EPQ Presentation

EPQ Presentation

 

For my EPQ, I looked into the question; is social media responsible for the increase in eating disorders amongst teenagers? I looked into how the social media influences young people's opinions on themselves and their body image, and to what extent social media is the cause for the increase of accounts of eating disorders found today. 

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Increase

Increase 

I found evidence that there was an increase in the amount of eating disorders and used this as a starting point to look into why social media had such a large influence.  

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The role of social media

The role of social media 

I thought that focusing on social media would be interesting to as it is a platform which has helped raise the attention and profile of mental health and has helped more people to become educated on the problems that people with mental health conditions experience. Due to more young people being able to access social media, more are aware of mental health and what it means, but also are at more risk of coming across the negative sides of social media, such as the influence it has over perceived body image. There is a lot of content which glamorises the 'ideal' body type and this si seen throughout media, on platforms such as instagramfacebook and twitter. While looking at these I discovered a lot of social media pages which were encouraging these types of behaviors, such as 'pro-ana'  blogs which gives advice to people on how to get thinner and words of encouragement as to why they should be this way. This was particularly interesting as when I was looking into them I couldn’t believe what I was reading and thought it was some kind of joke that people actually encourage this type of behaviour.

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Findings

Findings 

From my research into social media's role in the development of eating disorders I concluded that social media is a contributing factor to eating disorders and that there are many other factors which play a significant role in the development of eating disorders. One of the most influential factors that I found was the role of biology, suggesting that eating disorders run in families, with relatives of those with eating disorders being 6 times more likely to develop one themselves.Along with this was the suggestion of someone's personality being a likely cause of eating disorders, suggesting that some people have certain personality traits that predispose them to the behaviours of eating disorders, such as perfectionism and obsessiveness. Along with this I looked into theories which explained eating disorders, such as cognitive, behavioural and the social learning theory. With all these factors taken into consideration, I concluded that social media has played a significant role in the increase of eating disorders amongst teenager, but it isn't the route cause, just a contributing factor.

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Why I chose to do an EPQ and my initial ideas

Why I chose to do an EPQ and my initial ideas 

Taking on an EPQ gave me the opportunity to do an in depth study on a subject that I was passionate about and interested in, while enabling me to receive extra UCAS points and giving me a topic to discuss on my personal statement and during interviews. It would give me the chance to show that I am capable of doing independent work and set me up for uni. I wanted to do a project that related to the aspect of work that I hope to get involved in in the future, which is mental health. I knew I wanted to focus on a mental disorder and because I hadn't done anything on eating disorders before, I thought it would be interesting to look into and teach myself some things. Another thing I wanted to ensure, was that what I was focusing on was a current issue which was perhaps controversial, so that I could gather a range of ideas and make my own conclusions while keeping it exciting.  

 

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Cont.

When doing research for my initial ideas, the role of social media came up quite a lot due to the large increase in its usage in the 21st century, especially amongst teenagers. Mental Health’s profile is significantly on the increase due to the media and is showing it in a positive light, while encouraging people to speak out about it. Yet, there are aspects of social media which can have negative impacts on people, especially young people. Being a teenager myself, it was interesting to look into an area that is affecting me and the people around me. There’s been a lot of speculation recently on whether social media is having an influence over teenagers, especially in terms of body image and the strive for young people to become thinner to fit the ‘ideal’ image’. This is a topic that is being discussed more regularly, and the government have recognised that more support is needing to be put in place for young people with eating disorders and that early intervention is needed, to do this the government will give additional funding to eating disorders. Taking all these factors into consideration, it helped me decide on my title ‘Is social media responsible for the increase in eating disorders amongst teenagers?’ 

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How I planned to carry out my project

I wanted to do the project as a report and in order to plan the structure I created mind maps and wrote out my plan. This addressed topics I wanted to cover such as defining eating disorders including the symptoms and characteristics of suffers. I wanted to include the way that social media platforms influence this kind of behaviour and gather evidence to support the argument. I intended to do this by going on social media myself and finding blogs and social media profiles which encourage these tendencies. The more research I did into the topic, the more I discovered the other explanations for the cause of eating disorders, which I felt would be good to include in the argument against social media being the cause. To gather resources I used the internet, the majority of research was internet based due to the project being about social media and through the media. But for more in depth research around eating disorders and the background of them, I visited libraries, such as the hospital library in Northallerton which had many resources that gave me information, including case studies on sufferers of eating disorders with the suggested factors that led to the development of them. 

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Strengths

Strengths 

When writing my report I found that I had a lot to write about and that reaching the word count was quite easy due to doing small sections every now and then. I also gathered a range of resources from google scholars, articles, websites, books and opinions of people who specialise in the area of mental health, but also people my age. When looking into the characteristics of people with eating disorders and into why they develop such behaviours, it gave me an insight into the type of people I would be working with in my hope to become a Mental Health Nurse. This was therefore a strength as it meant I gained valuable knowledge of a subject area I was interested in. 

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Challenges

Challenges 

I found that time management was one of my weaknesses as I didn’t always reach the internal deadlines that I set myself, when this started becoming a problem, I solved this by organising time every week in which I would dedicate to writing up my report and analysing sources. I also made sure I wrote up sections little and often so that my work was spread out. This was important as it helped me to complete the EPQ whilst studying for my A-Levels and reaching coursework deadlines. Another challenge I faced was the limited amount of research into the area, due to rapid increase of social media's influence it was hard for me to find as much evidence for it being the cause of eating disorders, than it was with other theories.  

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What I have learned from this

What I have learned from this 

I've learnt how to manage my time more effectively and make sure I reach deadlines that I have set myself, whilst keeping on top of my other responsibilities. It has helped me improve my analytical skills and has come in useful in subjects like history and psychology where evaluating sources and studies is an important skill. It has also helped me to evaluate the reliability of resources that I use, which was important when narrowing down which resources were most effective to include in my report. 

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What would I change

What would I change 

If I could do it again I would make sure that I focused more on primary research and went out of my way to find things out for myself, for example ask more people's opinions on social media and their experiences. But also, when I had the chance to speak to a Mental Health Nurse, I didn’t record the conversation, it would have been useful to do this as it would have made it easier for me to refer back to when making conclusions. I would also make sure that I started doing little and often parts of my report from the start so it made the write up more easier in time for deadlines.  

 

 

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