This study was supported in part by a Career Support Scheme to LLL from the Department of Social Work and Social Administration, HKU, as well as a Career Development Award to ART from the Veterans Health Administration Health Service Research and Development (CDA 14-428).
JMIR Mental Health
Introverts -- China, Social isolation -- China, Alienation (Social psychology) -- China, Social distance -- China, Teenagers -- Social life and customs, Internet surveys
Background: Socially withdrawn youth belong to an emerging subgroup of youth who are not in employment, education, or training and who have limited social interaction intention and opportunities. The use of the internet and social media is expected to be an alternative and feasible way to reach this group of young people because of their reclusive nature.
Objective: The aim of this study was to explore the possibility of using various social media platforms to investigate the existence of the phenomenon of youth social withdrawal in 3 major cities in China.
Methods: A cross-sectional open Web survey was conducted from October 2015 to May 2016 to identify and reach socially withdrawn youth in 3 metropolitan cities in China: Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen. To advertise the survey, 3 social media platforms were used: Weibo, WeChat, and Wandianba, a social networking gaming website.
Results: In total, 137 participants completed the survey, among whom 13 (9.5%) were identified as belonging to the withdrawal group, 7 (5.1%) to the asocial group, and 9 (6.6%) to the hikikomori group (both withdrawn and asocial for more than 3 months). The cost of recruitment via Weibo was US $7.27 per participant.
Conclusions: Several social media platforms in China are viable and inexpensive tools to reach socially withdrawn youth, and internet platforms that specialize in a certain culture or type of entertainment appeared to be more effective in reaching socially withdrawn youth.
Liu, Lucia Lin, Tim MH Li, Alan R. Teo, Takahiro A. Kato, and Paul WC Wong. "Harnessing Social Media to Explore Youth Social Withdrawal in Three Major Cities in China: Cross-Sectional Web Survey." JMIR mental health 5, no. 2 (2018).