UAEU Student Aims to Unify Family Ties Through Social Media Research Study
Social media has become a powerful tool for news consumption and entertainment. But
platforms, such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and others, are increasingly considered
a double-edged sword, leading more and more young people into addiction.
And that dependency has created a negative impact on their family life, according
to Mozah Humaid Abdulla Alyammahi, an undergraduate student at the United Arab Emirates
University (UAEU). She has studied the phenomenon through her research project entitled
‘The Effects of Social Media on Family Relationships’.
After noticing children spending most of their time on social media, based on her
own personal experience and other families around her, Alyammahi set out to study
the phenomenon as it led to frequent isolation incidents and many issues within family
relationships. This, in turn, caused a lack of parental control and rebellion from
the youth towards traditions and society. “I have noticed this affected families in
a negative way and not just in our own family, but in many others as well,” she explained.
Alyammahi, who majors in Mass Communication, has long been interested in the topic
as she feels many people rely on social media today, especially for news. During her
course, she learned a number of important elements in the field, namely the process
of creating news, the procedure of printing a newspaper, as well as producing videos
And so, she started her quest for answers in September 2020 by further looking into
the subject and the basic problem at hand. Her aim was to discover a major issue faced
by many in today’s world. Once social media came to her mind, she contacted her teacher,
Dr Ahmed Al Mansoori, Head of the Media and Creative Industries Department at the
University’s Humanities and Social Sciences College, who encouraged her to pursue
Alyammahi then surveyed 40 families from all over the UAE under Al Mansoori’s guidance.
She then analysed their answers and found that the most important factor of her research
was that social media use had increased by 100 percent from September 2020 to December
2020, when she completed her project. Most of those involved in the surge were found
to be students and children who depend on the internet and spend most of their time
on social media platforms. The study revealed that such behaviour caused disturbances
within family ties. “A large number of families I surveyed supported this and agreed,”
Alyammahi noted. “Many of them also agreed that social media had many negative effects
on habits, traditions, values and children’s behaviour.”
In her project, she found that the usage hike had led to addictions, which, in turn,
affected children’s way of thinking. Many parents were also found to suffer from the
problem as they were no longer able to control their children in terms of limiting
their usage. Most of those surveyed agreed that their children had spent very little
time with them, as well.
The project quickly gained popularity, after Al Mansoori nominated Alyammahi to participate
in the Undergraduate Student Research Conference by the UAEU. That, in itself, assisted
her in her presentation as it allowed her to summarise the most important factors
of her research, based on her report. The University guided her on how to present
her research, which, later on, assisted her when she took part in the Abu Dhabi University
Undergraduate Research Competition. Her hard work, coupled with the University’s guidance,
landed her a prize of Dh2,000, a certificate and second place in the competition.
“I honestly felt so happy, but I also could not believe it because the competition
was very hard,” Alyammahi said. “I had many competitors from all over the region,
so it was hard to win.”
Today, she feels grateful towards the UAEU for helping her in such a challenging but
exciting time, particularly towards Al Mansoori who guided her on research writing
in a detailed manner. He was also available to answer all of her questions at any
given time and provided her with much-needed support.
The University played a vital role for Alyammahi in many different areas, including
its Writing Centre, from which she sought help to review and improve various elements
of her research. She spoke highly of the education provided at the UAEU, as much help
is offered to students at any time they are in need. “My teacher was also great,”
she added. “And if I had the chance to take another course with him, I would.”
With two courses and a work placement left to complete, Alyammahi is looking forward
to graduating in 2023 and working in the field of media in the future. She hopes to
educate parents on the issue that social media poses, with the aim of reducing the
problem of family disintegration, and creating a generation of developed children
in the UAE. “I want them to focus on more important things rather than just be addicted
to social media,” she concluded. “And when they will spend time with their parents,
they will know the right thing to do in the future because they will guide them”.