Alumni Spotlight

Alumnus Conducts Social Media Addiction Research at Forman

June 25, 2024

Tyler Dunn ’16 researched social media addiction at Forman as part of his capstone project for his Doctorate of Occupational Therapy this past spring. Tyler, who earned his degree from Quinnipiac University, worked alongside Science Department Chair Dr. Brenden Ostaszewski, teaching part of his Health classes. 

“[I talked] about social media and strategies to beat social media addiction and [educated] the students about the dangers of social media,” Tyler says. “I also [ran] some group sessions on Thursday nights, just adding on to the educational piece but also doing some occupational therapy and talking about strategies [students] can use to best help themselves.”

Tyler says he gained insightful information conducting his research at Forman and shares that it is hard to combat social media addiction. 

“[Social media] is not part of the culture; it is the culture. I have heard students quote memes or YouTube videos; it's all they do, and it's all they know,” he says, noting the differences in how current students grew up to earlier generations. “When they were growing up, they had tablets and iPhones.”

He adds that defining social media addiction is difficult. 

“You can be on social media for eight hours and not be addicted, but you can also be on for two hours and be addicted. It's whatever your environment allows you to do,” he says. “It is an overreliance on social media … If people need it and if they don’t have it, how they react, and if it's a negative manner, is considered an addiction.” 

Tyler says he enjoyed the opportunity to return and teach at Forman. 

“I loved getting to know the students,” he says. “Forman will always have a special place in my heart. I always love coming here and just being in this environment.”

He says now that his research is complete, he looks forward to pursuing his career. 

“Part of the reason I went into occupational therapy is to help people,” Tyler adds. “My goal is to work in a hospital. I am going to take my boards in a couple of months and get a job and work and help as many people as I possibly can.”  

If someone thinks they may be addicted to social media, Tyler advises them to seek help, such as talking to an adult and setting time limits on social media apps on their phone. 

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