The Social Media Effect

Does the extensive use of social media have a positive or negative impact on the health of young people? What are the most recent academic papers on this topic? Clarify what all sides of the argument claim and only then offer your reasoned opinion based on facts.

 

With the ever growing web of technology, social media and its heavy presence in our everyday lives is felt, no matter what we’re doing.  This essay explores the extensive use of social media by young people, and then the effect it has on them and their health (as well as their relationships with friends and family), whether it be a positive or negative impact.  Furthermore, this essay will focus on mental health and will discuss the impacts felt by those affected by it.

The use of social media has only increased in the past years and numerous studies have been conducted to identify the impact that it has on particular demographics and what kind of effect they have.  In, ‘Social media use in the United States: implications for health and communication,’ Chou et al study and ‘identify the socio-demographic and health-related factors associated with social media users in the US’, and they further note that from 2005 to 2009, participation in these particular sites quadrupled in number, (Chou et al, 2009, n. p.).  The study initially finds and states the widespread assumption of ‘participative internet’ (or, social media) in conjunction with changing the way we communicate, which includes health-related communications.  Further, it mentions that ‘social scientists observed that social media have increased individuals’ connectivity and enabled users’ direct participation.  Clearly, this Web 2.0 and its interactive and participative nature have changed the way we communicate with others and the affect it has.

This study is conducted by compiling information based on the different demographics – age, gender, ethnicity, psychological distress, education and general health – across the use of blogging platforms, social medias and participation in an online support group.  What has been found is that out of those aged 18-24, 84.8% are internet users and 76.4% of those use social media.  A further 50.9% of all demographics surveyed that use social media experience a form of psychological distress, thus creating a link between the use of social media and the impact it can have on mental health, (Chou et al, 2009), which is defined as negative in this aspect.

Continuing with the link between psychological distress and internet addiction, Senormanci et al (2014) explore these and the results connected with them.  They have found that ‘depression is the most comorbid disorder with Internet addiction,’ (pp. 1385).  Further detailed is a study that used ‘Eysenck Personality Questionnaire’, to explore various scores (neuroticism/stability, psychoticism/socialisation) in relation to Internet addiction.  Those with higher scores in these, and lower scores for lying tended to be addicted to the Internet.  These people generally use the Internet for ‘expressing their ideas and feelings and showing their hidden skills,’ and they are ‘hyper vigilant to emotional stimulants’, as well as having heavy traits that can lead to depression, (pp. 1386).  Those with neuroticism generally represent emotional instability or excessive reactivity.  However, on the flip side, with a more positive impact, more introverted people can ‘relieve their loneliness’ and use the Internet as a suitable social tool that can also work for emotional regulation.  Furthermore, this study found that the ‘neuroticism scores of the addicted group were significantly higher,’ (pp. 1388).  Senormanci et al has defined both sides to the impact of social media and has further detailed who is more susceptible and what this means.

Dr Scott Eaton of the Sternberg Clinic identifies that using social media leads to ‘exposure to bullying harassment and the language of hate’, (Eaton, n.d.).  Eaton also highlights addiction, in noting that just over half of those involved in a social networking survey accessed these sites multiple times a day, and often feel the need to log on.  In addition, the use and the frequency of it were found to decrease with age.  It is noted that 53% use these networking sites to stay in contact with friends and family at that using this has increased this, and for some it has also increased their participation in social activities, (Matthews & Cameron in Eaton, n.d.).  Eaton notes that this increase has lead to an ‘improvement in self-esteem and mental health.’

The positive impact of social media has also been shown in further surveys, with positive outcomes reported coming from teens who said they were ‘far more likely to say they felt more confident, less depressed, more outgoing, more popular, less shy, and more sympathetic to others,’ because of their use and interaction with social media, (Price-Mitchell, 2012).

While Eaton discusses the social media has helped relationships with family members, rather than hindering them (37% against 2%), it is also recorded that 28% of those surveyed had had a negative experience through the internet and social media, with ‘bullying, unwanted contact and the positing of inappropriate or distressing information,’ being the most common felt, (Eaton, n.d.)

