Posts Tagged ‘Social-networking’

Engaging in Gossiping Isn’t as Pleasurable as it Seems

August 15, 2013



Not enough is done to confront the issue of gossiping at classroom level, even though it is a significant factor in bullying (cyber related bullying in particular). Gossiping does monumental harm in the classroom. It is divisive, negative and presents enormous problems for a teacher trying to improve the mood of the class and confidence levels of each student.

It is important to draw attention to a recent study showing that engaging in gossiping isn’t as pleasurable as it first seems:

It is used by millions of people to stay in touch with friends and family.

But far from brightening their day, Facebook could be making its users more unhappy.

Scientists have found the more time individuals spend on the social networking site, the worse they subsequently feel.

More than one in three Britons use Facebook every day, with 24 million logging on to share their latest goings on.

‘On the surface, Facebook provides an invaluable resource for fulfilling the basic human need for social connection,’ said lead researchers Dr Ethan Kross, a psychologist at the University of Michigan.

‘But rather than enhance well-being, we found that Facebook use predicts the opposite result – it undermines it.’ Research carried out earlier this year at the University of Chester suggested Facebook friends are no substitute for the real thing.

It found people are happier and laugh 50 per cent more when talking face-to-face with friends or via webcam than when they use social networking sites.

And the current study backed these findings, with participants who had direct interactions with other people feeling better over time.

In contrast, the more individuals used Facebook during the period, the greater the reduction in their life satisfaction levels.

‘This is a result of critical importance because it goes to the very heart of the influence that social networks may have on people’s lives,’ said co-author John Jonides, a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of Michigan.

The research, published in the journal Public Library of Science ONE, looked at the browsing habits of 82 young adults, all of whom had smartphones and Facebook accounts.

Facebook and Child Exploitation

June 19, 2012

The moment Facebook first made the sensible and responsible age requirement rules they have been trying to soften, if not repeal them. The age restriction guidelines exist for the safety and wellbeing of underaged children. Yet we are constantly confronted with the reality that Facebook is desperate to recruit the underaged demographic.

The latest news sees Facebook advertisements target the very children they are supposed to be turning away:

An alliance of consumer rights groups on Monday pressed Facebook not to aim advertisements at preteen children or track their activities online if it formally opens its site to them.

Facebook has millions of underage users who claim to be over the required age of 13, and the company has had discussions with some advocacy groups over how to keep children safe on the site if they insist on signing up.

The topic of whether children under 13 should be on Facebook is hugely contested. One side argues that under no circumstances should young children be permitted on a social networking site, and another argues for an array of restrictions and conditions on how they can use the site.

The groups that sent the letter on Monday to Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive of Facebook, include Consumers Union, the Center for Digital Democracy, Consumer Action and the Consumer Federation of America. They called on Facebook to refrain from tracking children under 13 both on the Facebook site and on other sites that have Facebook widgets, such as the “like” button. In addition, they called on Facebook to enable parents to monitor and review their preteen children’s activities, offer parents “granular control” over every application they use on the Facebook platform and keep children’s account settings as private as possible.

The letter read: “We want assurances that any space created for children under the age of 13 on the site is safe, parent-guided and controlled, and, most importantly, free of ads.”

Advertising is not the only reason Facebook would want to allow under-13s on its site. It could widen its user base, guard against children becoming attached to another social network, and potentially build a trove of information on users as they grow into adulthood. By developing special conditions for them, the company could also protect itself from a federal regulation that requires companies that gather information about children under 13 to obtain written consent from their parents; those regulations are being revised.

Facebook Ignoring Their Own Age Restrictions

March 4, 2012

Facebook have done the right thing by setting age restrictions. Children under 13 should not have their own Facebook page. We have seen enough carnage caused by children misusing their Facebook page to know that a bit of maturity is essential to having the privilege of being part of the Facebook community.

That’s why I am appauled to read that Facebook may be trying to recruit underage children:

FACEBOOK claims it can reach more than 150,000 children in WA under the age of 13, according to the social networking giant’s advertising database.

Cyber safety experts say Facebook’s estimated reach shows that many young children are accessing the website despite guidelines stating it is only for older teenagers.

Online Child Exploitation Det-Snr-Sgt Lindsay Garratt warned young children were exposing themselves to risks such as sexual predators, cyber bullying and identity theft on social networking sites.

Facebook allows users access to its database statistics if they’re planning to advertise on their website.

It says advertisers wanting to target young teens in WA could reach an estimated 177,220 users aged 13 or under.

Facebook doesn’t let users sign up unless they claim to be over 13. But users often give away their true age by listing information such as the primary school they attend.

Sen-Sgt Garratt said it was important that parents monitored the websites their children were visiting.

Unless Facebook moderators can show they are doing everything in their powers to stop underaged children from having their own page, Facebook should be legally culpable for cybersafety and cyberbullying incidents as a result of their sneaky tactics and general lack of scrutiny.

Children Find Ways to Outsmart Their Parents

October 3, 2011

The message to parents has been clear: Monitor your child’s Facebook page to ensure that they maintain their page in a safe and responsible way.  But there are parents who think they are doing a meticulous job of supervising their children, only to come undone by a loophole being heavily exploited to ward off protective parents:

Are you a parent who keeps an eye on who posts what on your child’s Facebook account? Perhaps you know their password and sneak a look at their messages from time to time? You may even enjoy the trusted privilege of being a “friend”.

Whatever the situation, social networking sites are a source of anxiety for parents, and now the latest trend will only add to their alarm. Children are staying way ahead of attempts by parents and schools to police their online activity And the latest ruse is a secret, fake-name Facebook account.

“Some kids will have two or even three,” says Dr Barbie Clarke, of the youth research agency Family Kids and Youth, who monitors online trends among schoolchildren in the UK.

