The Happiness Effect: How Social Media Is Driving a Generation to Appear Perfect at Any Cost

(Author) (Foreword by)

Product Details

$21.99  $20.45
Oxford University Press, USA
Publish Date
6.1 X 9.2 X 1.1 inches | 1.1 pounds

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About the Author

Donna Freitas is a Nonresident Research Associate at the University of Notre Dame's Center for the Study of Religion and Society, and when she is not traveling for research she teaches in the Honors Colleges at Hofstra University. She is the author of Sex and the Soul: Juggling Sexuality, Spirituality, Romance and Religion on America's College Campuses (Oxford University Press, 2008), as well as several novels for young adults. A regular contributor to Publishers Weekly, she has also written for The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and The Washington Post.


"Freitas's book makes us confront our ever-changing society to help our younger pioneers
successfully navigate this technological nuance that is not going away any time soon."

"With thick description and compelling accounts from youth, Freitas invites the reader to tour American collegiate life as she showcases how social media exacerbates the pressure that today's students feel to be happy and successful. The Happiness Effect demonstrates how timeless collegiate practices are being reshaped by the anxiety and stress students face, asking hard questions about technology and social life."
- Danah boyd, author of It's Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens

"An eye-opening, data-driven look at how young people use social media to craft their images, keep tabs on their peers, and create their identities. This book is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand how technology is shaping an entire generation of Americans." - Scott Westerfeld, author of Uglies and Zeroes

"In the age of social media, we live a new state of self: 'I share, therefore I am.' Here, media researcher Donna Freitas explores what this means for a generation that has never known another way of life. Or as one young man put is to Freitas, reflecting on a date with his girlfriend: 'It's not an official event until we have taken a selfie.' What Freitas finds is poignant, disturbing: There is only one way to be in public: smiling. Read this book to better understand the alienations that follow when we validate our private lives in public spaces."
- Sherry Turkle, Professor, MIT; Author of Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age and Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other

"Attention-grabbing research that amply shows the many detriments of social media, particularly for young adults." -Kirkus

"In this extremely readable and hugely informative book, Freitas clarifies with tenderness and insight the profound challenges and implications of social networking for young adults. Psychologically astute, soulful, and full of wisdom, this book should be required reading for college students everywhere, as well as for adults who want to help this generation of digital pioneers." - Catherine Steiner-Adair, author of The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age

"When I want to know what college students are thinking and feeling, I turn to Donna Freitas. At a moment when college students' happiness is at an all-time low, we need this book. Combining vibrant storytelling, original research, and cultural critique, The Happiness Effect is required reading for anyone parenting or teaching college students." - Rachel Simmons, author of Odd Girl Out

"Freitas takes a thoughtful look at dilemmas arising from young people's social media use. Her opinion, based on interviews with 184 students at 13 colleges in the U.S. and 884 survey responses, is that there are more insidious problems than rampant bullying and sexting. " - Publishers Weekly

"The Happiness Effect is a compassionate and well-meaning introduction to the perils and pleasures of social media . . ." - Bitch Magazine

"The headlong rush into a digital future has brought anguish as well as enlightenment. It makes people seamlessly connected, better informed and able to achieve things that were unimaginable not long ago. But it has not made them happy. Freitas's students are fretful, restless and insecure - addicted to apps, plagued by their fears of missing out, and longing to be 'liked.'" - John Gapper, The Financial Times

"As Freitas puts it, Facebook and Twitter are, in a way, the anti-confession, the places we pretend that we have it all together, as though we were the gods of our own future. The gospel challenges the assumption that confessing weakness and need makes you a failure. Those who minister to young adults will have an important task in opening up space for them to honestly confide their brokenness. It is only here that transformation happens, as God meets us in our weakness." - Andrew Root, Christianity Today

"Donna Freitas argues in this provocative book . . . these alarmist fears are drawing attention away from the real issues that young adults are facing. While much of the public's attention has been focused on headline-grabbing stories, the everyday struggles and joys of young people have remained under the radar. Freitas brings their feelings to the fore, in the words of young people themselves. The Happiness Effect is an eye-opening window into their first-hand experiences of social media and its impact on them." - Regal Critiques

"She [Freitas] limits herself to a single topic-the effect of social media on the lives of college students-that turns out to have myriad dimensions, each of them explored in informative, artfully crafted chapters on selfies and self-image, sex and sexting, public and private identity, and more." -The Gospel Coalition