Japanese Study Finds that Smoking Can Lead to Internet Addiction in Teens

Image courtesy of Korea Herald
As global Internet activity increases exponentially, the risk factors for problematic usage on the web expand in tandem. One primary component linked to troubling Internet use is cigarette smoking, and this issue presents itself significantly in the adolescent population, particularly in the Eastern part of the world.

A Japanese study conducted this year led by Dr. Hisayoshi Morioka examined the association between smoking and problematic Internet use (PIU) among adolescents. Two subcategories fall under PIU, Internet Addiction and Excessive Internet Use, and both were examined in surveys distributed to 100,050 adolescents aged 12-18 years old from 179 different middle and high schools across Japan. The purpose of this study was to clarify the association between problematic Internet use and smoking as well as improve healthcare guidance for adolescents who smoke and suffer from PIU.

Technology can Reduce Loneliness and Improve the Physcial and Mental Health of Older Adults

      When thinking of ways for the elderly to improve their health, most people think of exercise routines, trivia and puzzles for the mind, and healthy eating. However, a new study by the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research is changing our ideas of how to improve health in older generations. They found that social technology is not only becoming more popular with older adults, but it is producing physical and mental health benefits.

Short-term photograph-based communication causes conflict between privacy and pleasure among millennial Snapchat users

In 2011, two students at Stanford University created a new app that would allow individuals to share selfies or other pictures that were what they called "short-lived" and "self-deleting." This app, now known as Snapchat, is the third most used social media network among millennials, succeeding only to Facebook and Instagram. With 20 million messages being shared daily, this popular messaging system's main goal is to provide a fun environment with a more natural interaction amongst its users.

Virtual Reality Can Be Used To Treat Anxiety Disorders

A new study has shown that Virtual Reality (VR) can have lasting implications on one's own body image. This discovery has given hope to those suffering from body image disorders, and has surprised skeptics of this technology. The practical uses of VR grow as quickly as the technology itself, and this promising technology is being used in various disciplines.

Many people still believe that VR has no place in the medical or psychological field, but various studies have proven this wrong. With further research and development, VR can be used to revolutionize the future of medicine and well-being.

Facebook is trusted in a crisis situation if the information source is credible

Public property was burnt down during violence. 
Maryland: When caste-based arson and violence broke out in the northern Indian state of Haryana in February this year, the law enforcement authorities were quick to shut down internet services on mobile devices in the region. 

The rationale given behind shutting down web services was that rumors and misinformation spread on social networking sites could add fuel to the fire, thus escalating violence and further complicating the law and order situation. 

Being Authentic on Social Media Can Increase Your Self-Esteem

Source: JPI Social Media Management
In today's world, social media has replaced conventional ways of connecting with others due to its accessibility and reach. Since people can choose which content to display on their social media platforms, it is possible for someone to portray themselves to others in ways that do not reflect their true self.

For example, someone who is self-conscious about their skin may only post pictures of themselves with makeup on, while someone who suffers from depression may only post pictures of themselves having fun.

Study Shows People on Social Media Compare Themselves to Their Peers

As social media use continues to play an increasingly active role in our lives, new studies find that many people use these sites as a tool for self-evaluation.

Social networking sites, like Facebook or Twitter,  provide an instant picture of the lives of those around us. Individuals can see each others' pictures and comments on a daily basis, and oftentimes these images may be more idealized than a person's real life.

College Students are Especially Vulnerable to Psychological Violence and Cyber Victimization

Psychological Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) and cyber victimization are on the rise, affecting more people across the world today than ever before.

This is largely due to the increasing popularity of the Internet, which can act as a convenient channel for emotional abuse.

In a world where people are constantly "plugged in," emotional abuse can strike at any moment. As such, young adults, with their larger online presence, are at the greatest risk of experiencing psychological IPV and cyber victimization.

Virtual Environments Allow for Disengagement from Real-World Behaviors

Source: IGN Entertainment

A user's selection of avatar morality in a virtual environment is most accurately predicted by the user's measured level of disengagement from normally held moral values and beliefs. 

