Corporate Dishonesty Honesty versus the Bottom Line


Proposal: Reduce your Kids’ Screen Time

In the past two decades, the popularity and use of social media has increased more than could be imagined. With these increases have come a slew of modern age “diseases” associated with social media and internet addiction. Among those who suffer the most are teenagers who overuse and over-rely on social media sites. The overuse and reliance on social media makes young students suffer academically and handicaps teens when it comes to developing face-to-face social skills. The burden of fixing this problem falls on the parents, as they must limit their teenagers’ social media use by utilizing a couple different strategies. Some parents and certainly most teenagers could be opposed to this and would argue for social media’s countless benefits, but by simply limiting and not eliminating teenagers’ social media use they can still reap these benefits without the potential harms. Parents must step up now to prevent further academic and social harm to their teenagers.

Social media use among teens has undoubtedly exploded in the 21st century. One study of teenage students conducted by researchers for the National Institutes of Health said that 24.74% of students admitted to having problem associated with how long they use social media or the frequency with which they visit sites while 2.02% admitted to having a significant problem that they needed to address (Meena, 2012). While these statistics do not necessarily stand out, when paired with more recent research done by Pew Research Center they can be quite alarming as you can clearly see a huge potential for growth of social media issues among the teenager population. Some of the research done by Pew Research Center include facts such as “24% of teens admit to going online “almost constantly”;” “91% of teens say they access the internet from their phone;” “88% of teens (age 13-17) say they have cell phones” and that “71% of teens say they use more than one social networking site” (Steyer, 2015). These statistics clearly show how this problem is poised to have a massive and far reaching effect on our young population.

It is no surprise that social media overuse affects teenagers both academically and socially, as some researchers at Chicago University concluded that “social media addiction can be stronger than addiction to cigarettes or booze.” (Walker, 2017). Socially, it creates a faceless way for kids to communicate and miss out on real-life experiences like Ehmke mentions “what [teens] were doing was succeeding and failing in tons of tiny real-time interactions that kids today are missing out on.” (Ehmke, 2018). This indirect form of communication that is so popular among teens is a result of increased social media use -- it can be much easier to deal with difficult or emotional situations when hiding behind a screen or having time to think about or create a response. Ehmke would agree with this as she mentions “There’s no question kids are missing out on very critical social skills.” and when she states, “No wonder kids say calling someone on the phone is “too intense”-- it requires a more direct form of communication.” (Ehmke, 2018). Besides the social consequences of social media overuse among teens there is a very serious risk for teens’ academics to be impacted as well. The academic consequences come from the procrastination made possible by social media. The number of teenagers with cell phones, and therefore access to social media at their fingertips is almost 90%. As seen from statistics above, roughly 26% of students admit to having an academic problem associated with their social media use (Meena, 2012). Although when you consider how easy social media is to access with smartphones the percentage is most likely much higher (whether the teens realize they are impacted academically or not) and will only continue to grow in today’s world of increasing technology.

What parents need to do is reduce their teens’ screen time on social media by limiting the amount of time they can access it. This can be negotiated with one’s child in many ways that can leave both the teens and their parents satisfied while still addressing the issues of social media’s impact academically and socially. Parents can allot their kids a daily time usage or weekly usage, perhaps one hour a day or seven a week but add restrictions such as no social media usage prior to completion of homework or any studying that is required. Once their teen completes any academic work, they will be allowed their allotted social media time if they choose. Parents could also give teens an option to earn more social media time in return for social interactions. If they sign up for sports teams or after school clubs, anything that requires face-to-face direct communication with peers then parents may allow them extra time on social media. Setting up a plan like this with one’s teens can benefit both their academics and their social interaction skills that can be hampered by social media. It also benefits teens as excessive social media use can lead to teens developing low self-esteem or depression and cause them to lose up to two hours of sleep each night (Monroy, 2016). A plan like this could be enforceable with a little help from the school. While at home, it would be relatively easy to monitor a teen’s internet and social media use but with smartphones kids can get online almost anywhere at any time. Parents could talk to schools or teachers and set up a program where their kids can drop off their phones at the beginning of class and retrieve them after. This would prevent any distractions during school while leaving kids access to their phone in emergencies. Smartphone internet usage can also be monitored online and disabled during the day if the parents wish to have further insurance that their kid is not accessing social media at school or when they are not supposed to. Some parents have already seen positive results from their teens using less social media. When Sara V watched a movie about the risks of social media and internet use with her kid, her child voluntarily gave up social media for 21 days. She said it encouraged him to do more activities outside and with his peers and that “it initiated more creativity as his awareness developed of how technology was thwarting that part of him.” (V, 2017). This is a prime example of how limiting kids screen time on social media can benefit both the kids and the parents even if they do not realize there is a problem. Based on experiments like this, it seems that once kids give limiting their screen time a chance they realize all the benefits of doing so and are much happier and successful as a result.

