Proposal

Trent Kessler

Dr. Green

English 400

12 January 2018

        

Social media and depression proposal

 Over the past few years, social media platforms have grown tremendously, resulting in new applications being created. Social media allows people to connect with one another by sharing content and communicating between each other. The Internet, as well as social media, provides many positive effects. From one point of view, it provides businesses with the ability to market their products to consumers with ease while on the other, it provides society to build relationships with the people in their life that they care about. With positive attributes, come negative ones. Social media platforms can cause issues such as creating a false sense of connection, a lack of privacy, decrease productivity and has potential for cyber-bullying. Most importantly, social media has an overall negative effect on our mental health and the results can be damaging. The main concern is the connection between social media use and depression.


            Research suggests that there is a link between spending an extended amount of time on social media and experiencing mental health issues. A study published in Computers in Human Behavior found that the use of multiple social media platforms is more strongly associated with depression and anxiety among young adults than time spent online. “The analysis showed that those who reported using the most social media sites, seven to eleven, had more than three times the risk of these mental health issues than those who used the least amount zero to two platforms.” (Psychiatric News, January 17, 2017).  This is honestly a mind-blowing study published by Psychiatric News. I know for a fact, that the younger generations have at least four or more social media platforms downloaded on their phone. Every one of your peers is three times more likely to experience mental health issues, than those who used zero social media platforms.

Everyone is aware that the internet can be very addictive, but can social media become addicting? A study from Nottingham University set out to determine if the use of social media was addicting. Experts said, “It may be plausible to speak specifically of ‘Facebook Addiction Disorder’…because addiction criteria, such as neglect of personal life, mental preoccupation, escapism, mood modifying experiences, tolerance and concealing the addictive behavior, appear to be present in some people who use [social networks] excessively.” (Nottingham, 2017) Addiction and depression go hand in hand, because when you are not feeding you addiction you feel helpless and depressed. Another study was conducted on which it was trying to determine whether Facebook triggers more sadness and less of well-being. The results said, “Facebook provides an invaluable resource for fulfilling such needs by allowing people to instantly connect. Rather than enhancing well-being, as frequent interactions with supportive ‘offline’ social networks powerfully do, the current findings demonstrate that interacting with Facebook may predict the opposite result for young adults—it may undermine it.”(2017) these are all characteristics that can lead to social media users forming depression.

            There are many articles that have been released to the public about conditions that could possibly be formed while using social media. A study published December 10th, 2016, found that social media users using multiple platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, ETC.) were associated with depression and anxiety. Brian Primack says, “Other potential problems of using multiple platforms include an increased risk of anxiety in trying to keep up with the rules and culture associated with each one and more opportunity to commit a gaffe or faux pas since attention is divided.” (Psych News, 2017) The traditional way we thought people formed anxiety and depression were not the only ways. We as a society thought people could only form these conditions from comparing themselves to their peers or being cyberbullied, but there are more ways to form these conditions. As we dive deeper and deeper into the human brain we are realizing how detrimental social media can be on us as a user.

Finding a solution to this problem is complex, because nearly everyone has a social media account. One of my solutions I came up with would be to regulate how often a person can access social media. If someone was to regulate social media it would make a tremendous difference, because people would feel less attached to their social media account. I believe the Government should give the social media companies the amount of time the public can spend on it, then it is up to the social media companies to regulate and enforce these new restrictions. People obsess 24/7 about their social media account and that’s one of the main contributors to depression. If this was implemented, I believe we would see less social media driven depression and an increase in face to face interactions. I do not believe this should be implemented as harshly to start, they should decrease the time you are allotted over a period of time, but if someone wanted to seek an increase in the allotted time of social media access they would have the options of community service and donating clothes to goodwill. My second option would be to get rid of social media as a whole. Social media gives its users a ton of positives (Easy communication, access to world news, connections, ETC.) but it also gives negative aspects of social media as well (depression, anxiety, addiction, sadness and jealousy). My last option would be to sign a waiver before signing up for a social media platform. The waiver would say that you are knowingly engaging into something that could possibly cause (depression, anxiety, addiction, sadness and jealousy), and leave it up to the user to make their decisions.

The resistance to these solutions would be vast, from social media users to congressman and women of the United States of America, as well the social media companies themselves would resist this. Because this would dramatically cripple the rise of social media. This would ultimately limit the potential of these companies, because they would have to abide by the laws of the government and enforce them. The only plausible decision would have to be the last option, because we have rights In the United States of America that give us the opportunity to have unlimited access to social media and because we should not take away social media from everyone. We should find ways to strengthen the community within and build up social media. I would agree with the outrage of some of these solutions, but we must be progressive about the problems with social media. I think the first step in the right direction would be a waiver. A waiver meaning you must sign an agreement before creating an account acknowledging the risks that are involved into social media (depression, anxiety and cyberbullying). I do not think this is an end all solution to decreasing social media depression, but a step in the right direction to get social media users aware of the risks they are taking. Once people become aware with what is going on, then that is when real change can occur within the community.