To fully understand this concept, one must first consider the implementation of morality in video games.

Users Unknowingly Increase Online Messaging When They Compare Themselves to Coworkers

Photo Credit:

Being able to see how much your coworkers are using Skype results in an increase in your own Skype activity

A 2016 study shows that in an office environment, having access to information about coworker communication activity on Skype can cause users to increase their own activity on the social networking platform.

When given the chance to compare their own data about the number of messages they sent and received to that of their coworkers, people increased their communication activity.

Facebook Users Interact with Brands that Reflect Their Ideal Selves

If you've ever felt motivated to like your favorite clothing store or coffee shop on Facebook, it may be about much more than a positive shopping experience. 

A University of Minnesota study recently reported that users are much more likely to interact online with brands that represent their ideal selves.

Young Adults' Negative Comparisons on Facebook Relate to their Well-Being

As young adults transition in life, their life satisfaction starts to decline. Poor life satisfaction usually has some adverse effects including depression, anxiety, and suicide. A factor that can explain decreasing life satisfaction is negative online comparison.
Currently, the social networking site that is most widely used is Facebook. Young people spend about 2 hours a day on this site. During this time, they browse various photos, update their status, and browse other profiles.

Mobile Phone Dependency Becoming Part of Our Culture

We are always plugged in and aware of news around us  because of 
smart phones and social media.

Smart phones give us the ability to stay updated and post on  Facebook or catch up with world news on the go. Even with  new forms of technology being created, mobile phones and social media still continues to take the world by storm on a daily basis. 

Social media is an amazing tool that can be used to keep in contact with friends and family, and also as a gateway to meeting new people and gaining new opportunities. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, Snap Chat and Instagram continue to run our social media world which could possibly contribute to why social media and mobile phone usage is becoming a problem in our society.

It's easier to tell a believable lie online than it is face to face

Lie detection has consistently been a topic of study especially in law enforcement and terrorism studies. 

Lie detection stems from the ability to read someone's body language and facial expressions to determine in real-time if someone is lying. 

There are not only verbal and nonverbal cues, such as speech stumbles and compressed lips, but there are also questions that an interviewer can ask to be able to determine truthfulness. However, the widespread use of technology has changed the paradigm of lie detection. 

Cyberbullying Can Increase Self-Harm Activities

Cyberbullying is an ongoing epidemic across the world.  Unlike face-to-face bullying, cyberbullying consists of using technology such as social media or texting to belittle another person.

Although face-to-face bullying still exists, cyberbullying has the potential to be much more dangerous.  Over the past few years, the amount of teen suicides related to cyberbullying has risen drastically.

Younger Game Players Exposed to Alcohol and Tobacco Images are Twice as Likely to Try Them

Teens and preteens that play video games like Grand Theft Auto or Call of Duty double their likelihood of trying cigarettes and alcohol, according to a new study from the University of Nottingham.

Many adults are aware that media like movies, tv shows, advertisements, and youtube videos can influence their behavior.  Remember all those adults dumping buckets of ice water on their heads? And it probably goes without saying that kids may be even more impressionable than adults.

70: Fake News May be on the Rise Because People are Becoming Less Likely to Fact-Check News Stories

A study on political microtargeting found that when on Facebook, people are just as likely to view an everyday Facebook post to be as trustworthy as an advertisement sponsored by a real company. It was also found that there is no difference between how consumers respond to political ads when they receive education on advertisement tactics. This education involves teaching viewers about tactics such as fake ads, manipulation, and specifically a fairly new strategy, political microtargeting.

Personal Advertisements are Taking Over the Internet Whether People Like it or Not

Internet users seem to notice that there are specific ads that seem to be very personal to their hobbies and interests, this is known as microtargeting. Usually, microtargeting involves looking into a specific person's background information and web history, which allows companies to cater ads to a specific person's likes. During election time, however, these ads are more likely to be aimed at pushing a specific political party or candidate's agenda.