It is possible that some parents and teenagers would oppose a plan like one previously mentioned based on the fact that social media has plenty of benefits when it comes to networking and staying connected with people and current events. While this argument is undeniable, social media’s benefits can still be utilized in full because these plans only limit social media use instead of eliminating it. Teens can still stay connected with friends and family while learning important online social skills that come along with indirect communication. Some teens would definitely argue that their social media use is not a problem socially or academically and would be hesitant to submit to a deal as proposed above. A parent could persuade a teen to try the plan for a month or even two weeks, asking the teen at the end whether they feel more fulfilled socially, as they will hopefully have had much more face-to-face interactions with their peers. A parent could also measure their academic performance before and after beginning the plan to see if their performance improves after implementation. A teen should see their academics either increase or remain the same and will hopefully be more active and fulfilled socially and therefore accept the plan, giving them access to developing key social skills without them even realizing it.

Social media overuse among teenagers is clearly a growing problem in today’s world with such a heavy emphasis on technology. Teens and their parents need to be aware of how much the teen uses social media and many might be surprised to learn just how it affects them academically and socially. By trying out a plan that limits teens’ social media use and promotes school work and face-to-face social interaction, teens and their parents can see just how big an impact their online use actually has on them. Parents who emphasize the importance of social media and online interactions can still have the teens reap the benefits of social media by limiting and not completing eliminating their child’s use. As social media screen use becomes more and more prevalent among teens it becomes a necessity to limit social media screen time and online interaction to prevent any social and academic harm to the teenager.


Ehmke, R. (2018). How Using Social Media Affects Teenagers. Retrieved January 07, 2018, from

Meena, P. S., Mittal, P. K., & Solanki, R. K. (2012, December). Problematic Use of Social Networking Sites among Urban School going Teenagers. Retrieved January 07, 2018, from

Monroy, C. (2016, December 16). LIMITING TEENS USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA – Medium. Retrieved January 08, 2018, from

Steyer, C. (2015, July 20). 8 Fascinating Facts About How Teens Use The Internet And Social Media. Retrieved January 07, 2018, from

V, S. (2017). Screenagers: Growing up in a Digital Age - Testimonials. Retrieved January 07, 2018, from

Walker, L. (2017, December 28). How to Tell If You Have a Social Networking Addiction. Retrieved January 07, 2018, from


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Op-Ed Do the Benefits of Online Social Media Outweigh the Risks? (New York Times)

January 2, 2018

Self-disclosure on online social media, do the benefits outweigh the risks?


A large part of the rapid growth of social media has been caused by an increasing amount of online self-disclosure by its users.

In today’s world of online content, it may almost seem necessary to have some sort of online presence, which is coupled with online self-disclosure. Social media certainly has its advantages, but are the risks of disclosing personal information online worth the benefits?


Self-Disclosure: It’s Worth the Risk

Ben Gardner is an accounting student at Longwood University, planning to graduate in May 2018.

Updated January 2, 2018, 4:06pm

Social media providers focus and emphasize the benefits of using their sites and the protections that are in place to prevent harm to their users. What they often do not mention is the risk that the users pose to themselves when disclosing personal information online.

The risks of disclosing personal information online include things such as online crimes, potential employment consequences after employers view an individual’s private pages and information, and unknowingly having your personal information accessed by both government and corporate entities.

Perhaps the biggest potential harm has to do with employment issues and employers discovering unsavory aspects of a potential or current employee’s personal life. Individuals may be judged on old views or opinions expressed on social media that do not necessarily represent them anymore.  This is also troublesome because the information posted may be misinterpreted without proper context that can lead to further issues between employer and employees.

One should also be aware of the risk posed by the social media provider and the government. Agencies such as the National Security Agency (NSA) can access private posts and messages on social media. In addition, the government requests data and information from social media, and of the more than 40,000 requests made to Twitter and Facebook in 2015 by the government, 80% were answered by the sites ( The government seems to be very able to access some of the most private information disclosed by its users when it comes to social media.

