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Final Eassy for Social Media Is an Ever Present Phenomenon.

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Jason Kritzberg

Elif Candangelen

CTVA 301

20 December 2018

Final Essay

Social media is an ever present phenomenon that if affecting people of a variety demographics. Investigating its effects on human psychology and behavior is necessary to determine if and what to extent its impact is positive or negative. This issue needs to be solved due to the growing numbers in phone addiction. In addition, people are becoming less social and forgetting how to properly communicate with each other. It can especially help individuals who had a tough time dealing with their personal issues due to their use of social media. Smartphones are significant predictor of intention to use social media and social media is a predictor to purchase a smartphone. As the penetration of mobile phones in societies increases, there is a large growth in the use of mobile phones especially among the youth. We believe that this study will not only benefit teenagers, but everyone who uses a cell phone and has social media. With less interaction online and more interaction through face to face contact, people will be able to adjust quicker when applying to jobs, learning in a school environment, or just casually hanging out with friends. By collecting data through social media by having people answer the survey questions, we will also be able to accumulate results for the amount of people using social media and the amount of hours each person is online. With these results, we can possibly allow people to realize their media usage through data and possibly change their attitude regarding this ever growing issue.

        Investigating social media effects on human psychology and behavior is necessary to determine if and to what extent its impact is positive or negative. This issue needs to be solved due to the growing numbers in phone addiction. In addition, people are becoming less social and forgetting how to properly communicate with each other. People are using smartphone’s ubiquitous and people are starting to see the effects they cause. Studies are showing that smartphone use is not only causing health issues on men and women, but also social and learning issues as well. Children are being allowed to own smartphones way too early in their lives and we are seeing the numbers rise with children on social media. Today, "’our understanding is that about half of kids have some form of social media by age 12,’ Knorr said, referencing a Common Sense Media census report released in 2016” (CNN Health). The problem also stems down to the parents and allowing their children to use smartphones at such early ages.

         Due to children using smartphones at earlier ages, you can assume that the effects of smartphones have higher effects on their developing brains. Dr. S.J. Kim of Ajou University Hospital in the Republic of Korea in 2016, supports this argument in her field survey. Kim concluded that children with higher usage of smartphones “show more somatic symptoms, more attention problems, more aggressive symptoms, and more withdrawal symptoms” (30). Rehabilitation centers have been set up for children as “one in 10 South Korean children between the ages of 10 and 19 are addicted to the internet” according to a recent study by Reuters (Shin,2018, p.1). The fact that rehabilitation centers are being set up solely for media addiction proves that this obsession to the internet and social media has become a major problem. 

This distraction caused by smartphones have led to many negative instances where toddlers, ages zero to five, end up in the emergency room. Craig Palsson in 2017, writer of “Smartphones and Child Injuries,” reports that “from 2005 to 2012, injuries to children under five increased by 10%, possibly because smartphones distract caregivers from supervising children.” It is clear to see that smartphones are a huge distraction to not only children, but parents as well. Parents spend more time on their phone and as a result, their children are seeing the negative effects. Palsson also states that “hospitals experienced a 5% increase in emergency department visits for children ages 0–5, but none for children ages 6–10.Age-specific injury patterns on playgrounds, from poisoning, and in sports further support the conclusion that smartphones distract caregivers” (23). This increase in playground injuries, poisonings, and sport related injuries can suggest that parents are too distracted from cell phones and are not paying adequate attention to their children. Parents are the root of the problem and it shows that even if children are out playing and not in front of the screens, they are still getting injured or sick. Parents need to take into consideration the issues smartphones cause when one is distracted. With less diversion, parents will be able to properly take care and watch over their children to avoid the issues Palsson stated.

        We believe using an excessive amount of social media result in other serious problems such as like cyberbullying. If you can’t imagine your life without social media, that’s a sign that you’ve fallen a victim to the evil power of social networking. Indirect tweets, embarrassing photos on Instagram, and hateful messages on Facebook are all examples of cyberbullying. In addition to the many negative health effects caused by smartphones, cyberbullying is a prominent social issue that is occurring in today’s society. Cyberbullying not only harms the person being bullied online, but those doing the bullying or participating in it. Cyberbullying can be persistent, occurring 24 hours a day, which could be difficult for children to find relief without not having a phone. Cyberbullying can be permanent if the content is not reported. Anything posted on social media will stay and a negative online reputation can affect future college acceptances or job opportunities as companies and schools research social media accounts beforehand. Moreover, cyberbullying can be hard to notice. Parents and teachers sometimes do not oversee or have accounts that monitor their children so sometimes the bullying can be overlooked. In addition, children usually hide the fact that they are getting bullied from their family, much like what I did when this happened to me. Cyberbullying is a serious social issue caused by smartphones and technology and needs to be taken more seriously. Parents often stand by the benefits of allowing their children to own a cellphone, but more studies coming out are showing the risks are outweighing the benefits. The survey, “Children Who Own Cell Phones Prone to Cyberbullying,” by the American Academy of Pediatrics, found that based on “4,584 students in grades 3, 4, and 5 between 2014 and 2016, 9.5% of children reported being a victim of cyberbullying. Children who owned cell phones were significantly more likely to report being a victim of cyberbullying, especially in grades 3 and 4.” In addition, “the increased risk of cyberbullying related to phone ownership could be tied to increased opportunity and vulnerability. Continuous access to social media and texting increases online interactions, provides more opportunities to engage both positively and negatively with peers, and increases the chance of an impulsive response to peers' postings and messages” (12).
        The negative impact social media has on others does not even have to be a direct one. What people are suffering from mostly is that Instagram has an encouraging side. With the increasing amount of social media influencers, people tend to envy their lifestyles and how they portray themselves online, and they want to look exactly like them. On the other hand, the pictures they choose to post are only their good sides are rendered with many editing applications. People fall for that and they think they have something missing which, in the end, might even cause them to become depressed or feel insufficient. Morgan Glucksman states that, “before the rise of social media influencers, advertising to brand consumers was one-sided. Before the days of social media, a consumer could only see a product through print advertisements, billboards, radio ads, and television commercials. Today, a consumer now can interact with a product through social media,” which shows that the influencers have put on the role of advertisements and as people fall for advertisements, they now also fall for these influencers and their lifestyles (86). These influencers are affecting people just by how they portray themselves, what they wear, or what products they use. People either want the products they use because they want to feel like them, or they want to dress like them, or they want to go to the places these influencers have been to. This list goes on and on. This creates a sense of being inadequate which, in the end, could lead to depressing thoughts. It is not easy to keep up with these influencers since it is their only job. Therefore, the negative impacts of the social media do not have to be physical or direct, but it can be through these small details and it might cause these aforementioned psychological problems and breakdowns for people, or the followers to be exact.

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