In the political world, advertisers may look at whether a person reads Fox News or NBC news. There are thousands of political-related Facebook pages, so viewing what a person likes or constantly comments on can help get a sense of who they may vote for or the policies they may support.

Some people did not want to be shown political advertisements that were tailored to their interests. Since companies may take very personal information such as race, religion, and party identification, some viewed it as an invasion of privacy. There is no way to stop these companies from using the information that is already out there.

People are Very Trusting of News Stories, This Could Possibly Explain the Rise of Fake News

As mentioned earlier, people are just as likely to believe that a regular Facebook post that could be created by anyone and was made to look like an ad, is just as trustworthy as a post from a political company or campaign group. This information is alarming because it goes to show that people on the internet are extremely likely to believe almost everything and anything they read.

Craig Silverman, the editor of Buzzfeed Canada, conducted a mini experiment. He compared the total number of engagements between the most popular, fake election-related news stories to the most popular, real election-related news stories. In this case, engagement was likes, shares, and comments.

The experiment found that engagement of fake news stories was higher than engagement on real stories, especially when the election came to a close. Some of these fake stories included the Pope endorsing Donald Trump and the death of an FBI agent involved in the Hillary Clinton email investigation.

Silverman found this information to be extremely surprising. While the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, claims that 99.9% of the information and news on Facebook is "solid," there is an abundance of fake news out there. Silverman stated that there is no clear way to tell if the fake news played a role in Donald Trump's win, but he says that it definitely had some sort of impact.

If training on advertising tactics and manipulation has virtually no effect on how consumers view ads, it may be hard to stop the emerging popularity of fake news and fake news websites. Since advertising training proved to be unsuccessful, the only thing consumers can do to stop the spread of fake news is to fact check what they read. With the "on-the-go" lifestyle that Americans live, researching news has become a neglected practice. 

Researchers Wanted to Find Out How People Perceived Political Ads and How Those Opinions Would Impact Their Likelihood to Believe or Share the Post

The researchers in the microtargeting study hypothesized that when viewing political posts, a regular Facebook post would have the lowest levels of persuasion knowledge, then a personalized Facebook ad, and a personalized Facebook ad along with training on advertising would have the highest levels of persuasion knowledge. Persuasion knowledge was defined as prior knowledge about advertising strategies. 

Regular Facebook posts were anything that a friend may have liked or reposted. Personalized Facebook ads were sponsored and paid for by companies or political groups. These posts indicate somewhere that they are sponsored. Some research has found that seeing a sponsored label can help consumers realize a post is an ad, while other research refutes this claim.

The final group viewed personalized ads along with a basic training session. The training session included teaching participants about microtargeting and targeted advertising, which is how companies specifically target people and customize ads to their liking and wants.

The second hypothesis predicted that when persuasion knowledge is activated, people will be less likely to view that post as trustworthy. This is because noticing a sponsorship symbol may lead people to believe that the ad is supposed to be persuasive, which will make them become more critical about the ad.

This hypothesis also predicted that people who view personalized ads will be less likely to engage in electronic word of mouth, which is defined as sharing, posting, and commenting. This is because they will believe that the ad is biased due to the fact that it is sponsored by a company.

Most People Were Likely to Believe but Not Share Political Posts When They Could Decipher the Post's Message

The studies found that there was no significant difference on being able to realize if a post was an ad or not. Even when people were taught about microtargeting, every group was mostly able to realize it was an advertisement. This shows that advertising training may be unhelpful.

Each of the conditions viewed the posts as having virtually the same level of trustworthiness. All of the conditions were unlikely to participate in electronic word of mouth. When asked if they would like the Facebook post, most responded that they were unlikely to do so.

To access more detailed information on this study, click here.

