Graduation Year

Fall 2012

Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Psychology

Reader 1

Piercarlo Valdesolo

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© 2012 Jeanne M. Kelber

Abstract

The "always on" aspect of social media creates a complex zone of self-expression for children and adolescents. The relentless quality of the potential for interaction encourages impulsive communication and response, a primary feature of what we think of as "bullying" in social media. In addition, social media creates a forum for people to connect within a community larger and more extensive than the physical. Different social media outlets even connect with each other to create an even larger sense of community. Increased understanding of the psychology of these dynamics may contribute to successful interventions to educate and reach out to young social media users. Application of positive psychological principles can help elicit emotions such as empathy in order to help resolve conflicts and curb online bullying. While social media receives a great deal of criticism for the platform it provides bullying, social media outlets can also provide an effective platform for promoting positive social change by playing into the psychology of inclusion to combat exclusion through the internet.

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