With applications on phones and tablets becoming a staple of our lives, along with the massive influence social media has on the lives of young people, this was the focus of our most recent meeting. To do so, we met with Isabela Granic and Anna Lichtwarck-Aschoff from Radboud University, the Netherlands (http://isabelagranic.com/).
Initially, we explored how young people make use of social media, by looking at our own habits, before eventually we took the issue to a debate. Half of us examined the pros of social media, such as the way it can provide a good means of expressing identity, as well as the way it can allow us to keep in contact with friends all over the world. Meanwhile, the other half of us looked at the less appealing side of social media, by looking at the impact of cyberbullying, and the impact it can have on how we feel. Crucially, we explored social media through the lens of mental health, and the way it affects the lives of young people.
After lunch, our focus moved to video games, and we explored the impact that playing applications on phones and tablets can have on our mental health. We enjoyed games such as Flowers and Monument Valley (which I have since downloaded myself – it is very addictive!). All of us critiqued the games, and discussed what we liked and disliked about the games, whether appealing to a mental health market made the app marketable, and whether gender mattered in the design of the games.
Finally, we talked about an upcoming event; the Tech Fair. It is an event that promises to be very enjoyable and thought-provoking!
With social media and apps becoming a staple of modern society, examining the impact of these things on our mental health was not only important, but also a very enjoyable experience for everyone (even if I am now addicted to Monument Valley).