Medical News Today has reported that the use of social media can in fact – in some cases – be seen to improve mental health and wellbeing.  It can also be used to identify mental issues in individuals.  Honor Whiteman continues in an article that it is found that happiness can become a ‘viral’ thing, and that  posting ‘happy status updates encourage other users to post happy status updates themselves,’ (Whiteman, 2014).

After reading and studying various sources, my opinion of the impact that social media can have is that it depends on the person.  I do agree that if a person is more susceptible to depression or anxiety issues, than the use of social media (and the addiction to it) can most definitely have a negative impact.  However, on the other end of the spectrum, social media can indeed help young adults, by expanding their relationships – communicating via text is often seen to be less stressful or nerve-wracking than face-to-face meetings – and as covered by Senormanci et al, showcasing their talents.  In conclusion, various affects are indeed felt by the use of social media, but as a relatively new thing, its long term effects are still widely unknown, but will be further explored in the future.

References

Chou, Wen-ying Sylvia, Hunt, Yvonne M, Beckjord, Ellen Burke, Moser, Richard P & Hesse, Bradford W 2009, ‘Social media use in the United States: implications for health communication’, Journal of Medical Internet Research, vol. 11, no. 4, retrieved 12 September 2014 from < http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2802563/&gt;.

Eaton, Scott (n.d), Social media and its impact on health, Sternberg Clinic Blog, viewed 22 September 2014 at <http://www.sternbergclinic.com.au/social-media-and-its-impact-on-mental-health/&gt;.

Price-Mitchell 2012, Inside the digital lives of teens, Psychology today: the moment of youth, viewed 21 September at <http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-moment-youth/201207/inside-the-digital-lives-teens&gt;.

Senormanci, O, Sarcli O, Atasoy, N, Senormanci, G, Korturk, F & Atik, L 2014, ‘Relationship of internet addiction with cognitive style, personality and depression in university students’, Comprehensive Psychiatry, vol. 55, no. 6, pp. 1385-1390, accessed 31 August 2014 from Medline Database

Whiteman, Honor 2014, ‘Social media: how does it really affect our mental health and well-being?’, Medical News Today, viewed 23 September 2014 at <http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/275361.php&gt;.

Lucy Clark, S2951399

In the works: essay

On from the mind map I posted last week, it was a lot easier and more informative to focus on mental health issues that come about from social media and the impact it has on health, rather than on the physical health.  (However these are linked regardless, because anything that impacts one of them will impact the other).

Chou et al (2009), discusses a study in which 50.9% of all demographics experience a form of psychological distress and that three quarters of those aged 18-24 use social media.  I’m using Chou et al‘s work as a base and expanding from there with different angles on mental health.

Senormanci et al (2014) is a recent paper that discusses this issue, going further to link this use of social media and the internet with the issues.  They also find that social media can have a positive impact on the mental health of young adults as some use it to express themselves creatively and actually form new friendships online.

Dr. Scott Eaton in a blog post for the Sternberg Clinic, discusses various statistics, essentially noting the positive impacts social media has – essentially with the way teens communicate.

Essay Beginnings

Question:  Does the extensive use of social media have a positive or negative impact on the health of young people?  What are the most recent academic papers on this topic?  Clarify what all sides of the argument claim and only then offer your reasoned opinion based on facts.

I chose this question as I feel there is plenty of directions it can be explored in.  I will discuss two aspects of health – physical and mental – and the positive and negative impacts using social media can have on them in young people.  I will also be using bubbl to compile my information/ideas.

New-Mind-Map_3jnytfnn

Questions

  • When will the NBN get to your place? What are the benefits?

I live in Mullumbimby, a small town on the north coast of New South Wales, and my house is a little bit rural, but still only 2km or so from the town centre.  The closest the roll out has started is about twenty minutes away in Byron Bay, and there is no date for when the NBN network will actually come to my household.  Bummer.

  • Find out who your local member is

Justine Elliot (ALP) for Richmond

  • When was the last time they spoke in parliament?

27th August, on the fires in Nimbin town centre, speaking of the town’s loss and praising the fire fighters efforts

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

In 2009, the main aims of the ‘Clean Feed’ was to protect children and block out child pornography and other material deemed objectionable.  It was justified in a comparison to other liberal countries including the United Kingdom, Finland, New Zealand, Canada, Sweden and Norway where similar programs were common.  

