Problematic and Beneficial Effects of Media Use


Course Objective

After successful completion of this course, students are expected to be
able to:
• gain deeper insight into the core themes of Media Psychology;
• become able to critically describe and evaluate core
media-psychological research about the problems and benefits of new
media use, including Internet addiction, cyberbullying, and video game
• understand the differences of how media-psychological research is
presented in the public versus discussed among scientists;
• learn, as a methodological skill, how to conduct and present a
(small) content analysis.

Course Content

If a new medium - like the internet or video games – enters society it
raises concerns and public debates. Some people are euphoric, but many
fear the new medium will result in a cultural decline and detrimental
effects. Currently, we see the same debates evolving around the
Internet, cell phones, and video games. Students and researchers in both
Communication Science and Media Psychology are in charge to provide
empirically substantiated answers to concerned parents, teachers, and
policy makers. So what do we really know to date about the potentially
problematic effects of (new) media? This class will highlight several
problems and benefits that may be caused by (new) media, in particular
discussing the empirical evidence related to common worries and concerns
that are voiced in society about new media such as internet and video
games. More specifically, we will take a closer look at topics such as
cyberbullying, cyberslacking, cyberchondriasis, online dating, media
addiction, pornography, online risk behavior, effects of (violent) video
games, and relationships between (new) media use and loneliness or
You will work in on assignments within groups. In your group, you will
work on a "hands-on" content analysis project that will examine how
scientific research on new media – or problems associated with new media
– are portrayed in the mass media. The project will conclude with a
poster session.

Teaching Methods

Lectures and workgroups

Method of Assessment

Individual paper-pencil examination (70%) and group assignments (30%).
Your group will be graded at a final poster presentation.


Prior to each session, you will have to carefully study one or two
articles related to the topic of the forthcoming session. The related
obligatory readings will be announced on Canvas prior to each
session. The obligatory readings will also be available as PDFs on the
internet. In addition, the PowerPoint slides of each session will be
made available on Canvas prior to each session.

Target Audience

MSc CW students and exchange students.

Additional Information

The class will be entirely run in English, including the lectures,
correspondence, assessments, and assignments. Foreign exchange students
are very welcome. There are no obligatory requirements. But: We will
discuss a lot of empirical studies, so you should already have a good
knowledge about empirical social science, particularly about
experiments, surveys (maybe panel-designs), and the way we report and
interpret statistical results. You should be able to read and understand
method and results sections in empirical English journal articles. We
appreciate if you show a reflective and participative attitude in the
class. Speaking about interest and motivation, it is helpful if you are
both puzzled and inspired by (media)psychological issues that you
observed in your everyday life.
Presence at workgroup is mandatory.

Custom Course Registration

In this course you can not enroll yourself for the tutorials, but you will be assigned by the course coordinator. Note: You do have to register for the course, with the corresponding parts!

General Information

Course Code S_PBEMU
Credits 6 EC
Period P2
Course Level 500
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences
Course Coordinator prof. dr. T. Hartmann
Examiner prof. dr. T. Hartmann
Teaching Staff prof. dr. T. Hartmann
dr. K.E. Balint
prof. dr. E.A. Konijn

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Teaching Methods Lecture, Seminar*

*You cannot select a group yourself for this teaching method, you will be placed in a group.

Target audiences

This course is also available as: