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Katrin Tiidenberg1, Maria Murumaa-Mengel2, Rasmus Sinivee1, Jaana Davidjants1, Andra Siibak2, Kristjan Kikerpill2, Merike Sisask1
1Tallinn University, Estonia; 2University of Tartu, Estonia
Mental wellbeing is a prevalent global concern, with stress, anxiety and burnout on the sharp rise in the 21st century. Experiences of mental illbeing are linked to everything from general disillusionment with late capitalism and neoliberalism, shifts in child-raring strategies, and of course the possible ill effects of digital technologies like smart devices and social media. Researchers have been studying the effects that communication technology use has on people’s (mental) wellbeing for decades, with comparable but contradictory bodies of work existing that deem digital devices and social media harmful as well as beneficial for wellbeing. This panel brings together five papers that examine the co-constitutive relations between social media and other digital technology use and mental wellbeing from a variety of perspectives. We explore young people’s experiences of their own mental wellbeing and how they relate it to technology use and non-use, explore their articulations of FOMO and addiction, their practices of using social media for their own and others wellbeing and finally the broader media discourses that frame emerging areas of social media surveillance as justified by concerns for mental wellbeing. We work with mixed international data analyzed via ethnographic methods, discourse analysis, visual narrative analysis and statistical methods.