Fulbright Ireland–USA has announced that CU Boulder’s ATLAS Institute will host Fulbright Scholar Eoin Whelan, professor of business analytics and society at the National University of Ireland, Galway, during summer 2023.
Whelan researches the impact of social media platforms such as Snapchat, Instagram, WhatsApp, and TikTok on the lives of teenagers. With evidence mounting that problematic social media use is connected with rising levels of depression, anxiety, poor self-esteem, inter-personal problems, loneliness and even suicide, Whelan aims to determine if an abstinence from social media, commonly known as a “digital detox,” is an effective intervention strategy for promoting a healthy way of life for teenagers. Supported specifically by the Fulbright Irish TechImpact Scholar Award, Whelan will work closely with ATLAS faculty member Annie Margaret, whose Digital Wellness Summer Program builds awareness of the impact of social media on mental health among middle school students, promoting a variety of interventions. His goal will be to identify which interventions are most effective.
“Fulbright saw the unique opportunity presented by Annie Margaret’s summer program and the potential societal benefit of studying the project,” says Whelan. “I’m delighted by their decision to support the work.”
Margaret said, “Having witnessed the impact of the Digital Wellness Summer Program on teens, I’m excited to quantify the positive outcomes and identify which interventions are most effective so that we can expand our reach and impact—empowering young people to develop healthy relationships with smartphones, social media, and themselves.”
Whelan is a senior lecturer in business information systems at NUI Galway, a visiting professor at the Institute d’Economie Scientifique et de Gestion, France, and a visiting researcher at Stellenbosch University, South Africa. His research explores the psychology underlying engagement with interactive digital media such as smartphones, social networking sites, fitness tracking apps, and online gambling and gaming sites, focusing on how different attributes of digital media interact with a person's motivations, personality, beliefs, cognition and situation, and how those interactions might influence outcomes such as wellbeing, conflict and performance.
His publications have appeared in Information Systems Journal, Journal of Information Technology, European Journal of Information Systems, MIT Sloan Management Review, and R&D Management. The findings of his research have also been featured in mainstream international outlets such as Forbes, Financial Times, Fortune, Reuters, Irish Independent, and the Irish Times.
Whelan serves on the editorial boards of the European Journal of Information Systems and Information & Organization and has previously led special issues in top basket information systems journals.