Recent research and clinical psychologists now suggest that some adolescents are engaging in a newer form of self-aggression — digital self-harm. They’re anonymously posting mean and derogatory comments about themselves on social media.
According to a survey published late last year in the Journal of Adolescent Health, teens are bullying themselves online as a way to manage feelings of sadness and self-hatred and to gain attention from their friends.
“We were alarmed to learn that 6 percent of the youth who participated in our study engaged in some form of digital self-harm,” says Sameer Hinduja, co-author of the study and a professor of criminology at Florida Atlantic University. He is also the co-director of the Cyberbullying Research Center.
“Because teens’ online and offline worlds overlap, digital self-harm is a concern for some youth, making online self-harm an emerging area of research,” says, Susan Swearer, a professor of psychology at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln
Because the advent of social media has changed the way many teens form and experience relationships, normal adolescent feelings of insecurity, anxiety and loneliness can become magnified as they scroll through their peers’ social media reels. Hinduja says some teens cope with that distress by turning their angst on themselves online.
In a soon-to-be published study, Jennings and her co-authors provided an extended version of CARE training to 224 teachers in high-poverty schools in New York City, with several two-day sessions spaced over the course of a year.
CARE TECHNIQUES TO TRY IN THE CLASSROOM Mindfulness for students and teachers
early 2018 is defined by a mix of long-standing trends and newly emerging narratives
Facebook and YouTube dominate this landscape, as notable majorities of U.S. adults use each of these sites. At the same time, younger Americans (especially those ages 18 to 24) stand out for embracing a variety of platforms and using them frequently. Some 78% of 18- to 24-year-olds use Snapchat, and a sizeable majority of these users (71%) visit the platform multiple times per day. Similarly, 71% of Americans in this age group now use Instagram and close to half (45%) are Twitter users
The video-sharing site YouTube – which contains many social elements, even if it is not a traditional social media platform – is now used by nearly three-quarters of U.S. adults and 94% of 18- to 24-year-olds.
a majority of users (59%) say it would not be hard to stop using these sites, including 29% who say it would not be hard at all to give up social media.
Pinterest remains substantially more popular with women (41% of whom say they use the site) than with men (16%).
LinkedIn remains especially popular among college graduates and those in high-income households. Some 50% of Americans with a college degree use LinkedIn, compared with just 9% of those with a high school diploma or less.
The messaging service WhatsApp is popular in Latin America, and this popularity also extends to Latinos in the United States – 49% of Hispanics report that they are WhatsApp users, compared with 14% of whites and 21% of blacks.
THURSDAY, MARCH 15, 2018 | 1:00 PM CENTRAL | 60 MINUTES
Instant communication with one another (and the world) has tremendous benefits. At the same time, it has serious drawbacks that tend to offset those advantages. The evidence is mounting that students’ overreliance on their cherished devices is interfering with their critical thinking and problem-solving skills, ultimately impacting their emotional health, mental health, and academic performance.
How can your institution assist students in the digitally-obsessed information age?
Register today for the Magna Online Seminar, Students and Social Media: How Much is Too Much?, presented by Aaron Hughey, EdD. You’ll explore ways to develop and implement a blueprint for effectively assisting students who are experiencing emotional and mental challenges due to their overindulgence in social media.
Through the evidence-based best practices and insights gleaned through this seminar, you’ll be able to respond more effectively to the needs of students who are experiencing emotional and mental health challenges due to their overinvolvement with social media.
Upon completion of this seminar, you’ll be able to:
Understand how today’s students are qualitatively different from their predecessors 15-20 years ago
Articulate why technology has both benefits and challenges
Describe the prevalence of emotional and mental issues among today’s college students
Describe the emerging relationship between overinvolvement with social media and emotional issues
Educate students, faculty, staff, and student affairs professionals regarding social media and how overinvolvement can precipitate stress, anxiety, depression, and even suicide and violence
Recognize basic symptomology and warning signs associated with overinvolvement with social media, as well as response techniques
Characteristics of today’s college students and the similarities/differences from previous generations
How technology has affected the way students learn
Emotional and mental issues among today’s college student population
The increase in addiction disorders in today’s college students
Overinvolvement with social media and emotional and mental health issues
Social media and stress, anxiety, depression, violence, and suicide
Emotional states and their connection to social media
Symptomology and warning signs
This seminar is designed for anyone at any institution who is responsible for the mental and emotional well-being of college students, especially faculty, administrators, and staff of departments that provide direct services to students, including college counseling centers, student health centers, career and academic advising services, housing and residence hall professionals and paraprofessionals, student activities and organizations, academic support services, and programs and services for at-risk students.
says David Greenfield, a psychologist and assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Connecticut:When we hear a ding or little ditty alerting us to a new text, email or Facebook post, cells in our brains likely release dopamine — one of the chemical transmitters in the brain’s reward circuitry. That dopamine makes us feel pleasure
“It’s a spectrum disorder,” says Dr. Anna Lembke, a psychiatrist at Stanford University, who studies addiction. “There are mild, moderate and extreme forms.” And for many people, there’s no problem at all.
