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Adolescent Social Media: As Invested as You think?

Katie Faust-Little, Willow Edge


Period 8

I. The Background
How is social media usage related to self-perceived investment in social media?

In the last decade social media has been rising quickly as a mainstream industry,
primarily targeted at adolescents. Due to the rising availability of smartphones, teenagers have
more access to social media, and we’d like to see if there are any possible repercussions. There
may be a complicated interplay between usage and personal investment. Greater use may
generate a feeling of investment or if, say, peer pressure generates a sense that the person is
defined on social media, then investment could lead to greater usage
Our generation has grown up being told “Oh, all teenagers are addicted to their phones”
or about how “As you get older you just add to your social media repertoire” One of our teachers
made a bet with us that at least half the students in the classroom had at one point deleted a post
from Instagram or Facebook because we felt it hadn’t received enough likes. Given our peers and
the interaction we see on our social media, all these claims seemed absurd; so we decided to test
one.
Our hypotheses are as follows:
H0: r = 0, where r is the correlation between the number of uses of social media and the
level of self-identified investment. This hypothesizes that there is no correlation.
HA: r ≠ 0, where the correlation between the number of uses of social media and the level
of self-identified investment. This hypothesizes that there is some level of correlation, be it
positive or negative.

II. The Methodology


We acknowledge that this sample cannot successfully represent the high school student
population across the United States, or even statewide. So we shot small and still faced some
challenges. To effectively to get a random sample it would need to be unbiased, which in a high
school of 3,000 students and very exclusive groups of people with shared interests, that proved to
be difficult. On a date randomly selected with a random number generator we stood in front of
the two entrances of the school a randomly generated number of minutes before the warning bell
rang. On randomly selected dates we stood in front of the two entrances exactly 14 minutes
before the warning bell, and began to count every fifteenth student to pass us. Every fifteenth
student would be handed a survey and a pencil and were asked not to write their name on it to
keep it anonymous and to try to avoid any skew from shame or embarrassment. We then
collected their filled out survey. No one refused. The survey (attached below) asked age, grade,
average number of social media uses in a month, and a self-reported level of investment in social
media with investment being defined as emotional value or effect on self image in what you post
or how many likes a post receives. We each stopped when we had collected one hundred fifty
surveys, totalling 300 pieces of data, approximately 10% of the student population.

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Katie Faust-Little, Willow Edge
Period 8

III. The Data

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Katie Faust-Little, Willow Edge
Period 8

IV. The Analysis

r: 0.5821
n: 30
Degrees of Freedom= 30-2= 18
SE: 0.15366

Assumptions and tests:


Linear Assumption
Randomization
Equivariance
Homogeneity

We performed a Two-Tailed z-test


H0: r = 0, where r is the correlation between the number of uses of social media and the level of
self-identified investment. This hypothesizes that there is no correlation.
HA: r ≠ 0, where the correlation between the number of uses of social media and the level
of self-identified investment. This hypothesizes that there is some level of correlation, be it
positive or negative.

z*: 3.788
(P(z<3.788)+P(z>3.788)= 0.0002
With an α of 0.05, we reject the null hypothesis as 0.0002<.05

We found 95% confidence interval for the correlation coefficient


0.5821±1.96(0.15366)= (0.281, 0.8833)

0 is not within this confidence interval, so this is evidence to support that the true correlation is
not 0, meaning that there would be some form of correlation between usage and investment
levels.

Fisher’s z-test is also used when correlation is involved, so we ran the same tests using Fisher's
method.

Using these tests, we can see that there is some amount of positive correlation between social
media usage and investment level. We are 95% confident that this effect size falls between 0.28
and 0.8833.

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Katie Faust-Little, Willow Edge
Period 8

V. The Reflection
When testing on people you always face many sources of error and risk of flawed data.
Our randomisation method was designed to attempt to block some of the potential biases in the
data. We tried to limit the social impact by ensuring anonymous collection, a specific definition
of investment, and creating a scenario where it can reach all grade levels and social groups. A
more accurate study could’ve been completed if we could have gathered data across different
high schools so it could address a greater population and address a larger question. It is still
appropriate to believe this test is an accurate representation of the Blair student population.

VI. The Appendix


Raw Data:
Monthly Social Media Posts
0,0,1,1,2,2,3,4,4,4,4,5,5,5,6,6,6,6,8,8,8,8,9,10,11,12,12,12,14,16

Ages
15,16,17,17,17,16,17,17,17,14,16,15,17,15,16,17,18,15,15,16,16,15,16,16,18,17,16,15,17,17

Emotional Investment
0,0,3,1,0,4,5,6,3,2,3,3,3,1,3,4,5,1,8,8,5,2,3,9,5,5,8,10,7,2

The survey distributed:


Subject Age: Subject Grade:

How many times a month do you post on Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook, etc?

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11+

On a scale of one to ten how invested are you in social media, 0 being not at all and 10
being it defines your character?*
*Invested meaning you place emotional value or base your self image in what you post or how many likes a post receives
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10