An area of concern when disclosing personal information online is internet crimes, including identity theft, fraud, or locational crimes. In Brake’s “Sharing Our Lives Online: Risks and Exposures of Social Media” he asserts multiple times that while these crimes cause a social panic, they are actually much rarer than they are portrayed to be. On top of this, he mentions that there has been little research to conclude that these crimes are a result of social media disclosure and not of other factors (Brake).

While online self-disclosure does subject users to some risks, when done in an appropriate manner in can unlock a variety of benefits. These benefits include expanding your professional network, maintaining relationships with convenience and little to no financial cost, and can contribute to society’s well-being. These are the reasons why so many people are forgoing the risks of disclosing their personal information online.

Two of the most obvious benefits of social media are the ability to expand your professional network and represent yourself in a professional fashion. Disclosing personal but professional information on social network platforms can give users an opportunity to network and connect with potential employers or clients that they would otherwise not have access to. This provides a financial incentive for users as they can use social media to advance and support their career or job.

Another way that an individual can use social media for their benefit is to keep in touch with family and friends at almost no cost. It allows users to stay connected more conveniently and can save time and money compared to other channels of communication. Allowing others a look into your life via the personal information you post gives you a better sense of closeness with friends and family and lets you regularly “interact” with them by posting, commenting, etc. (teachandreflect). This can facilitate closer relationships and allow individuals to achieve more personal fulfillment in their social lives.

Social media’s platform is so large that it can give its users the ability to look at people’s information outside of their immediate community. Depending on what people choose to disclose about themselves, they can gain support for a cause or issue of concern rapidly by reaching to outside communities via social media. A user’s online presence can act as almost an advertisement showing how to spread goodwill or encouraging others to spread goodwill in society.

While risks involving employer harm, government accessing personal information, and online crimes can be scary, they can be easily preventable by the user exercising discretion when it comes to what they self-disclose online. One should use just as much if not more caution when revealing information about oneself online. To do this, one should think about just how many people are able to access the information that they put up, and know that it is possible for it to be accessed or copied by or to an outside party. Lastly, just as one would lock their car or house door, one should protect personal information online and periodically delete old or excessive information.

Online self-disclosure clearly has its advantages and disadvantages, potential benefits and harms. While the risks of harm are very much real, if users exercise proper discretion by taking the time to think about the things they post online, who the audience might be, and how the audience might interpret that message, these harms drop to a minimal level. I believe that the benefits for the online users themselves and for society outweigh the potential harms as long as the users practice appropriate discretion when disclosing personal or private information about themselves.


Brake, D. (2014). Sharing our Lives Online: risks and exposure in social media. Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan. (2017, August 18). Social Networking Retrieved from

Teachandreflect. (2010, March 29). Social Networking in Schools – do the benefits outweigh the risks? Retrieved December 28, 2017, from

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Online Identity Reflection

My online social media presence has evolved over the years and has gradually become a better representation of the real me and my academic identity. At the inception of my first social media (Facebook) in 2009, I was 13-years-old. My posts and pictures were not at all professional as they were often excessive, vague, and lacked punctuation. As I have grown and learned more about myself and what my online social media says about me, I have become much better at illustrating my real self and academic identity as a young professional in online social media. My recent activity on social media reflects many more similarities and less differences than it did in the earlier years of my social media use.

In my early years of social media, I exclusively used Facebook. Reading through my old posts from the view of an outside audience member I see multiple differences from what my online identity portrays and the real life present-day me. These online differences include a lack of attention to detail, a poor work ethic, and a sense of self-centeredness. My lack of attention to detail can be seen in all of my posts for the first year or two as they include things like simple spelling, grammatical, and punctuation errors. Studying accounting and having a mind for numbers I pride myself on my attention to detail and can’t believe that I wrote like that knowing others would see it. Another recurring theme that I see reflected in my posts is a bad work ethic. A good amount of my posts include talking about not wanting to do something or complaining about activities like mowing the lawn, babysitting, and school. While these still are not my favorite tasks, it reflects poorly upon myself to write things such as “ughhh have to mow the lawn” or “only 12 dollars for babysitting” (Gardner, 2009) and is something that I would be embarrassed about today. This is because I have become a firm believer that you get out of your work what you put into it and that some of the hardest tasks are the most rewarding. The last big difference I see when reading through my old social media posts is that I seem to come off as very self-centered and focused on myself. While I realize that my Facebook should contain a lot of posts about me, many of my status updates are bragging or searching for recognition from others. I also see a focus on myself in my comments on my own and other’s profiles that include responses like “whatever doesn’t matter to me” or “nah I don’t feel like it right now” (Gardner, 2009) when talking about a subject that doesn’t directly concern me or when being asked a favor. These are things that I would never say in an academic atmosphere or even when talking to friends or peers in everyday conversation. Today I really enjoy having a positive impact on and helping people in whatever way possible. When making decisions I try to look at it from a third person perspective and how my decisions affect not only me but how they might affect others as well. These depictions from my early social media use certainly do not portray who I am academically and in real life and I would not want somebody to make an opinion about me based on that information.

