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– The purpose of this paper is to investigate the relationship between online friend networks and the mental well-being (MWB) of adolescent males.
The purpose of this paper is to investigate the relationship between online friend networks and the mental well-being (MWB) of adolescent males.
The study used a mixed methods approach: first, questionnaire involving a validated MWB scale and questions regarding online friendship to 14-15 year old males (n=521); and second, focus group interviews (n=8) of between six and eight members three months later.
Positive and negative associations were recorded between online friends and well-being. A positive relationship (p < 0.05) was found between the number of online friends and well-being scores. However, higher numbers of online friends were also associated with increases in negative online experiences namely, receiving embarrassing posts online or risky activities such as, chatting frequently with strangers. Online friends may influence perceptions of social support, status and belonging, each of which may contribute positively or negatively to well-being. However, by increasing these perceptions, online friends may cause additional distress when their presence does not provide tangible support during a crisis period.
Online friends provide the context to which young males explore and negotiate the online world. To date, little mixed methods research has focused exclusively on the MWB of online friends. Policy makers could do well to consider the growing prominence of online social networking and produce targeted programmes to educate young people on the benefits and pitfalls of building large online “friend” networks.
Little research has focused on the quality and availability of interactive online support services retrieved through search engines. The purpose of this paper is twofold;…
Little research has focused on the quality and availability of interactive online support services retrieved through search engines. The purpose of this paper is twofold; first, to review and assess the availability and accessibility of interactive online support available to individuals in suicidal crisis. Second, to field test a new tool developed specifically to evaluate both the quality of online information and the quality of interactive support.
A collection of six terms relating to suicidal distress were generated and inputted across three major search engines (Google, Yahoo and Ask). Following initial exclusions, the remaining web sites were analysed using the SPAT (Site, Publisher, Audience and Timeliness) tool and recently developed COSAT (Crisis and Online Support Appraisal Tool) tool.
The quality of web sites retrieved was variable, with only 1.9 per cent deemed as high-quality interactive support resources. Google had the greatest precision of searching, but ease of access through search engines was generally limited. No significant difference was found in the quality of web sites located on pages 1 or 2 of search engine results. Overall, community and voluntary sector web sites averaged higher quality and interactive support rating's compared to publicly funded web sites.
The newly developed COSAT tool may provide a positive first step towards a standardised measure of online quality and interactive support, although further testing and validation is required with a larger sample size.
To the authors knowledge little research has focused on the quality and availability of interactive online support services retrieved through search engines.