websites a good source of political information?
  • Discuss the impact of social media fame on a person’s life.
  • Explain the connection between social media use and body image perception.
  • Positive and negative effects of social media (human society perspective)
  • Has Social media led to more time wastage than any other activity?
  • Is there a difference between life portrayed on Instagram and real life?
  • Is social media affecting learning in schools?
  • How to use social media change future of the worldwide politics?
  • The Role of social media in Internet Communication in Dubai Public sector company
  • Explain the process of hiring through social media.
  • Is YouTube the best place to earn money?
  • Discuss the significance of social media online presence for individuals and businesses.
  • What is the impact of aggressive marketing on T.V. and social media?
  • Write about business promotions on social media.
  • Has social media opened a new business way?

Social Media Essay Topics on Youth

  • Is social media the best platform to do business?
  • Discuss the impact of social media on business.
  • How has social media made digital media marketing possible?
  • How has social media changed the world of business?
  • Why should parents not allow minors on social media without supervision?
  • Are teenagers more comfortable talking on social media rather than face-to-face?
  • What is the right age to join social media?
  • How has social media affected youth’s moral behavior?
  • Should under-aged children be allowed to own social media accounts?
  • What is the impact of social media on education?
  • Should youths be cautious about what they post online?
  • Discuss the impact of social media on youth.
  • Is social media a source of depression in young people?
  • How has social media changed education?
  • Do social media affect delinquency?

Persuasive Essay Topics on Social Media

  • Why do social media make you insecure?
  • What are the benefits of multilingual people in creating discourse in social media?
  • What Social Media Info Helps or Hurts Your Job Prospects?
  • Why Should Social Media Have Better Age Restrictions?
  • Why Should People Join Social Media?
  • Can Social Media Help Save the Environment?
  • How Has Social Media Influenced Hip-hop Culture?
  • What is the role of social media in building brand loyalty?
  • Is social media contributing to loneliness?
  • Discuss the impact of social media on food culture.
  • Explain the social media issues related to race and religion.
  • What is the real value of social media?
  • Explain the impact of social media on public relations practice.
  • Is it good to post personal information on Social Media platforms?
  • Explain the account Management problems in Social Media.

Amazing Social Media Essay Topics

  • Do social media enhance happiness?
  • Write about stalking on social media.
  • What is the role of social media in promoting real estate?
  • Do social media influence activism and revolution on the world stage?
  • How do social media influence social awareness in the world?
  • Will social media change the future of international politics?
  • Discuss the effect of social media on the purchase decision of people.
  • Write about privacy in Social Media.
  • Should educational institutions block social media sites on their laboratory computers?
  • Explain the impact of social media within the workplace
  • How can social media change the attitude of youths?
  • Talk about the freedom of speech in social media.
  • What is the role of social media in the life of a musician?
  • Is the fashion industry embracing social media?
  • How to promote a cause using social media?

Top-rated Social Media Essay Ideas

  • Explain the relevant theories that support the political power of social media.
  • What are the different social media platforms?
  • How do social media lead to rebellious social movements?
  • Has social media killed in-person conversations?
  • Describe the culture of photography on social media.
  • Is it possible to live life without social media?
  • What are the security risks involved in social media?
  • Is social media bad for relationships?
  • Is social media promoting social division?
  • Talk about the crimes that happen through social media.
  • Has social media increased employment rates?

Captivating Social Media Essay Topics

  • Has social media destroyed real-life communication?
  • Is social media an effective platform for communication?
  • Is social media building complexes in people?
  • Should social media sites be banned?
  • What is the role of social media in the contemporary world?
  • How social media is helpful in learning a second language?
  • How to create an identity using social media?
  • Discuss the rumors in social media and their impact on people.
  • What are the ethical issues associated with social media?
  • Write about fake news in the age of social media.
  • Social Media and the shopping behavior of college students
  • Do social media spoil family relationships?
  • Should there be a kid-friendly social media website?
  • Talk about student cross-cultural activism in social media.
  • Direct selling on social media platforms.

