Social Media Today: The Consequences of Extensive Social Media Use

The following is my essay for New Communication Technologies, in which I am supposed to embed hyperlinks to relevant references. Unfortunately, due to the fact that my references come from online journals and databases that require subscription, I was unable to do this. 

Social media has emerged to become a prominent part of the internet, making its way to become a dominating factor in the lives of many young people (Whiteman, 2014). Social media, however, due to how relatively new it is, carries with it many unknown consequences. These include social, economic, psychological or even physical. This paper will strive to investigate the effects that the extensive use of social media will have on the health of its users, focusing on mental health. Ultimately, the evidence will prove that social media, while it does have its benefits, has predominantly negative health effects on people whom use it extensively.

In order to assess the relationship between the use of social media and its subsequent health effects, social media must be defined. Social media as a construct, is composed of several key elements: it is an electronic means of communication, in which communities are created to share information, which can be presented in many platforms (Prasad, 2013). Key examples of these social media platforms include Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

There are many ways in which social media platforms can be harnessed. In relation to the user’s health, it is important to note that social media can be used as a tool to promote positive healthy attitudes and behaviours. The use of social media in promoting individual health can prove to be effective and inexpensive for the companies that harness it (Norman, 2012). This is a positive, yet indirect way of showing the effects of social media on mental health. Studies show that these reforms work. Livingston, Cianfrone, Korf-Uzan and Coniglio (2014) conducted a one year longitudinal study, and found the implementation of social media campaigns focused on mental health, which helped improve the participant’s attitudes on this topic. One potential criticism of the continuous use of these campaigns, is the possibility that exposure to too many campaigns may reduce an individual’s receptivity to it. Regardless, recent research is in favour of the positive power of health campaigns in social media (Livingston, et al., 2014). This positive consequence is an example of how the use of social media can indirectly improve personal health.

Social media also has its positive direct effects. Recently, mental health practitioners have harnessed aspects social media in forms of therapy for individuals with various mental health problems (Betton & Tomlinson, 2013). Social media benefits mental health by reducing social isolation, fostering peer support and creating an opportunity to share knowledge and learn as part of a community (Betton & Tomlinson, 2013). The integration of social media into forms of therapy further displays the positive effects that the use of social media can have on its users, showing that there is much to gain in the social networks created and maintained online.

The evidence being discussed so far, however, does not represent the effects that the extensive use of social media can have. Recent statistics show that sixty-three percent of Facebook users in America access their accounts at least once a day (Whiteman, 2014). Furthermore, forty percent of Facebook users in America are reported to access their accounts multiple times a day (Whiteman, 2014). These statistics show just how predominant social media is in the world today which is not necessarily an entirely positive fact.

The increased extensive use of social media has created new problems in society. People are becoming dependant on their social media usage, experiencing negative emotions when being withheld from their accounts (Whiteman, 2014). A recent survey found that roughly twenty-five percent of participants believed that social media sites had a negative effect on their behaviour and lives (Paddock, 2012). The use of websites like Facebook and Twitter are believed to have negative consequences to those who already suffer from anxiety, and it can be the force that pushes them over the edge, creating a heightened sense of insecurity in these people (Paddock, 2012). This indicates that social media is not a very positive resource in reference to mental health in anxious people. The statistics also show that insecure and anxious people are more likely to be utilising Facebook to a greater degree, compared to their slightly more confident counterparts. This is likely due to the relative ease experienced when communicating through social media (Paddock, 2012). Overall this suggests that the extensive use of websites such as Facebook and Twitter can have very negative effects, not only causing dependence resulting in anxiety when withheld from social media, but also exacerbating existing anxiety problems.

Beyond the scope of anxiety, a recent study investigated the effects on general well-being if the use of Facebook was increased, as compared to decreased, over a fourteen day period. This study found that participants who increased their overall Facebook usage during this time had a decrease in the general well-being during this period (Whiteman, 2013). This is an important finding, as fourteen days is quite a short period, and therefore can be representative of an excessive use of social media. Furthermore, this study shows the effects that extensive Facebook use can have on those who do not necessarily have anxiety problems, and is therefore more generalisable to the public.