            To conclude, social media platforms are a blessing and a curse. When used properly you can have arguably a wonderful time, but when used improperly you can fall into some trouble. I believe that as a community we have to come up with a solid solution to this epidemic. I have provided three solutions that I truly believe that would dramatically decrease social media depression, only knowing that one out of the three would be implemented. It is about time that we start hearing about the dark truths of social media on television. We as a nation need to be proactively searching for ways to decrease social media based depression, because the longer we wait for a solution the harder it will be to fix. Everyday another person is buying a smartphone and downloading their favorite social media platforms, how long before this person gets addicted and forms depression?

Citations

“Using Many Social Media Platforms Linked With Depression, Anxiety Risk.” Psychiatrics News, psychnews.psychiatryonline.org/doi/full/10.1176/appi.pn.2017.1b16.

The Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research (BCTR). “How to Avoid Depression Induced by Social Media.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 12 Jan. 2017, www.psychologytoday.com/blog/evidence-based-living/201701/how-avoid-depression-induced-social-media.

“Teens Social Media = Depression? Is Social Media Affecting Mental Health?” PsyCom.net – Mental Health Treatment Resource Since 1986, www.psycom.net/depression-teens-social-media.

“Why Instagram Is the Worst Social Media for Mental Health.” Time, Time, time.com/4793331/instagram-social-media-mental-health/.

Walton, Alice G. “6 Ways Social Media Affects Our Mental Health.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 3 Oct. 2017, www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2017/06/30/a-run-down-of-social-medias-effects-on-our-mental-health/#4fbaabd62e5a.

Vitelli, Romeo. “When Social Media Sparks Depression.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 21 Sept. 2016, www.psychologytoday.com/blog/media-spotlight/201609/when-social-media-sparks-depression.

Thorbecke, Catherine. “How social media ‘pressure’ and depression may be linked in teens.” ABC News, ABC News Network, abcnews.go.com/Lifestyle/social-media-pressure-depression-linked-teens/story?id=48976063.

“We Need to Talk About Kids and Smartphones.” Time, Time, time.com/4974863/kids-smartphones-depression/.

Op-ed

Does social media affect your brain?

Trent Kessler

December 29th,2017, 7:24pm

Throughout the last decade, teenagers have been introduced to multiple social media platforms (Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, Instagram, etc.). This makes keeping in touch with your friends and family more accessible. I believe this causes many positives in people’s lives, but I also believe that is also causes many negatives in people’s lives as well. Do you think you were a different person before access to social media? Personally, I have seen my very own effects. When posting pictures on my Instagram, I am always patiently waiting for people to like my picture, but if people don’t like my picture I feel like I am posting something wrong. Likewise, when I post a tweet and don’t receive any likes or shares I feel let down internally. I also feel like that I hold myself back with my comments, just so I can fit in with the “crowd”.

A study was conducted by UCLA to scan thirty-two individuals as they used a social media app. The researchers discovered that certain parts of the brain were active when the user received likes. Lauren Sherman says, “When teens learn that their own pictures have supposedly received a lot of likes, they show significantly greater activation in parts of the brain’s reward circuitry” (CNN, 2017). The study continues, finding out that the participants were more likely to like a picture when the picture appeared to be more popular with their peers. This means people want to conform with what most people agree with, even though they don’t agree with. This is interesting, because the decades before social media surfaced, people took pride into the fact that they had different opinions.

It is conclusive that social media does affect your brain, but how does it affect your brain positively? Social media has many positives on its users, social media can develop multi-tasking skills in its users. Twitter, at first appearance can be overwhelming, but after some time the user learns how to properly navigate throughout the interface. Twitter gives the user the opportunity to scroll through feed while reading and having the opportunity to like a tweet, share q tweet, or reply to a tweet; unknowingly building its users multi-tasking skills. Another positive influence social media gives people is the opportunity to socialize with an infinite amount of people. This gives individuals who are on the shyer side the opportunity to have communication with people that they wouldn’t feel comfortable doing a face to face conversation with. LinkedIn gives its users the opportunity to make professional relationships, with the hope to build your social network for the future. Both Twitter and LinkedIn have positive effects to their users. Twitter, lets it users have a voice and the ability to have their word spread throughout the community. LinkedIn gives its users the chance to highlight their achievements to professions, with the hope in finding a successful career. Lastly, Social media usually makes its users happy; they usually follow accounts that tend to make them happy. When a social media user is going through hardship, they have overwhelming support from the community.

Like everything in life, we cannot just focus on the positive. Unfortunately, social media has many negative effects on its users. Social media can lead individuals to lose sociable skills, because behind computer screens or phone screens for longs periods of time can lead to worse face to face social skills. Susan Greenfield says, “Perhaps future generations will recoil with similar horror at the messiness, unpredictability and immediate personal involvement of a three-dimensional, real-time interaction.” (Susan Greenfield, 2017). Ms. Greenfield is implying the more people have conversations through devices we lose a little by little face to face social skills. Researchers discovered that thirty three percent of people that log into Facebook suffer from low self-esteem. The researchers found that users often compare themselves to their friends, family, and celebrities; finding themselves inadequate. The last negative aspect of social media on the brain is losing the ability to think independently. On social media people find themselves trying to fit in the in-crowd and if you find yourself with a belief that not many people agree with then you will be peer pressured to change your opinion. We believe as people we must agree with something that gets a lot of attention and reception.