Excellent Social Media Essay Topics

  • Is social media a good theatre platform?
  • Social media communication and friendship.
  • Youth’s aggression and social media.
  • What are the adverse impacts of social media on women?
  • Discuss the legislative rules of online networking in the United States.
  • Instagram is a source of narcissism and low self-esteem-Discuss.
  • Explain the economic aspect of Facebook and Twitter.
  • Are social networks effective in solving human health or life problems?
  • Online classes in Messenger App and Distance Learning.
  • Does a strong social media profile help to get better employment?
  • Is it possible to cope with social media addiction?
  • Is Twitter going to make newspapers obsolete?
  • How does Facebook help the voices of vulnerable populations to be heard?
  • How do people use social networking during calamities?
  • Discuss the role of social media in eating disorders.

Great Social Media Research Paper Topics

  • Explain the effects of social media on policymaking.
  • How do social media affect women’s self-image?
  • Discuss the significance of social media in organizations.
  • Discuss the impact of social media on online journalism.
  • How has social media affected elections?
  • Analyze the body shaming of teens on social media.
  • Discuss the impact of social media on revenue management in the hotel industry.
  • Does the social media influence depend on gender?
  • How social media has influenced the growth of the make-up industry?
  • How social media affects you from getting a job?
  • Discuss the impact of social media on artists.
  • How to make a friend and maintain a good friendship on social media?
  • Social media is becoming an addiction for the young generation: Why or why not
  • Social media is a source of fake and manipulated news: Explain with real examples
  • Discuss the positive impact of social media sites during natural disasters

Unique Social Media Thesis Topics

  • Analyze the power of social media on green consumption.
  • Should we rely on social media to promote social justice?
  • Should individuals be prosecuted for their statements on social media?
  • How is social media challenging fidelity within marriage?
  • Explain the use of social media in healthcare.
  • Discuss the role of social media in the death of teens from suicide.
  • Is social media becoming the most powerful force in global politics?
  • Explain the role of social media during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Explain how brands use social media influencers.
  • In what way the social media addiction affects the academic outcomes of students?
  • What is the impact of social media on the development of ecotourism?
  • Life was better and more socially responsible before the invention of social networking sites – Agree or disagree
  • What should be the appropriate etiquette to consider while using social media?
  • The impact of social media on mental health and well-being.
  • The role of social media in political campaigns and elections.

Informative Social Media Discussion Topics

  • Discuss why Tik Tok is of the top popular social networks.
  • Talk about social media in the workplace for military personnel.
  • Explain how social media has changed marketing in the past 5 years.
  • Compare the overall popularity of social media with the use of the internet worldwide.
  • Explain the role of social media in today’s economy.
  • Is social media one of the worst things that have happened to the world?
  • What are the psychological harms that social media causes?
  • Why shouldn’t kids use social media?
  • Describe how social media portrays immigration.
  • What impact does comedy have on mental health in online forums?
  • Are social media platforms a reliable source of political news?
  • Talk about how social media fame affects a person’s life.
  • Describe the relationship between using social media and how people perceive their bodies.
  • Why shouldn’t parents prevent their children from using social media unsupervised?
  • Social media or face-to-face conversations are teens more comfortable with?

The Bottom Line

We hope you have identified a good topic from the list of social media essay topics recommended above. In case, you haven’t selected a good social media essay topic or if you don’t know how to write an impressive social media essay, then reach out to us for assignment writing help . In our team, we have skilled essay writers to assist you in preparing a top-quality social media essay as per your requirements on time and at a fair price.

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This article is part of the research topic.

Digital Participation and Communication Disorders across the Lifespan

Digital Participation in TBI: A Scoping Review about Assessment Tools for CMC

  • 1 Institute for German Philology, Faculty of Linguistics and Literature, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Germany
  • 2 Private Practice Speech-Language Therapy, Germany
  • 3 Neurological Clinic Department of Speech-Language-Therapy, Germany

The final, formatted version of the article will be published soon.