26: College Students Spend More Time Communicating Face to Face than using Electronic Commuication Forms

Picture credits: Getty Images , Frank Ramspott
College aged students are generally known for their love and use of their phones, especially to keep in communication with their friends, so it may surprise many to know that according to new studies, college students use face to face communication as their preferred and primary form of communication. Computer mediated communication (CMC) is still very frequently used and can also provide benefits to the relationship. CMC includes any form of communication through an electronic device such as phone calls, text messages, emails, instant messaging, video calls, and more.

Gender, Relationship length, communication quality, and self disclosure were the factors studied to see how CMC affected college students

The study conducted to test the communication in relationships studied factors such as gender, relationship length, communication frequency, and forms of communication. There were 369 participants between the ages of 18-24. It is important to note that this study only used couples who were in close proximity to one another geographically.

Before the study began, each participant separately filled out a questionnaire about their demographics and relationship in relation to the topics stated above. They filled out a 1-5 Likert scale on how they felt their communication quality, self disclosure, and intimacy were in the relationship. The study moderators had the participants report every type of communication they had with their partner of the next three days. They recorded what device was used, and the length of time they were in contact and compared it after three days.

The most common method of communication was face to face. One hundred percent of the participants used face to face in the three days the study was conducted, for a median of 11.15 hours together. Text messaging and instant messaging platforms were the next two most commonly used platforms. The graphs to the right show the percent of participants who used each form of communication in relationship to the time spent using each one.

A second study was also found that looked at many of the same factors and reinforced the findings of this study. The moderator for this study gave extensive background and reported the exact findings for each demographic and ratings for communication and intimacy in the relationship.

CMC is used about half as much as in person communication, however CMC improves relationship communication and intimacy levels

Many couples integrate all forms of communication to help fit their lifestyle and accommodate their needs. I recently talked to a young woman who expressed that she and her significant other try to see each other face to face as much as possible, but their hectic schedules often force them to use CMC to bridge the gap when they are unable to. I talked to her a little further outside of the interview and she also discussed how she feels that while seeing one another in person, being able to communicate through CMC when they are apart helps them to feel closer, are able to talk about what is happening in their lives, and when they see each other again, they do not feel like time or distance has pushed them apart; they are able to pick up right where they left off. 

CMC also allows for couples to share photos and videos they have created for each other or have found on the Internet, connecting each other through a shared interest and being able to see what the other is interested in.

Computer Mediated Communication (CMC) is believed to increase self disclosure and intimacy in relationships

The use of CMC allows for the user to interact and communicate with each other, even if the two users are far apart in distance. The study on CMC communication found that the length of the relationship did not necessarily decide the level of intimacy, but how often the couple communicated played a large role in the relationship's intimacy levels.  This proves that how much one is willing to talk about and self disclose with their significant other increases the intimacy level. Having CMC allows for a couple to self disclose and communicate whenever and wherever they are, creating an increase in intimacy levels and feeling closer with one's significant other.

The quality of a couples communication was also shown to increase when couples discussed a wider variety of topics, including more personal ones, over CMC. These couples not only felt closer with one another, but also felt they could communicate more and talk about anything instead of feeling neglected or limited.

While CMC is beneficial to a relationship, it also harbors negative consequences such as neglect and conflict

Having the option to use a device to communicate whenever and wherever is a wonderful thing, but it can cause damage when used inappropriately. The wrongful use of these devices can initiate fights, isolation, and trust issues.

The second study introduced gave accounts on how many participants do not respond to messages or calls as a form of punishment when they are angry. The majority who claimed to do this were female and stated if their significant other ignored them, they would think it is because something bad happened, not that they were angry. The males claimed that when they were ignored they knew it was because the other was angry, and did not usually suspect something bad happened.

A study done at Baylor University found that many couples complain about their significant other neglecting them for what is on their phone, or even hiding their phone from them. A survey of 145 adults in a relationship showed that 46.3% of respondents often were ignored or felt neglected at some point in the relationship due to their significant other spending more time on their phone. These negative behaviors can include not letting their phone leave their sight, paying attention to something on the phone while the other is talking, and also not allowing their phone to leave their hand. These actions can make the other feel less important, or can also make it seem like something is being hidden.