Yes, social media can affect your brain, but in a positive way and a negative way. If someone is feeling lonely, they can find refuge through social media platforms. They can surround themselves with stuff that could lift them up from the darkness that they feel. Adversely, social media can bring a happy person to their knees and feel helpless. Social media tends to make people feel like they are not good enough and ultimately pursue unhealthy lifestyles that could potentially harm that person. Like everything in life there is positive and a negative, but it is up to you to make the best decisions when it comes to social media. Hopefully in the next few years we figure out what truly happens neurologically when we use social media

Citations

 

East, Susie. “How does social media affect your brain.” CNN, Cable News Network, 1 Aug. 2016, www.cnn.com/2016/07/12/health/social-media-brain/index.html.

Beres, Damon. “5 Weird Negative Effects of Social Media on Your Brain – Reader’s Digest.” Reader’s Digest, www.rd.com/health/wellness/negative-effects-of-social-media/.

Banerjee, Souvik. “5 Ways Social Media Positively Affects Mental Health.” RS Web Solutions, 25 Apr. 2017, www.rswebsols.com/tutorials/internet/ways-social-media-positively-affects-mental-health.

Online Identity

Trent Kessler

Dr. Green

English 400

22nd December 2017

Online Identity

With the technological innovations throughout the 21st century, our generation has been lucky enough to experience the outbreak of social media. The quick rise throughout the years has had such a high impact on society that companies and organizations are leaning towards it to advertise and market to their target consumers. Social media plays not only a major role in communication but it is a huge factor with advertising our identities. As users of social media platforms, we are publicly displaying our personal lives on a day to day basis. How we decide to promote ourselves online ties into people’s perceptions of ourselves. Most importantly, social media plays a key role in how we identify ourselves professionally and personally.

Throughout the years, I have found myself using four main social media accounts: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. Facebook is the platform I find myself using most frequently. I created my account eight years ago when I was thirteen years old due to the popularity of this specific platform. It was common to go on Facebook and catch up with your friends or chat after class. As time has passed, I have found myself still using Facebook more than any other social media platforms. However, since I have grown older, I tend to use it to update my life with pictures and accomplishments throughout the years. I have a lot of family members on Facebook. Therefore, I have become more cautious about what I post because I believe it is important to keep my account appropriate. The next platform I use often is twitter. When Twitter first became popular, it was very common to communicate between one another with tweets. I remember twitter being around when I was in high school, but not many people used it. I created my account my senior year and had found many people had twitter accounts freshman year of college. As the time went by, I find myself not tweeting as much as I used to and use it as a form of entertainment. Twitter allows users to favorite and ‘retweet’ specific tweets. I do so with content I find humorous and enjoyable. Unlike Facebook, I do not find myself being as cautious to what I post on my profile because I don’t have family members following my account. My account on twitter usually consists of me “retweeting” nature pics, humorous videos, or pictures of puppies. Twitter, to me, is more about having a good laugh, I find mostly everything on Twitter to be hilarious. I am dreading the day Twitter starts to charge its users.

Instagram is a photo sharing application that allows users to upload photo and video content to their profiles. All different age groups use and explore this social media platform. Users of this platform really enjoy the ability to follow their favorite celebrity figure, getting updates on your favorite sport teams, to following news from around the world. I find myself using this app more frequently to see what other people are up to rather than posting photos of my own, but when I do post pictures on Instagram I am extra cautious that it is not anything that would offend anyone or get me in trouble. These pictures include my German Sheppard Behr, snowboarding, and pictures with my friends. As time goes on, Instagram develops new ideas. They recently added a feature where you can call your mutual friends through the app without getting charged. The user can also send private messages, group messages, and the user can post a “story” that all of their followers are able to see what they are up to during the day/night.

 

Lastly, LinkedIn is a social networking site developed specifically for the business community. My account on LinkedIn is the most professional between all four of the mentioned sites. This is primarily since LinkedIn was specifically designed to create a professional, identity for oneself. This social media platform is not a platform where the user posts personal information, inappropriate pictures, or jokes to their followers. On LinkedIn, I like and share a wide range of articles that I find interest, I also like a share some of my friend’s achievements. I also periodically update my account in hopes to highlight my academic and work accomplishments throughout the years and communicate them with potential employers. With the hopes one day that I will find a career that fits my goals and needs.

The last twenty years have been absolutely amazing with the technological advancements in social media platforms. If you were to ask a person twenty years ago, if they believed that they could be friends with a person across the world and send instant messages to, they would think that you are absolutely crazy. We now have a handful of platforms that give us that opportunity to connect with people across the planet. We also have platforms where the users can find careers for their future. Knowing the rate, we are progressing, I look forward to the many social media platforms that I will be able to make an account on.