This week CBS DC Local News released an article entitled “Psychologist: Social Media Causing A ‘Distancing Phenomena’ To Take Place”. The article reports that social media has both positively and negatively impacted the world, as over 70% of adults who are online now use a socialnetworking site. Therefore, the article questions if social media can mentally impact people since some fear that our interactions have become more impersonal and a distancing phenomena has taken place.
Krystine Batcho, a psychology professor at Lemoyne College, believes that society has greatly benefited from social media, but explains that the things people do in cyberspace are different from what they would do in a face-to-face conversation. Batcho provides cyber-bullying as an example as to how communications via social media differ from those face-to-face because the bully feels no sense of responsibility when acting out on cyberspace. Recently there have been a number of teen and adult suicides due to them being bullied over social media by their peers. Batcho believes that the bully would not engage in this type of activity if they were in person because of the consequences they would face if caught by an authority figure. However, the greater fear society is faced with is that kids are not learning how to behave in face-to-face conversations, because how they communicate in cyberspace is different than how they do in person, so they may be losing out on important social skills.
According to a Pew Research study, over 60% of Facebook users visit the site at least once a day, and approximately 40% do so multiple times a day. Batcho explains that when people become dependent on social media and show addictive tendencies, they will feel anxious, nervous or worried when they can not access it. Additionally, the more social media is used over time, the more life satisfaction decreases since psychologically, real-life interactions and social media interactions do not meet the same needs when compared. Real life interactions add an extra layer to relationships versus cyber ones. However, when people start to view social media relationships in place of, or better than, real life it could be used as an escape from reality.
Should social media sites have a minimum age limit and/or other restricts in place for child use, and why?
Does social media addiction truly exist for some people?
Do you think the benefits of using social media trump the dangers or risks, and why?