47 The Impact of Social Media on Sharing Information About Healthcare
Over the past decade, Twitter has grown to become one of the largest social media platforms in the world. With over 300 million monthly active users, people are able to send and receive information to and from others around the world.  Twitter has revolutionized the way a large proportion of Americans interact with each other. Twitter is also becoming a source for news, which is another feature that continues to attract more people to the social media application. With the influx of users over the past decade, educational accounts have been created to spread information.

A Well Managed Account Can Provide New Information to a Large Population

The purpose of a Twitter healthcare account is to distribute useful and interesting information about health to an audience. Accounts that are properly managed are more inclined to perform better. The Mayo Clinic Cardiovascular account has done a phenomenal job as they understand the interests of the audience they are providing information for. 

A well managed account follows the structure of Mayo Clinic's account as they develop predetermined tweets that are strategically sent around 8 a.m. and 4-6 p.m. During these times, Twitter has its highest volume of people using the application. When trying to spread messages and information, it is important to have it seen by as many people as possible. 

Another important aspect of having a well managed Twitter account is knowing who and where your audience is. Using Twitter Analytics, Mayo Clinic was able to see that 54% of their followers were male and 46% were female. Additionally, this program showed that 68% of their followers were from the United States. This is crucial information because the remaining 32% of their followers may be interested in information that correlates to their native country. 

Mayo Clinic makes an emphasis to have their tweets reach a global audience instead of a predominantly American one. Its important to diversify tweets to make the account as interactive as possible. Instead of sharing studies done by American's, Mayo Clinic makes a clear effort to provide to distribute information from multiple sources within and outside of the U.S. 

The Growth of Twitter Allows an Account to be Used for Marketing

Despite being limited to only 140 characters per tweet, Twitter has been used as a source of marketing. In order to meet the primary objective of spreading information, healthcare accounts need to gain followers. After the first year, the Mayo Clinic Cardiovascular Twitter account amassed 1,235 followers. This was done by scheduling preplanned tweets that overtime grew in popularity. 

Gaining followers is a key part of marketing for twitter. The Mayo Clinic account stresses on the importance of being consistent with tweets. Consistency often attracts people because they know what to expect. It is helpful to stay in the same frame and format tweets similarly, yet change the information in the text. 

Having policy in place helps the account stay focused. The Mayo Clinic account stresses on following individuals who are established in the medical industry or companies who bring forward relevant information about health. This forces the account to stay on track with its goal. 

By analyzing the audience growth rate, which is the follower count from today compared to a previous time or date, people are able to see the direction that the account is headed. As the overall follower count grows, the number of engagements per tweet steadily rise as well. This is crucial to providing information to the general public. If the information is not seen, the objective is not achieved. As an account gains followers, it can test marketing strategies and see what kind of tweets best relate to the greatest number of people. 

Understanding Analytics From Twitter Helps With Promoting a Social Media Account

In a study published by Liebert, Dr. R. Jay Widmer analyzes the impact that a Twitter healthcare account has. The chart demonstrates the level of interaction per tweet through Mayo Clinic's Twitter account. Engagements are the most frequent as they include clicks, link clicks, retweets (RTs), favorites, and replies. Analytics of a Twitter account provide necessary information to understand the best way to run an account. 

The engagement rate is the the sum of clicks, RTs, favorites, and replies divided by the total engagements. This is a useful measurement when looking at social media accounts as a higher engagement rate means that the account is providing great content. The mayo clinic account has a relatively high engagement rate during its first year. 

By looking at the analytics provided by these programs, Mayo Clinc was able to better gage what kind of tweets worked best for their intended audience. This allowed Mayo Clinc to see that tweets with embedded links to articles sparked the most clicks. Since clicks were the highest source of engagement per tweet, Mayo Clinic knew what tweets worked best for their cause. 

