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Year 12 CAFS IRP: Home

Year 12 CAFS

CAFS IRP Question

To what extent does exposure to the internet impact the wellbeing of female high school students in Australia?   

Finding Resources in Accessit


Here are some books that you may find useful during your studies.  Search the Bennies catalogue Accessit for more, or browse the Non-fiction collection NFS.


NSW Department of Education

Social media helps children communicate, share and learn, and offers opportunity for children to practice key 21st century skills they will use into the future.

Growing up digital in Australia

Screen-based technology has become an omnipresent force in the lives of Australian children, and it penetrates every aspect of a child’s life. Today’s cohort of school-aged children is the first generation of children that have been immersed in the digital era, as learners and citizens. 

Centre of Digital Wellbeing

Social media has fundamentally shifted the way Australians maintain connection, consume content and share information. The tools of e-commerce and the digitalisation of advertising are driving the creation of platforms organised by algorithms that are designed to change human behaviour and our methods of social connection.

Reach Out

The internet and social media provide young people with a range of benefits, and opportunities to empower themselves in a variety of ways. Young people can maintain social connections and support networks that otherwise wouldn't be possible, and can access more information than ever before.

Student Wellbeing Hub

recent study by the eSafety Commissioner found that there were big differences in social media use between boys and girls. Boys tended to gravitate toward video streaming sites like YouTube, while girls preferred platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat

esafety commisioner


The impact of internet exposure on the wellbeing of female high school students in Australia can vary and is influenced by multiple factors. It's important to note that individual experiences may differ, and generalisations might not capture the full complexity of the issue. Here are some potential aspects to consider:

  1. Social Media and Peer Comparison:

    • Positive Impact: The internet, including social media, can provide platforms for positive social interactions, support networks, and opportunities for self-expression.
    • Negative Impact: Excessive use of social media may contribute to negative self-esteem and body image issues due to unrealistic standards perpetuated online. Cyberbullying is another concern that can affect mental health.
  2. Educational Resources:

    • Positive Impact: The internet offers a wealth of educational resources, which can enhance learning experiences and academic performance.
    • Negative Impact: Excessive use of the internet for non-educational purposes may lead to distraction and decreased academic performance.
  3. Mental Health and Online Communities:

    • Positive Impact: Online communities can provide a sense of belonging and support for those facing mental health challenges, fostering understanding and reducing stigma.
    • Negative Impact: Exposure to harmful content, such as pro-anorexia or self-harm communities, can have detrimental effects on mental health.
  4. Information Access:

    • Positive Impact: The internet allows access to information on health, well-being, and various support services.
    • Negative Impact: Exposure to misinformation or harmful content may negatively affect decision-making and overall wellbeing.
  5. Online Safety and Privacy:

    • Positive Impact: Education on online safety and privacy can empower students to protect themselves from potential risks.
    • Negative Impact: Cybersecurity threats, online harassment, or privacy breaches may lead to stress and anxiety.
  6. Time Management:

    • Positive Impact: Proper time management of internet use can lead to a balanced lifestyle, allowing for leisure, socializing, and academic activities.
    • Negative Impact: Excessive screen time and internet use may contribute to sleep disturbances, physical health issues, and reduced face-to-face social interactions.
  7. Parental Involvement:

    • Positive Impact: Parental guidance and involvement can help students navigate the online world responsibly and mitigate potential negative impacts.
    • Negative Impact: Lack of parental guidance may expose students to inappropriate content and online risks.

Research and ongoing studies are crucial to understanding the evolving dynamics of internet exposure on the wellbeing of female high school students in Australia. It is essential to consider the individual needs, resilience, and coping mechanisms of students while addressing the broader societal and cultural context.

Australian Government Mental Health Commision


This reliance on digital technology has fuelled concerns from parents, teachers, governments and young people themselves that digital technologies and social media are exacerbating feelings of anxiety and depression, disturbing sleep patterns, leading to cyber-bullying and distorting body image.

Scully and Swords (public domain)

Adolescents’ engagement with online social networking platforms is advancing at an exponential rate and research is needed to investigate any impact on young users’ mental health. This study examined appearance-related activity (e.g. looking at photos of friends) on social media and body dissatisfaction among adolescent girls.

Fardouly (public domain)

Preadolescent social media use is normative and could influence mental health. This study investigated; (1) differences between preadolescent users and nonusers of various social media platforms on mental health, (2) unique links between time spent on those platforms, appearance-based activities on social media, and mental health, and (3) the moderating role of biological sex on those relationships.

Jarman et al. (public domain)

Despite adolescents’ prolific use of social media, relationships between social media and body satisfaction and well-being are not yet well understood, especially among boys. This study tested a sociocultural model of body image within the context of social media among adolescent boys and girls. Specifically, this study examined whether appearance-ideal internalization and social appearance comparisons mediated relationships between social media engagement (intensity and appearance-focused use) and body satisfaction and subjective well-being.