Three years later in 2012, it was announced that these plans for filtering were scrapped and instead major Internet Service Providers have been given a list of websites to block – the ‘worst of the worst’, as detailed by Interpol here: (http://www.interpol.int/Crime-areas/Crimes-against-children/Access-blocking/The-INTERPOL-%22Worst-of%22-list

Cullen, Simon 2012, ‘Government abandons plans for Internet filter’, ABC News Online, 9 November 2012.  Viewed 1 September 2014 at <http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-11-09/government-abandons-plans-for-internet-filter/4362354&gt;.

Ensbey, Julian 2009, ‘The Australian government’s new Internet filter program sets a worrying precedent for the democratic world’, The Comment Factory, 17 February 2009.  Viewed 1 September 2014 at <http://www.thecommentfactory.com/the-australian-governments-new-internet-filter-program-is-a-worrying-precedent-for-the-democratic-world-1915/&gt;.

 

Lucy Clark, S2951399

Films

During some of the lectures for New Communication Technologies, we have been shown scenes from various films which use these new technologies.

Her (2013, Spike Jonze) tells the story of a letter writer who purchases a new operating system – ‘designed to meet his every need – that he eventually falls in love with.  It is set in the not-too-distant future and is a take on different technologies that could be developed.

(http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1798709/)

Alphaville (1965, Jean-Luc Goddard), originally, “Alphaville, une étrange aventure de Lemmy Caution”, is French film that follows a man who has traveled to a space city far from Earth to free it from it’s tyrannical ruler and bring back a missing person.  Alphaville is quite different from Earth, in that it’s dictator has outlawed love and self-expression.

(http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0058898/?ref_=nv_sr_1)

Blade Runner (1982, Ridley Scott), explores new technologies in the form of ‘Replicants’ who have stolen a ship to come to Earth and find their creator.  The title character is charged with the task of hunting down and terminating them.  

(http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0083658/?ref_=nv_sr_1)

All of these films share the common genre of ‘science fiction’, which is becoming a key element in new technologies that are being developed and portrayed in films, novels etc.

 

Lucy Clark, S2951399

 

Week 3 – A Whole Lot of Referencing

  • Which of Stephen Stockwell’s books are in the Griffith library?

Stockwell, Stephen 2005, Political campaign strategy: doing democracy in the 21st century, Australian Scholarly Publishing, Melbourne

Stockwell, Stephen & Scott, Paul 2000, All-media guide to fair and cross-cultural reporting for journalists, program makers and media students, Australian Key Centre for Cultural & Media Policy, Nathan

Isakhan, Benjamin & Stockwell, Stephen 2011, The secret history of democracy, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstroke, New York

  • Cite three academic books that might provide useful material for an essay about Jean Luc Godard’s Alphaville. On which campuses do they reside?

Roberts, Adam 2000, Science fiction, Routledge, London
Found: Gold Coast and Nathan 

This book would be handy as it focuses on Science Fiction, a key aspect in Alphaville.

Moghaddam, Fathali M 2013, Psychology of dictatorship, American Psychological Association, Washington DC
Found: Online library 

Dictatorship is also a theme in Goddard’s film and this book would provide some useful material when writing an essay.

Spicer, Andrew 2002, Film Noir, Longman, New York; Harlow, England
Found: College of Art (State Library)

This book explores film noir, an element in the film technique used in Alphaville and would be useful as to understand the fundamentals of the film.

  • What is a book that will assist you to find out about possible research methods to explore social media? 

Hallam, Jed 2013, The social media manifesto, Palgrave Macmillan Ltd, Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire

Hallam explores the use of social media in businesses and shows what research methods can and should be undertake when exploring this relatively new technology, and applying it to a business.

  • What is the latest medical thinking about internet addiction? What database did you use? 

Senormanci, O, Sarcli O, Atasoy, N, Senormanci, G, Korturk, F & Atik, L 2014, ‘Relationship of internet addiction with cognitive style, personality and depression in university students’, Comprehensive Psychiatry, vol. 55, no. 6, pp. 1385-1390, accessed 31 August 2014 from Medline Database

 

Lucy Clark, S2951399