Within social media, various types of activities can occur. Some include gaming, or networking, and can be a generally neutral or positive aspect of this construct, however some of these activities can be harmful. An example of this is the cyberbullying. This is a new concept, due to the fact that it requires modern technology to exist, and yet it affects millions of children each year (Kowalski, et al., 2012). A Swedish study found in person bullying to commonly conducted with cyberbullying as well, claiming that cyberbullying is an extension of real-life bullying and can result in depressive symptom in all victims, as well as psychosomatic problems in female victims (Landstedt & Persson, 2014). Even without the presence of real-life bullying, cyberbullying can detrimentally effect a victim’s life having a strong impact on their school experience, with the potential of suffering greater psychological harm than student who experience bullying in real life (Feinberg & Robey, 2009). A very negative aspect of cyberbullying is the fact that victims can remain anonymous, and therefore may feel at liberty to transmit more damaging messages than perpetrators of real-life bullying (Feinberg & Robey, 2009). Cyberbullying, unfortunately, is a significant aspect of social media, and has very detrimental psychological effects to its victims. It is a facet of social media that arguably bears the most risk to the mental health of social media users.

There are many reasons for why the extensive use of social media can have a negative effect of the health of its users, and much support as well. In Ireland, the inappropriate use of social media has been observed to have negative effects on the mental health of its users, in support of the previous literature (Collier, 2013). The facets of social media that are forms of inappropriate use include cyberbullying, as well as the exposure social media enables to violent and sexual material, and online harassment (Collier, 2013). Furthermore, social media can enable its users to decrease the amount of face-to-face social interaction they engage in, making this form of antisocial behaviour, essentially socially acceptable. Until these issues surrounding social media can be addressed, social media should only be recommended in moderation.

The evidence suggests that the extensive use of social media has a negative effect on the user. Whilst the implications of the efficacy of health promotion through social media, and the use of social media in forms of therapy are positive, the predominant negative effect that the extensive use of social media has on general well-being and anxiety levels, makes social media a device that can be detrimental to the user’s health. To exacerbate this, cyberbullying, which is a phenomenon borne of social media, poses the greatest threat to the psychological state of its victims. This needs to be firmly combatted to protect the youth who are predominately the victims of it. Despite the many benefits of social media, the literature provided gives evidence that people should refrain from the overuse of social media in their everyday lives.

References

Betton, B. & Tomlinson, V., 2013. Social media can help in recovery – but are mental health practitioners up to speed?. Mental Health and Social Inclusion, 17(4), pp. 215-219.

Collier, R., 2013. Social media and mental health. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 185(12), p. 577.

Feinberg, T. & Robey, N., 2009. Cyberbullying. The Education Digest, 74(7), pp. 26-31.

Kowalski, R. M., Limber, S. P. & Agatston, P. W., 2012. Cyberbullying : bullying in the digital age. 2nd ed. West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell.

Landstedt, E. & Persson, S., 2014. Bullying, cyberbullying, and mental health in young people. Scandinavian Journal of Public Health45, 42(4), pp. 393-399.

Livingston, J. D., Cianfrone, M., Korf-Uzan, K. & Coniglio, C., 2014. Another time point, a different story: one year effects of a social media intervention on the attitudes of young people towards mental health issues. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 49(6), pp. 985-990.

Norman, C. D., 2012. Social media and health promotion. Global Health Promotion, 19(4), p. 3.

Paddock, C., 2012. Facebook Use Feeds Anxiety And Inadequacy Says Small Study. [Online]
Available at: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/
[Accessed 26 September 2014].

Prasad, B., 2013. Social media, health care, and social networking. Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, 77(3), pp. 492-495.

Whiteman, H., 2013. Could Facebook be making you miserable?. [Online]
Available at: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/
[Accessed 26 September 2014].

Whiteman, H., 2014. Social media: how does it really affect our mental health and well-being?. [Online]
Available at: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/
[Accessed 25 September 2014].

Ever the Acitivist

I don’t really have much of a position on politics. I know I probably should but at this moment in time, I don’t know very much about what’s going on in Australian politics, so I don’t have a particular alignment. Because of this, I took the quiz provided by my lecturer, and it recommends that I most agree with ALP policies (65%) compared to the Greens (61%) and the LNPs (55%). I feel that at this moment in time that is probably true, although there was a time when I was more Liberal-inclined.

The lecturer seems to be playing around with us this week with a series of cheeky tasks he’s asked us to complete. Here I go (I’m going to do something a little different this week and list the tasks:

1) Sign an e-petition

To do this, I search e-petitions (through Google, of course) and went to a Government website with a list of current e-petitions. I chose the very first one (at least when I viewed the site) which asks for drought assistance in Mt Isa. Due to the drought, citizens there must pay excessive rates for access to water. I’ve lived on tank water for many years of my life, and because of this I feel I am probably more aware of the drought than a lot people. Not having access to water is very serious, and it’s a bill that citizens there have to pay, because water is a necessity. Because of this, I strongly believe the government should support them, and I wanted to offer my assistance.

2) Respond to a professional blogger at a major news site.

I chose to comment on a news site recommended in my tutorial, Crikey.com. I chose to comment on a book review because it also had a lot of political stuff to say. I commented here.