Signs you might be experiencing problematic use, Lembke says, include these:
Interacting with the device keeps you up late or otherwise interferes with your sleep.
It reduces the time you have to be with friends or family.
It interferes with your ability to finish work or homework.
It causes you to be rude, even subconsciously. “For instance,” Lembke asks, “are you in the middle of having a conversation with someone and just dropping down and scrolling through your phone?” That’s a bad sign.
It’s squelching your creativity. “I think that’s really what people don’t realize with their smartphone usage,” Lembke says. “It can really deprive you of a kind of seamless flow of creative thought that generates from your own brain.”
Consider a digital detox one day a week
Tiffany Shlain, a San Francisco Bay Area filmmaker, and her family power down all their devices every Friday evening, for a 24-hour period.
“It’s something we look forward to each week,” Shlain says. She and her husband, Ken Goldberg, a professor in the field of robotics at the University of California, Berkeley, are very tech savvy.
A recent study of high school students, published in the journal Emotion, found that too much time spent on digital devices is linked to lower self-esteem and a decrease in well-being.
Common Sense Media recently partnered with the Center for Humane Technology, which supports the development of ethical technological tools, to lay out a fierce call for regulation and awareness about the health issues surrounding tech addiction.
To support educators making such decisions, Common Sense Media is taking their “Truth about Tech” campaign to schools through an upgraded version of their current Digital Citizenship curriculum. The new updates will include more information on subjects such as:
Creating a healthy media balance and digital wellness;
Concerns about the rise of hate speech in schools, that go beyond talking about cyberbullying; and
Fake news, media literacy and curating your own content
What Does ‘Tech Addiction’ Mean?
In a recent NPR report, writer Anya Kamenetz, notes that clinicians are debating whether technology overuse is best categorized as a bad habit, a symptom of other mental struggles (such as depression or anxiety) or as an addiction.
Dr. Jenny Radesky, a developmental-behavioral pediatrician at the American Academy of Pediatrics, notes that though she’s seen solid evidence linking heavy media usage to problems with sleep and obesity, she hesitated to call the usage “addiction.”
Dr. Robert Lustig, an endocrinologist who studies hormones at the University of Southern California disagreed, noting that parents have to see the overuse of technology as an addiction.
Media technology—from mass media to social media and from video gaming to computer-mediated communication—plays an increasingly central role in people’s lives. Due to exponential increases in computing power, people now carry incredibly powerful computers—their smartphones—everywhere they go. This ever-greater access to media technology is generating an ever-greater conflict between media activities and the unmediated activities critical for psychological well-being—from our face-to-face conversations and family time to our down time and work lives. What are the costs and benefits of people’s modern media technology use for psychological well-being? Using a complementarity-interference (CI) framework, I review research to illuminate key psychological processes (i.e., mediators) and conditions (i.e., moderators) of the relationship between media technology and psychological well-being. Based on the existing evidence, I propose an initial theoretical CI model of the effects of media technology on psychological well-being. I use this CI model to outline important directions for future research, providing guidelines for an integrated, theoretically informed research on media technology.
Keywords: Media, Communication technology, Computer-mediated communication (CMC), Subjective well-being, Human-computer interaction (HCI)
Definition Media Technology
Media technology. In this chapter, we will explore psychological well-being in the context of modern media technology. In common parlance, we often think of the word ‘media’ as referring to mass media, such as news media (e.g., TV, radio), and more recently, to social media (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram). But media—the plural of medium—broadly refers to any technological tool that serves as a bridge or conduit to stimuli not otherwise available in the immediate physical environment. Thus, media technology refers to books and newspapers, radio and television, video and computer games—or to any device or method people use to transcend the constraints of their immediate physical environment: from yesterday’s dial-up telephone to the today’s smartphone, and from writing a hand-written letter to texting a friend (c.f., Okdie et al., 2014). Related terms also exist in the literature including information and communication technology, or ICT, as well as computer-mediated communication, or CMC. Most of the findings discussed here apply to—and in fact come from—the literature on ICT and CMC
While using the broad term, media technology, this chapter will focus primarily on the effects of media technology developed in the past century or so, including television, video games, and, most recently, mobile computers such as smartphones. In other words, we will be focusing on screen media technology. I will use the term mediated to refer to the stimuli afforded by the media technology, and the term unmediated to refer to behavior that does not involve the use of media (e.g., face-to-face interactions). Even though media technology itself is physical, I will use the term immediate physical environment to refer to the environment in which the media technology use occurs.