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Student Research Guide WQ24/ Snapchat's Impacts on Mental Health and Communication

Student Research Guide for Library 201/ Jori Ann VanderArk

What is this Guide for?

Snapchat's Impact on Mental Health and Communication

This is a student created research guide for English 102 & Library 201 Learning community

This guide will address how Snapchat impacts mental health. The purpose of this guide is to explore issues around the structure of how Snapchat was made.

The focused thesis of this guide is to explore how the features of Snapchat can negatively influence the mindset, self-perception, and interpersonal communication of its users.

The research questions addressed in this guide are:

  1. Why was Snapchat made the way it is?
  2. What were some of the impacts Snapchat can have on mental health?
  3. How can Snapchat impact the way we communicate with one and another?




Snapchat is impacting mental health and communication more over time. Initially a platform with disappearing messages, Snapchat's addition of Stories and augmented reality features has raised concerns about its influence on well-being, especially in younger users. The central issue explored is the increasing impact of Snapchat on well-being and societal norms. The research question driving this inquiry is: How do Snapchat's features contribute to both positive and negative outcomes in terms of mental health and communication? A thorough review of literature from SVC databases, Google Scholar, the Pew Research Center, and university websites was conducted to inform the analysis and discussion. The findings reveal a dual impact of Snapchat on users, including the concept of "Snapchat Dysmorphia" influencing beauty standards. Further examination of Snapchat's impact on education reveals concerns regarding negative effects on student well-being and learning. Despite these challenges, Snapchat is recognized as a platform for positive interactions, community building, and emotional support, especially in academic settings. The importance of understanding both the harms and benefits of Snapchat on mental health and communication is emphasized. Further research is needed to understand the specific mechanisms involved and create interventions that maximize the positive aspects while minimizing negative outcomes. This study calls for a reassessment of the way Snapchat is understood and used, emphasizing the need to carefully consider its effects on mental health and communication. By promoting more thoughtful discussions, future research and societal actions can work towards creating a healthier online space for users of all ages. 

Background Information

Founded by Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy, and Reggie Brown, Snapchat originated from a class project at Stanford University. Initially launched as "Picaboo" in 2011, the platform later adopted the name Snapchat in 2012. Its early success was attributed to the innovative concept of disappearing messages, distinguishing it from other social media platforms (Ra).

Snapchat's popularity surged with the introduction of features like Stories in 2013, allowing users to share temporary photo and video sequences. The incorporation of augmented reality elements, such as filters and lenses, enhanced the platform's interactive and engaging nature. These features addressed the demand for more ephemeral and private communication, appealing particularly to younger users (Ra).

As Snapchat gained traction, concerns about its impact on mental health surfaced. Issues such as body image concerns, online harassment, and the addictive nature of constant connectivity were associated with the platform. The concept of "Snapchat Dysmorphia" highlighted the negative influence of Snapchat filters on body image and self-perception, contributing to societal beauty standards and impacting users' mental well-being (Rampul and Mejias; Habib et al.).

Video, Graph, or Image

This source presents an image depicting the growth in Snapchat usage from 2014 to 2022, illustrating the increasing prevalence of the platform among teenagers. Examining the visual representation highlights the extent to which teens engage with Snapchat over the specified period.

Source citation:

Vogels, Emily A. and Risa Gelles-Watnick. "Teens and social media: Key findings from Pew Research Center surveys." 24 April 2023. Pew Research Center.  

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