Workshop “Social media and their psychological impact on users 2017

Workshop “Social media and their psychological impact on users 2017

On September 6th 2017, the workshop “Social media and their psychological impact on users 2017” is organized by Vietnam Program for Internet & Society (VPIS) at University of Social Sciences & Humanities (USSH).


 The workshop is inspired by the rapid development of social media, which has currently become a huge platform for sharing and communicating. According to the research of We Are Social Media in January 2017, more than 46 million people in Vietnam, among the population of approximately 93 million, habitually use social media. As said by this reported data, Vietnam ranks 22nd in the world for the number of social network users. Particularly, Facebook, initially introduced to Vietnam in 2009, has quickly become the most popular social network.  The fast growth of Facebook has shaped new behaviours in human psychology such as new methods to communicate in the society or to express their self-esteem. These changes include both positive and negative impacts that result in various complicated social issues.


 “Facebook, considered a “global village”, is creating a perfect medium for communication and connection in the digital era. In addition to inevitable advantages of the Internet and particularly Facebook, there are certainly some significant negative impacts on users.  Hence, it is crucial to conduct a specialized research on multi-dimensional effects of social media on users. The workshop focuses on the influences of social media on human’s health and psychology, which is a key to resolve contemporary issues among Vietnamese social media community. This research will be a foundation for local scientific researchers to go in more depth; thus, actuate the positive impacts and mitigate the negative ones   in order to improve the effective use of social media.”, stated by Prof. Dr. Pham Quang Minh (Chairman of Academic Board for Scientific Research, VPIS; President of University of Social Sciences & Humanities (USSH), Vietnam National University, Hanoi)


 In the workshop, there’s an announcement on the report Impact of Facebook on users’ psychology 2017. This is the first report in the annual series of research reports on the psychology of social media users conducted by VPIS. The report is aimed to demonstrate the current situation and reveal emotional expressions, judgement on self-esteem and the engagement level of Facebook users.


 “Psychological impact of social media on users 2017” is the first research in Vietnam applying the practical method “72 hours without Facebook” to measure the change in psychological condition of participants and their engagement level after three experimental days. The result shows that about 43.1% of participants have broken the commitment after the first 6 hours of the experiment. The frequent emotional statuses are at above average level during the experiment, which participants were emotionally deprived and fidgeted; they lost connection with the community, fell behind the society due to the unability to catch up with temporary information.”, shared Dr. Tran Thanh Nam, from the research result of VPIS.


Dr. Le Minh Cong (Vice Dean, Faculty of Psychology, USSH, Ho Chi Minh City), one of the speakers, provides some definitions of being addicted to the Internet, “of which two approaches are widely considered: one is based on the foundation of “Impulse control disorder” (Young, 1996; Block, 2008) and another one is based on the “Substance use disorder” (Goldberg (1996; Griffiths, 1996, 2007). The approach “Impulse controls disorder” (ICD) is a group of many impulsive disorders, referring that people with ICD can’t resist doing something harm to themselves or the others.” The research of Dr. Le Minh Cong and Nguyen Van Tho to young addicted people to the Internet in Dong Nai in 2015 indicated a variety of considerable symptoms: losing self-control, tolerance (with an increasing level), lying about accessing behaviours, present some signals of withdrawal syndrome (anxiety, depression, losing interests), which seriously influence on studying, working and other social relationships.


 Assoc. Prof. Bui Thi Hong Thai (USSH) declares results of the research “Social media and Vietnamese young people – Current situation and Resolution” (directed by Prof. Tran Huu Luyen, in 2012-2015). It shows that major purpose of using social media among students is to interact and entertain, following by self-expressions (including emotional expressions, sharing viewpoint and psychological problems), while the minor purpose is for businesses and life experiences. Pressures of social media on students’ psychology include timing (increasing time of using social networks) and living activities (study, communication, health). Additionally, it also affects self-controlled ability when using social networks though the effect is insignificant.”


Dr. Vu Huy Hoang (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Member of International Society of Addition Medicine (ISAM)) shared experiment: “It can be observed that the world is making several efforts to research, categorize and come up with many diganosing criteria for disorders related to the Internet applications. Currently, the substance addiction disorders evovle signs such as: compelling to use, craving, increasing time and frequency of use, failing to discontinue or even try to keep using substances regardless the consequences to diminish the addictive symptoms. Within the existing information about behavioral addiction and substance addiction, we can understand that these disorders are related to mental, psychological, and societal aspects. Therefore, it is essential to not only provide for and intervene as soon as possible, but also resolve the discriminating issue, which is a significant obstacle in resolving addict problems. Foremost, VPIS will provide further information about signals, mental and psychological issues linked with social media usage for the intervention models at institutions, universities and groups; hence, the situation will be diganosed and intervened at appropriatel time and approach”.


Furthermore, the workshop attracted various local and international scientific researchers, representatives of Embassy, leaders from different universities and psychological research institutions, associations and organizations that related to Internet, as well as media agencies. Participants discussed and found solutions to psychological issues of social media users and new approaches in researching on social media’s impact on people and their social lives.


The report data is updated to December 2016, the 72-hours practical experiement is updated to March 2017. Vietnamese version of the report is expected to be published in January 2018;