Ulster University Belfast Campus, York Street
27th March: 2.30pm – 3.30pm

Facilitated by Professor Sarah Edge of Ulster University, Dr. Caroline O’Sullivan of Technological University Dublin, and Dr. Helen Jackson of Ulster University.

This session will be led by three Media Studies researchers and lecturers who have turned their attention to the impact social media is having on the mental health and well being of young people. All three have been undertaking this research to devise interventionist strategies to improve the media literacy skills of young people as a form of resilience training. Their research draws from quantitative and qualitative methodologies to identify the rise in bullying, anxiety, body image and mental health issues for young people within the UK and Ireland, and uses evidence from the findings of #StatusOfMind, May 2017 report commissioned by The Royal Society for Public Health; the Irish Charity Reachout April 2017 report; and the IPPR thinktank findings on the significant increase in suicide rates in UK students, to inform the research presented.

These evidence-based reports have raised significant concerns about the behaviours of young people using social network sites (e.g. Facebook, SnapChat) and the inter-related emotional affects.

Professor Sarah Edge will present her research on how an increasing emphasis on the sexualisation of young women, as a form of “feminist” power, in popular cinematic representations in the 1990s and 2000s has impacted on how young women see themselves and how they are treated by others.

Dr. Caroline O’Sullivan will present material that examines the impact of ‘Reality TV’, in particular shows such as ITV’s highly popular series Love Island and its extended online presence on the identity formation, perceptions of relationships and of self on teenagers particularly in the context of the ubiquity and online reach of this content.

Dr. Helen Jackson will present the findings of a recent research project that uses the ‘selfie’ as a means of examining sociological knowledge and feelings. The Self[ie] Reflexive Project explores the processes of self–reflection created by novel forms of convergence, to identify habitual behaviours in young people, and map the interconnected and competing personal and emotional issues that dominate these behaviours.

This presentation will identify the urgency of young people acquiring media literacy skills as a form of activism and resilience. Such training can give them a critical awareness of the effects (that are both personal and social) of the types of messages held within popular cultural images and stereotyping. Such awareness, can allow young people to develop strategies via media literacy awareness training to move beyond those personal feelings identified in the research cited above to a more empowered collective understanding. This session will draw upon work presented as part of the KESS series held at Stormont in 2017. Find out more here.

date & time

date & time

Wed. 27th March


Ulster University Belfast Campus, York St., BT15 1ED


This event is free

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