Using the Right Hashtag is Key for Healthcare

Hashtags are a great way to get information out to the general public. They allow people to search topics that help categorize tweets and find more information on them. However, they are often misused. When operating a Twitter healthcare account, it is crucial to use the right hashtag to gain more attention to the tweet. It is suggested that keeping hashtags to a maximum of three per tweet help attract more attention. When a tweet has too many hashtags, it can either get confusing or make the reader uninterested.

Consistency is of utmost importance when trying to establish and further a Twitter healthcare account. The study suggests that using a rotation of 10-15 hashtags is ideal. Frequently using specific hashtags builds more information related to that topic. If a tweet uses a different hashtag every time, the account is not being as effective as it should. The objective when operating a Twitter healthcare account is to gain attention so that more people are exposed to the messages trying to be distributed. 

ID #5 Women in a Virtual Reality Environment Perceive Their Bodies as More Flattering Than Reality

The development of virtual reality (VR) has rapidly progressed throughout the past decade and is only getting faster. While many think of virtual reality in terms of entertainment and gaming, it is progressively expanding into other fields and seeing more uses.

Recently, VR has been implemented to help treat women who suffer from eating disorders. Women who suffer from eating disorders and self-esteem issues are able to boost their confidence through the help of virtual reality -- VR gives these women an escape from the thing that affects them the most: their own body.

Source: Blogilates
While this VR treatment is still a fairly new method, women leave the treatment feeling more satisfied and accepting of themselves.

Virtual reality is a new alternative to treat body image disturbance in lieu of traditional therapy

From the time a woman begins to go through puberty, she begins to feel more self conscious about her appearance and will most likely develop some feelings of insecurity at some point in their life. For some women, that period of insecurity is short lived, but it may drag on for years -- even decades -- for others.

Traditional psychological therapy has been around for many decades, and is often resorted to if a woman feels negatively enough about her body. While psychiatric help is often very beneficial, a body image study introduces a new form of treatment that may rival traditional psychological therapy.

This new alternative puts women in a practically life-like environment where they can live out their fantasies about having their ideal body types. While traditional psychological therapy is used to help women accept themselves for who they are, VR treatment plays off of an idealistic concept to help women visualize what their dream bodies would look like.

Women placed in a more flattering body showed increased levels of self esteem

An eating disorder study conducted in Spain implemented a form of virtual reality treatment; women who suffer from anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa were put into VR environments with their ideal body types. Although the environment experience was short lived, many of the women left the study with higher levels of self-esteem because of how much they enjoyed having this ideal figure.

The women reported that they were more so able to accept who they were in this environment, and that they were not as ashamed to be seen in public. With these higher levels of confidence, many women said that they did not feel as disheartened to eat afterwards as well. The self-esteem boost associated with VR treatment hopes to give women a more optimistic attitude about themselves, which hopefully turns into a higher overall satisfaction rating as well.

The insincerity of virtual reality treatment may be more detrimental than beneficial for women in the long run 

While women who suffer from eating disorders greatly benefitted from the VR treatment, there has been controversy surrounding this new method of treating patients. While it is beneficial to give women the experience of living in their ideal bodies, it can sometimes provide an unrealistic beauty standard if the women go to any extremes versus a more standard stomach size reduction or love handle and cellulite removal.

Controversy arises when the women leave the VR treatment: although they have an immediate sense of satisfaction, it is not known how long these levels of confidence will last. There are speculations about whether the women will actually feel worse later on -- after they get to experience their ideal body, they do not know how long until they will be able to feel that satisfaction again.

Women who do not suffer from eating disorders do not perceive their bodies differently within a virtual reality environment

Virtual reality is not always the answer, and research shows that there was no significant change in women who did not suffer from anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, or binge eating disorder. The participants of this study reported to be dissatisfied with their bodies, but not to the same degree as women who suffer from eating disorders.

During the experiment, the women were placed on a public transportation bus -- but with a more ideal body because of VR. Most of the women did not feel any different being in the virtual reality environment instead of real life, and reported next to no change in self-esteem after the experience was finished.