My recent social media is a much better representation of my academic self, especially after I created my LinkedIn profile. While I do not use social media that frequently now the things I do post offer a much more accurate picture of the real me and my academic life. This also reflects me as I tend to be a more reserved and quiet person in my everyday life. Most of my Facebook activity involves me “liking” other people posts or pages that I find interesting or funny. Most of the content of the posts I like involve people doing good in their community or big achievements in my family and friends’ lives. This shows the real me and the love and support I have for my family and friends. Academically, liking “do-it-yourself” videos and videos explaining how things are made shows my interest in fully understanding how a process works and everything that goes on “behind the scenes” with different products and companies. My LinkedIn profile also offers an accurate professional snapshot of me. My profile picture shows me in a professional environment and my profile reflects what I aspire to be professionally and what I have accomplished academically. It shows me as a young professional student pursuing a career in accounting and even reflects what businesses and companies I like or that I think are doing good things for their community or the industry. I believe that somebody looking at my recent activity on social media, specifically LinkedIn and Facebook, can get a fairly accurate picture of me and my academic identity.

My online identity that people will see over the past year or so does a good job showing who I am and my academic identity. Overall, my social media will positively affect my future civic and professional identity because it portrays me as a hard-working student with many different intellectual interests including accounting. My recent social media gives potential employers or connections a chance to see who I am professionally and my professional and personal interests with the click of a few buttons. This provides a platform for me to connect with other professionals and individuals with similar interests and expand my professional network. While my online identity provides multiple positives for my future there are also multiple negatives. If an employer and other individual were to look back into my social media, specifically Facebook, they may see posts and comments that do not portray an accurate picture of who I am today or my academic identity. I would hope that people would not judge or make an opinion based on social media posts from my early teenage years. Overall, the positives outweigh the negatives concerning how my online identity through social media will affect my future professional and civic identity.


Gardner, B. (2009). Re: Ben Gardner's Facebook [Web log comment]. Retrieved December 20, 2017, from


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About Me

Honesty is the soul of business. I am Ben Gardner. This is my blog that will serve as my portal to communicate my assignments with the entire English 400 class. As a member of Longwood University’s College of Business and Economics and as a student studying accounting I have learned about different business scandals and frauds. Being something that applies to my future profession of accounting, I find these events and the people who commit them very interesting. Specifically, I’d like to explore what their motives and rationalizations are for lying, deceiving, and fostering environments of dishonesty. I am curious what causes this dishonest behavior and how it affects others throughout the world of business. As a student, it has been instilled in me to maintain my academic integrity, be responsible for my actions and not cheat or copy other people’s work. While ethics and integrity are still stressed in the business world, it sometimes appears to take a back seat when it comes to making profits. As an aspiring CPA and future accountant, I think that being fully transparent and honest in your actions and words are critical, especially when dealing with other’s financial well-being or life savings. The need for this transparency comes from the fact that many people rely on accountants and financial advisors for advice on transactions and investments that they may not fully understand. The clients need to be fully informed when making decisions concerning their future financial well-being and therefore need to be able to trust those working in the field of business, specifically accountants and financial advisors. Looking at the accounting profession in terms of auditing and tax help, there is a huge potential for public benefits given that the public can accurately rely on the information presented to them. This responsibility of being truthful and refraining from deceitful or dishonest behavior falls on the shoulders of the accountants, and as a result of many scandals over the past century, on the different accounting standards setting boards or regulations such as the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) or Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). In the future, I would like to see the accounting and financial advising industry improve its transparency so that the negative connotations of accountants and financial advisors being deceitful or dishonest are made public.     

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