Background: Individuals with chronic traumatic brain injury (TBI) are often affected by communication disorders which might have an impact on their social participation. Due to possible cognitive and communicative disabilities, as well as impairments of social cognitive skills, individuals with TBI (IwTBI) have been observed to exhibit difficulties in maintaining and establishing social relationships, resulting in a greater risk of social isolation. This applies to both inperson as well as computer-mediated communication (CMC), which is considered an integral part of everyday life. Research on digital participation in the TBI population has focused on the possible challenges and barriers, but also on the benefits of CMC for social interactions. However, there is no overview of whether the available instruments can capture digital aspects of participation or social media use in TBI. Aim: In this scoping review we aimed to provide an overview over currently available instruments that help assess CMC use as a measure of digital participation in the TBI population. Method: Relevant databases were screened for publications between the years 2013 and 2023 with relevant search terms referring to social participation, assessment tools, CMC and the target group, in order to find suitable tools to assess digital participation in IwTBI. In a multistage selection process following the PRISMA criteria, the instruments found were examined in terms of items that assess digital participation. The outcome of the review is an overview of the status quo of potentially available instruments that capture aspects of CMC. Results: Following a screening on title/ abstract and full-text level, a total of 10 studies could be identified that present assessment tools that evaluate CMC use as a measure of digital participation in the TBI population. Conclusion: Digital participation is an important aspect of everyday lives for IwTBI. CMC should be an integral part of rehabilitation. The existing appropriate questionnaires uncovered in the current study should be applied routinely to detect impairments in CMC and digital participation. Overall, however, there is still a great need for research in the field of CMC, both regarding methods for measuring digital participation disorders as well as resources.

Keywords: Digital participation, computer-mediated communication, Traumatic Brain Injury, cognitive communication disorders, Assessment tools

Received: 11 May 2023; Accepted: 13 Nov 2023.

Copyright: © 2023 Büttner-Kunert, Royko, Resch, Heider and Falkowska. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) . The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Julia Büttner-Kunert, Institute for German Philology, Faculty of Linguistics and Literature, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, München, 80799, Germany

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  • Kristina Marusic

literature review topics about social media

It’s the best way to show consumers that you practice what you preach.

Whether you call it propaganda or greenwashing, companies have long used marketing to tout the good they do for the environment while obfuscating any negative externalities of their businesses. However, thanks to the rise of the internet and social media and the proliferation of data on ESG performance, consumers (and employees) are now acutely aware of whether organizations are actually practicing what they preach. Conversations with advocates, regulators, consumers, and executives suggest that the most powerful way for businesses to prove they do so is to support meaningful regulations to ensure that their entire sector or industry will do the right thing. This includes exiting lobby groups that fight against such measures,  communicating more regularly with regulators, and endorsing and advocating for more science-backed regulation.

The term greenwashing was coined by environmentalist Jay Westerveld in 1986 as a rebuke to companies that claimed to be environmentally friendly without offering any evidence to back up their claims. Recall, for example, Chevron’s 1980s ad campaigns featuring employees lovingly protecting cute sea turtles while the company was  spilling oil into wildlife refuges  and  violating clean air laws .

  • Kristina Marusic is an award-winning journalist at Environmental Health News and the author of A New War on Cancer: The Unlikely Heroes Revolutionizing Prevention (Island Press, 2023).

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A Meta engineer saw his own child face harassment on Instagram. Now, he’s testifying before Congress

Arturo Bejar, former Facebook employee and consultant for Instagram, testifies before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law during a hearing to examine social media and the teen mental health crisis, Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2023, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Stephanie Scarbrough)

File - The Instagram logo is seen on a cell phone in Boston, Oct. 14, 2022. Former Meta engineer Arturo Bejar is expected to testify before Congress on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2023, about social media and the teen mental health crisis, hoping to shed more light on how Meta executives, including CEO Mark Zuckerberg, knew about the harms Instagram was causing and chose not to do anything about it. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)

Arturo Bejar, former Facebook employee and consultant for Instagram, is sworn in during a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law hearing to examine social media and the teen mental health crisis, Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2023, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Stephanie Scarbrough)

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On the same day whistleblower Frances Haugen was testifying before Congress about the harms of Facebook and Instagram to children in the fall of 2021, a former engineering director at the social media giant who had rejoined the company as a consultant sent an alarming email to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg about the same topic.

Arturo Béjar, known for his expertise on curbing online harassment, recounted to Zuckerberg his own daughter’s troubling experiences with Instagram. But he said his concerns and warnings went unheeded. And on Tuesday, it was Béjar’s turn to testify to Congress.

“I appear before you today as a dad with firsthand experience of a child who received unwanted sexual advances on Instagram,” he told a panel of U.S. senators.

Béjar worked as an engineering director at Facebook from 2009 to 2015, attracting wide attention for his work to combat cyberbullying. He thought things were getting better. But between leaving the company and returning in 2019 as a contractor, Béjar’s own daughter had started using Instagram.

