Yashica Holmes-Smith, School of Psychology
This manuscript discusses an exploratory study of the views of teens immersed in media. To recruit participants, media tracking sheets were distributed to 100 adolescents between the ages of 13 -19 years. Twelve of the heaviest media users were selected to participate in a qualitative study of their views about their heavy media use. Participants were asked to maintain a media journal for 2 weeks and to participate in a semi-structured interview about media use and impacts. Eight participants submitted journals and completed interviews. I conducted categorical content analyses of data collected from selection sheets, journal entries, and interview transcripts. I then identified themes that may offer insight about adolescents’ experiences with media and the influence of heavy media use on adolescents’ academic, social, and personal well-being. The nine themes that emerged included Using Media for Good, Media as a Double-Edged Sword, Mediated Relationships: Connecting and Disconnecting, A Matter of Time: Time Saved and Time Displaced, My Media, My Self: Self and Individuality, Entertainment and Distraction, Above the Influence, Media Literacy on the Rise, and Gaining Awareness through Monitoring and Reflection.