“Their habits change and we’re seeing them progress from the obvious lie about their age – allowing them to use Facebook in the first place – to this second or third identity. It’s usually driven by Mum picking up on something from their page and raising it with them. They want privacy and they want a secret world.” She is very relaxed about Facebook use by children, saying she thinks they are generally more sensible and supportive of each other than they get credit for. “A second identity can be used for nastiness, to anonymously bully, but generally it’s about secrecy – like a secret diary, or dialogue they can have away from parents and other family members.”

Many children use school facilities to access their fake accounts. “I have two,” admits Harriet, 14.

I feel sorry for today’s parents.  With new and highly specialised technological advances flooding the market, parents are finding it much harder to adapt than their children.  No matter how hard they try to supervise and protect their children, sometimes it must feel like hitting your head against a brick wall.

The Lost Art of Conversation

August 22, 2011

Remember when quality time with another involved talking?  Remember when a family dinner was a daily not twice yearly occasion?  Well, times have changed and some think that the lack of real conversation between family and friends is quite acceptable and just a new feature in the era we live in.

That may be so, but it just doesn’t feel right.  The notion that smartphones and video games are bringing families closer together doesn’t sit at all well with me:

Four in five parents described playing video games with their children as “quality time”, while 32 per cent of parents play computer games with their kids every day.

Many grandparents revealed that they play video games with their tech-savvy grandchildren, in a bid to get closer to them.

Dr Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, Reader in Psychology at Goldsmiths said: “These findings are important because they highlight the social benefits of playing videogames.

“Previous research has tended to look only at the individual effects of video games, but in the era of social networking games appear to play a vital role in enhancing social relationships. The fact that both parents and grandparents are using games to connect with their children and grandchildren, and quite successfully, suggests that video games can improve social skills and make a key contribution to both effective parenting and child development.

The social benefits of playing video games?  Are you a doctor of psychology or a rep for Nintendo?  Just because parents are resorting to these lengths in a bid to connect with their kids doesn’t mean that it’s the best way to communicate with them.  You can spend hours every night playing Mario Bros. with your child and never begin to understand how they are feeling, what their troubles are and what excites them etc.

Imagine if dates consisted of smartphone operations and video game playing instead of dinner and romantic walks?  How would that work?  The answer is it wouldn’t, because people need to actually converse in order to connect.

Why should it be any different with kids?

Our Kids Are the Digital Revolution!

June 29, 2011

It’s a very different childhood to the one we experienced.

SEVEN in 10 Australian households have access to the internet at home, one in five of us want to work less and the most popular physical activity is walking, the latest data on social trends shows.

Four out of every five children aged 5-14 use the internet, making them the digital generation, and 86 per cent of households with children aged under 15 have access to the internet at home, the latest Australian social trends study from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows.

Eighty five per cent of children used the internet for educational activities, 69 per cent played online games, 47 per cent used the internet to download music and 22 per cent used it for social networking.

Only two out of three households without children had access to the internet at home, the study found.

Newsflash: Bullying Was Around Before Facebook

June 5, 2011

I’ve maintained frequently on this blog that cyber bullying is a major concern.  The rise of social networking sites like Facebook has meant that bullying is more rampant and invasive now than it’s ever been. But let’s not forget that cyber bullying is a manifestation of conventional bullying – and that cannot be blamed on Facebook.

That’s why I find then following article troubling:

CHILDREN as young as eight are being treated for anxiety problems triggered by social-networking sites.

Psychologists say modern technology is producing a growing number of children needing therapy to deal with distress arising from posts on Facebook and other sites.

Darryl Cross, a clinical psychologist from Crossways Consulting, said anxiety caused by technology was a growing concern.

“Modern-day technologies and social-networking sites are contributing significantly to child and adolescent anxiety,” he said.

“It is an international phenomenon.”

Although anxiety was an established disorder, more modern triggers were lead to more distressed teenagers, Dr Cross said.

“But also, it’s the ability to be in contact 24/7.”

“In previous generations, you had the telephone and if you were lucky, mum and dad let you make a call after you got home from school. But now, primary school children, not to mention adolescents, have mobiles, which means they are constantly in touch via text messages and Facebook.”

Dr Cross said children used networking sites to determine their identity and form a view of what society thought of them.

Clinical psychologist at The Children’s Psychology Clinic, Dr Elizabeth Seeley-Wait, said she was seeing kids suffering anxiety about “being out of touch or out of the loop” if they had their mobile phone taken away.

Adults are also falling victim to insecurities.

Equilibrium Psychology’s Gemma Cribb said Facebook came up in couples’ therapy. “Someone will check their partner’s Facebook and questions will come up such as ‘Where did you meet this friend?’ ” she said.

Whilst I am very weary of children having a Facebook page, especially under the age of 13, I think it’s important to note that the bullying itself is more important than the medium.  Whilst mediums change, what doesn’t seem to change are the bullies.

What is being done about it?

Sure school’s will give you their standard assortment of “P” words, like ‘policies’, ‘programs’ and ‘procedures’, to reassure you that they are taking decisive action, but these provisions are just there to avoid lawsuits.  The effect of policies and programs are minimal at best, and if there really was stringent consequences handed out, would there be such a huge problem?

Here’s some “P” words of my own – we need a more solid partnership between Principals, Parents and Practitioners.  We need schools to be as concerned about their culture and as passionate about the safety of their students as they are about their numbers, finances and academic reputation.  We need parents to be aware of how their children treat others and raise them to respect others rather than undermine, bully or belittle them.  And we need teachers to continue to fight for their students.

We have a choice, we can blame it all on the juggernaut that is Facebook, or we can fight bullying at its source whilst standing up for the rights of those who are victimised and powerless.

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