3) What is Barak Obama up to today? Can you send him a message about the importance
of freedom on the internet?

Barack Obama’s schedule unfortunately wasn’t public today, and I don’t have a twitter to look it up. I have to offer you, instead, his official White House schedule for yesterday. Note that he did not wake up at 4 am, the poor guy, there is a time stamp in the column with his activities noting the local time.

4:40 AM
The President and Prime Minister Cameron visit a school
Local Event Time:

9:40AM BST

Newport, Wales
Travel Pool Coverage
6:00 AM
The President joins a meeting on Ukraine
Local Event Time:

11:00AM BST

Celtic Manor, Newport, Wales
Pool Spray at the Top
7:25 AM
The President is greeted by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and Prime Minister Cameron
Local Event Time:

12:25PM BST

Celtic Manor, Newport, Wales
Open to pre-credentialed media
7:30 AM
The President takes an official family photo
Local Event Time:

12:30PM BST

Celtic Manor, Newport, Wales
Open to pre-credentialed media
8:00 AM
The President joins NATO leaders for a meeting on Afghanistan
Local Event Time:

1:00PM BST

Celtic Manor, Newport, Wales
Pool Spray at the Top
11:45 AM
The President joins NATO leaders for a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission
Local Event Time:

4:45PM BST

Celtic Manor, Newport, Wales
Pool Spray at the Top
3:15 PM
The President arrives Cardiff Castle
Local Event Time:

8:15PM BST

Cardiff, Wales
Pooled Press
3:30 PM
The President takes an official family photo
Local Event Time:

8:30PM BST

Cardiff Castle – Cardiff, Wales
Pooled Press
3:40 PM
The President participates in a leaders’ working dinner
Local Event Time:

8:40PM BST

Cardiff Castle – Cardiff, Wales
Closed Press

I hate to disappoint me lecturer but I don’t believe I can send Barack Obama a message. I don’t know, maybe that’s just me creating the metaphorical blocks when in reality I could post him something and he’s be able to read it, but I’m quite sure that I couldn’t easily send him a text or an email. If i had twitter, maybe I’d have a chance.

If I wanted to tweet him something maybe it would be this:

“Hey Barack (or maybe I’d call him Barry), just wanted to let you know I think freedom on the internet is super important, because stopping this would block our rights to express ourselves, and I really don’t want to live in a distopic society.”

4) What are/were the Australian Government’s plans to censor the internet (the so-called “Clean Feed”)?

Why is it when I look up clean feed I get clean energy? Here’s a quick run-down of what the clean feed is. The clean feed is basically a system to block certain information being allowed to computers at an ISP level. So instead of Griffith saying, “no you can’t go on that site,” the government is. So you can’t just go home and look it up (unless you home is overseas, I guess). From what I can find (that hasn’t been churned past – see what I did there 😉 ) the Australian Government is currently testing the clean feed software, with plans to install it at a mandatory level in the future. I really don’t like the idea of this, because it’s one of those things where they can say “if you’ve got nothing to hide, you won’t mind” even though they’re taking your choices away. Hello aforementioned dystopic society!

5) What are the benefits of the NBN? What potential form(s) will the NBN take when it is finally rolled out?

The NBN can provide faster, more reliable internet on a large scale. When its finally rolled out, it can take to forms: fibres can go to nodes on streets, that will then have wires to houses. Alternatively, fibres could go straight to houses. The latter is more effective as the data is being projected right along the high-performance cables, and not processesd by a middle man (the nodes). The nodes, however, are cheaper for the government, and are currently what they plan on going ahead with.

6) Find out who your local, state and federal representatives are. Send one a message

My federal representative is Graham Perrett.

My state representative is Mark Stewart.

I couldn’t find my local representative, but I only just moved to this suburb (two weeks ago) so I guess I ave a valid excuse for not knowing.

Mark Stewart seems to be all over his public relations so I choose to email him:

Hello, my name is Emily and I’ve just moved to your electorate. I’d like to know more about what’s going on in this electorate right now, and how you’re contributing to it?

Thank you, 

Emily.

It’s simple, but I like it.

7) Look up the Queensland or Australian Hansard to find the last time your local member spoke in parliament

I chose Mark Stewart again for this. His last address was one the 6th of August. It seems to me to be quite a while ago, maybe he’ll do another one soon.

8) Let your local member know what you think about their last speech

That awkward moment when you read this after you’ve sent the first email. This is my follow up email.

Hi again,

I read the address you gave on the 6th. I was glad to see you asking questions about how the budget was put to use because sometimes it’s hard to truly know. I would like to know more about what the Finance and Administration committee does, if you wouldn’t mind?

Thanks again,

Emily.

