Professor discusses how social media impacts families - : Osu

Professor discusses how social media impacts families

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Posted: Tuesday, April 16, 2013 10:18 pm

OSU-Tulsa associate professor of human development and family science will present a lecture on teen social media Wednesday morning.

Michael Merten will present “Youth, Families and Social Media: An Always-On Connection,” and will discuss current trends in social media technology.

“I have been involved with several research studies addressing social media from the contexts of family and adolescent development,” Merten said. “Social media is such a big part of adolescents’ lives. I think it is important for parents to know some of the current trends and issues and how social media technology can potentially benefit family connectedness among other things.” 

Merten teaches adolescent development, family dynamics, family risk and resilience and graduate research methods. He said social media is an integral and necessary aspect to consider in his classes.

“[Social media] isn’t [just] a special topic when discussing adolescent development,” Merten said. “I don’t see social media as an external force impacting society, but as an integral part of society. It is one of the primary ways people connect with one another, share information and meanings and develop relationships.”

Based on current trends, Merten said he can see daily lives and decisions becoming more integrated with the rapid sharing of information social media facilitates. 

“I think social media technology will continue evolving in expected ways, but also in ways we can’t even imagine at this time,” Merten said. “Social media technology is only going to advance, so it is important that we understand how it works and how we can become part of it in terms of using social media to facilitate family bonds across space and time.”

Merten has previously discussed social media and teens to audiences of parents, youth and school administrators around Oklahoma as well as national audiences.  Steve Hahn of the Parent-Child Center will join him and discuss technology advances from a parenting perspective. The lecture will take place at noon in the Helmerich Research Center.