New Media and Contemporary society Invited talk 2019
Digital society and mental health have a complex relationship globally. India hosts approximately 462 million internet users (Statista, 2017), making the world’s second-largest consumer nation immediately after China. On the other hand, according to India Today (2018), “[T], the average suicide rate in India is 10.9 for every lakh people and the majority of people who commit suicide are below 44 years of age”. WHO report (2016) confirms India to be the most depressed country in the world. The last census (2011) report of the India government mentions 73% literacy rate. Ian Jack (Guardian, 2018) claimed in an article that India is home to 600 million young people, under the age of 25. All of these statistics certainly direct us to rethink on the future potential of India’s human and social capital and the inevitable global impact. Although there are reports that evidence the impact of social media on young adults, still there is a dearth of empirical research into how the young adults (18-35years), particularly students at the university level, experience and engage with social media. This work in progress paper examines some of the preliminary findings from the data collection that started in July 2019, although, the initial project started in February 2019. Based on the initial findings from the data collected through ethnographic focus group interviews with 60 postgraduate students, the project (phase I) proposes to expand the investigation on how digital society is perceived by young adults in India and proposes to investigate the impact of digital media, particularly social media, on mental health.