Former Facebook employee Frances Haugen speaks during a hearing of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Data Security, on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

“She and her friends began having awful experiences, including repeated unwanted sexual advances, harassment,” he testified Tuesday. “She reported these incidents to the company and it did nothing.”

In the 2021 note, as first reported by The Wall Street Journal , Béjar outlined a “critical gap” between how the company approached harm and how the people who use its products — most notably young people — experience it.

“Two weeks ago my daughter, 16, and an experimenting creator on Instagram, made a post about cars, and someone commented ‘Get back to the kitchen.’ It was deeply upsetting to her,” he wrote. “At the same time the comment is far from being policy violating, and our tools of blocking or deleting mean that this person will go to other profiles and continue to spread misogyny. I don’t think policy/reporting or having more content review are the solutions.”

Béjar testified before a Senate subcommittee on Tuesday about social media and the teen mental health crisis, hoping to shed light on how Meta executives, including Zuckerberg, knew about the harms Instagram was causing but chose not to make meaningful changes to address them.

He believes that Meta needs to change how it polices its platforms, with a focus on addressing harassment, unwanted sexual advances and other bad experiences even if these problems don’t clearly violate existing policies. For instance, sending vulgar sexual messages to children doesn’t necessarily break Instagram’s rules, but Béjar said teens should have a way to tell the platform they don’t want to receive these types of messages.

“I can safely say that Meta’s executives knew the harm that teenagers were experiencing, that there were things that they could do that are very doable and that they chose not to do them,” Béjar told The Associated Press. This, he said, makes it clear that “we can’t trust them with our children.”

Opening the hearing Tuesday, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat who chairs the Senate Judiciary’s privacy and technology subcommittee, introduced Béjar as an engineer “widely respected and admired in the industry” who was hired specifically to help prevent harms against children but whose recommendations were ignored.

“What you have brought to this committee today is something every parent needs to hear,” added Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, the panel’s ranking Republican.

Béjar pointed to user surveys carefully crafted by the company that show, for instance, that 13% of Instagram users — ages 13-15 — reported having received unwanted sexual advances on the platform within the previous seven days.

Béjar said he doesn’t believe the reforms he’s suggesting would significantly affect revenue or profits for Meta and its peers. They are not intended to punish the companies, he said, but to help teenagers.

“You heard the company talk about it ‘oh this is really complicated,’” Béjar told the AP. “No, it isn’t. Just give the teen a chance to say ‘this content is not for me’ and then use that information to train all of the other systems and get feedback that makes it better.”

The testimony comes amid a bipartisan push in Congress to adopt regulations aimed at protecting children online.

Meta, in a statement, said “Every day countless people inside and outside of Meta are working on how to help keep young people safe online. The issues raised here regarding user perception surveys highlight one part of this effort, and surveys like these have led us to create features like anonymous notifications of potentially hurtful content and comment warnings . Working with parents and experts, we have also introduced over 30 tools to support teens and their families in having safe, positive experiences online. All of this work continues.”

Regarding unwanted material users see that does not violate Instagram’s rules, Meta points to its 2021 " content distribution guidelines ” that say “problematic or low quality” content automatically receives reduced distribution on users’ feeds. This includes clickbait, misinformation that’s been fact-checked and “borderline” posts, such as a ”photo of a person posing in a sexually suggestive manner, speech that includes profanity, borderline hate speech, or gory images.”

In 2022, Meta also introduced “kindness reminders” that tell users to be respectful in their direct messages — but it only applies to users who are sending message requests to a creator, not a regular user.

Tuesday’s testimony comes just two weeks after dozens of U.S. states sued Meta for harming young people and contributing to the youth mental health crisis. The lawsuits, filed in state and federal courts, claim that Meta knowingly and deliberately designs features on Instagram and Facebook that addict children to its platforms.

Béjar said it is “absolutely essential” that Congress passes bipartisan legislation “to help ensure that there is transparency about these harms and that teens can get help” with the support of the right experts.

“The most effective way to regulate social media companies is to require them to develop metrics that will allow both the company and outsiders to evaluate and track instances of harm, as experienced by users. This plays to the strengths of what these companies can do, because data for them is everything,” he wrote in his prepared testimony .

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