I didn’t want to write to much because I’ve never spoken to him before, so I’d rather see how he replies before I ask anything further.

That’s it for now everyone. Hope you’ve all enjoyed my blogs thus far,

Emily

The History of Mobiles

timeline

This is a short history of the mobile phone, that shows the milestones that brought us to where we are today. Unfortunately the timeline software I used didn’t have an option to keep my timeline online – I could only download it. The raw picture file is much bigger to, but wordpress is automatically shrinking my picture. Please click to enlarge and message me if you want any clarification on what the words say.

References:

Goodwin, R., 2013. The History of Mobile Phones: 1973 to 2007. [Online] Available at: http://www.knowyourmobile.com/ %5BAccessed 09 September 2014].

Time, 2014. A Photographic History of the Cell Phone. [Online] Available at: http://content.time.com/ %5BAccessed 09 September 2014].

USwitch, 2014. History of Mobile Phones. [Online] Available at: http://www.uswitch.com/ %5BAccessed 09 September 2014].

 Feel free to comment your thoughts!

Emily

Academic Researching Skills

For this week’s tutorial assessment, I researched what books by Stephen Stockwell were stocked in the Griffith Library. I found that all of his published books were available at a Griffith library. The Harvard referencing details for his books are:

Isakhan, B., 1977, Stockwell, S., 1954 & Palgrave Connect (Online service) 2011, The secret history of democracy, Palgrave Macmillan Ltd, New York; Basingstoke.

Isakhan, B. & Stockwell, S. 2012, The Edinburgh companion to the history of democracy.

Stockwell, S.E. 2010, Rhetoric and Democracy: Deliberative Opportunities in Current Electoral Processes, VDM Verlag Dr. Müller.

Stockwell, S., 1954 & Informit 2005, Political campaign strategy: doing democracy in the 21st century, Australian Scholarly Publishing, Melbourne.

Stockwell, S., 1954 & Scott, P., 1961 2000, All-media guide to fair and cross-cultural reporting: for journalists, program makers and media students, Australian Key Centre for Cultural and Media Policy, Nathan, Qld.

Three academic books that could aid in composing an essay on Jean-Luc Goddard’s film Alphaville include:

Brody, R., 2008.Everything is cinema : the working life of Jean-Luc Godard. 1st ed. New York: Metropolitan Books. -This is available at the Nathan and South Bank campuses.

The Gale Group Inc., 2000. Alphaville. In: S. Pendergast & T. Pendergas, eds. International dictionary of films and filmmakers. 2nd ed. – This is available at the South Bank campus.

Temple, M., 1963, Williams, J.S., 1963 & Witt, M. 2004, For ever Godard, Black Dog, London. -This is also available at the South Bank campus.

A book to aid in researching and exploring social media, could possibly be:

Hallam, J. & Palgrave Macmillan 2013, The social media manifesto, Palgrave Macmillan Ltd, Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire.

The latest studies in internet addiction examines the relationships between an individuals level of loneliness, their internet addiction, and the levels of interpersonal trust they display in virtual environments. To find this study I used the database PsychInfo (via Ovid). The full Havard reference is below:

Usta, E., Korkmaz, O. & Kurt, I., 2014. ‘The examination of individuals’ virtual loneliness states in internet addiction and virtual environments in terms of inter-personal trust levels’. Computers in Human Behavior, Volume 36, pp. 214-244.

I found trying to research what IT engineers were thinking about surveillance camera’s very difficult. I tried to look for relevant databases, however I was unsuccessful. Instead I turned to the Griffith Library catalogue, searching ‘surveillance cameras’ and looked and the names of the journal they were published in, to find field-relevant information. From this I found sources mainly discussing progressions on facial recognition technology. It seems that the focus of IT engineers for this particular subject is the progression of this technology. I believe that an essay exploring the use of surveillance cameras on the modern world, and the social implications surrounding their advancement could be very interesting. Personally, from a psychology student perspective, I believe it would be interesting to see if and how the knowledge of the use of surveillance cameras modifies behaviour.

The sources I found relevant for this topic were:

Grgic, M., Delac, K. & Grgic, S. 2011, ‘SCface – surveillance cameras face database’, Multimedia Tools and Applications, vol. 51, no. 3, pp. 863-879.

Qureshi, F.Z. & Terzopoulos, D. 2006, ‘Surveillance camera scheduling: a virtual vision approach’, Multimedia Systems, vol. 12, no. 3, pp. 269-283.

‘Context-based robust face detection algorithm for surveillance cameras’, 2012, IEEJ Transactions on Electrical and Electronic Engineering, vol. 7, no. 6, pp. 1.

That’s it for this week! I hope some of this information you found useful, feel free to comment if you have any questions,

Emily