Cyberspace 2023: Wrapping up our project and looking ahead with a keynote by Ine Beyens

At the end of November, we co-hosted the annual Cyberspace conference – this time with a keynote from Ine Beyens from the University of Amsterdam. Apart from meeting with our friends and colleagues, we presented a panel about our project, Modeling the FUTURE, which we will finish at the end of this year. Continue reading for more information and lovely photos!

12 Dec 2023 Michaela Lebedíková

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Each November, we co-organize the Cyberspace conference focusing on cyberspace's law and social aspects. On that occasion, we also invited some of our colleagues and dear friends: Alexander Schouten from Tilburg University, Ine Beyens from the University of Amsterdam, and Erika Maksniemi with Lauri Hietajärvi from the University of Helsinki. We want to thank you for the workshops, meetings, and fun we had together.

As for the Cyberspace conference, we are delighted that Ine Beyens presented a keynote on understanding the impact of social media on youth's mental health. You can read more about her talk below.

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Ine Beyens

Ine Beyens is an assistant professor in the Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR) at the University of Amsterdam. Her research focuses on the effects of screen media on the emotional, psychological, and social well-being of children and adolescents. Ine is founding member of Project AWeSome, an interdisciplinary project that investigates the effects of social media use on various aspects of adolescents' well-being.

Friend or foe: Understanding the impact of social media on youth's mental health

Social media have become an integral part of adolescents' daily lives. From the moment they wake up, until the moment they go to bed, adolescents scroll through their social media feeds, watching endless streams of TikTok videos and Instagram posts. While social media offer ample opportunities for connection and self-expression, concerns exist that social media harm adolescents' mental health. Worries abound that social media make adolescents feel anxious and depressed, crush their self-esteem, and leave them isolated and lonely.

While public worries persist that social media are bad for adolescents' mental health, research provides a more nuanced perspective. The keynote lecture presents insights from different studies that try to unravel the complex links between social media and adolescents' mental health. It will address the question why social media make some adolescents feel happy while leaving others feeling blue and shed light on individual differences in the effects of social media on various aspects of youth mental health.

And what about the FUTURE?

On Saturday, we presented our project, Modeling the Future: Understanding the Impact of Technology on adolescents' well-being (FUTURE). The project aimed to develop a complex evidence-based theory depicting the short- and long-term impacts of technology usage on the physical, psychological, and social well-being of adolescents aged 11 to 18. The project had five working groups: analysis of existing data, longitudinal research, experimental research, innovative research using intensive data collection and artificial intelligence, and theoretical integration of results. Our team is finishing the project this December, so we wanted to summarize our findings and share our lessons learned. Below, you can view the introductory presentation by the principal investigator of this project, Professor David Šmahel.

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