While the VR treatment benefitted women who suffer from eating disorders the most, it all comes down to perception at the end of the day.

Source: Something for Kelly

Women who feel so strongly about their bodies that are ashamed to go out in public will obviously see themselves as more flattering within a virtual reality environment. The women who were dissatisfied with their bodies noticed a change in the VR environment, but not enough to change their feelings about themselves.

Beauty, and especially weight, are stressed so highly in today’s society that many women often discourage themselves when they are unable to reach these unattainable standards of beauty. While there is nothing wrong about a person wanting to put their best face forward, it is a social construct -- an unfair one at that -- that all women must look a certain way in order to be deemed “beautiful.”

Virtual reality treatment helps women see themselves in a positive light, but the treatment must stay realistic in order to maintain the mental integrity of the women as well.

45 Studies show Increased Social Media use is linked to Stress in Modern Romantic Relationships

Recent studies indicate that consistent use of social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram have become a major source of tension in 21st century relationships. It seems couples are more focused on appearing to be happily in love on their online profiles than actually enjoying one another's company. Scientists have been hard at work trying to understand why this is - and have found that the underlying causes are narcism and body image complexes.

Happier couples don't seek validation from others and therefore tend to post less online

You may have already heard that people who use social media less frequently tend to lead happier, more fulfilling lives  -- this seems to be the case with romantic relationships as well.

In this day and age, everything we do is shared with our digital audience. When considering how couples act online, there are several issues that can arise through continuous social media use. One problem can be that the couple exclusively posts perceivably "happy" images, creating a false sense of perfection. We tend to compare ourselves to others -- it's human nature, and when we are constantly exposed to images of blissful couples who appear perfectly content, it's understandable why some couples may feel the need to conform. Thus, when they receieve likes or comments showing others' approval about how perpetually "happy" they appear to be, this only validates the couple's facade, convincing them that they are truly satisfied.

Another, quite opposite issue is when couples decide to take their fights online by posting mean comments or embarrassing photos of one another. This is particularly hard to recover from, since their entire following is now unintentionally involved in their argument. Online feuds in general tend to be more heated, since both parties don't have to face the fear of in-person confrontation. In face-to-face fights, it's much harder to insult a person you care for, however, when feelings of anger arise and all one has to do is click a few buttons, "all hell breaks loose" and once it's posted there's no turning back.

Selfie posting in particular is becoming an issue for modern couples, since it can lead to fights about other's comments or the "appropriateness" of the photo. Tienne Mohs, who has been dating her boyfriend Alex for over a year briefly describes how her significant other negatively reacts to her Instagram posts:

Continuous selfie posting corresponds to unhappy relationships, vanity leads to selfish behavior

A study done by researchers at Florida State University found that the more selfies a person uploaded to Instagram, the better they tended to feel about their body image. They wanted to know how this related to romantic outcomes, and if selfies were a determining factor in a couple's happiness.

The researchers asked their 420 participants a series of questions, first about their body image (by asking them to rate their satisfaction with areas of their body and finding an average), and then about how Instagram played a role in their past romantic endeavors. The questions were along the lines of "How often do you have/had an argument with your current/former significant other as a result of the amount of feedback your selfie or your current/former partner's selfie gained on Instagram?" to which participants answered based on a scale of 1(Never) to 6(Always).

The results for both average body satisfaction and Instagram-related conflict showed a correlation between the number of selfies posted and overall body image satisfaction as well as "negative" romantic relationship outcomes such as break-ups or fights. Therefore, it was concluded that if an Instagram user is more satisfied with their body, they were more likely to experience conflict related to their Instagram posting habits in their romantic relationships.

So, it appears that staying off of social media may be the best option for keeping a modern relationship in tact.

Newlyweds are experiencing issues with narcism on social media due to wives' self-image

Not only does selfie posting on social media produce negative results in casual relationships, but also in that of newlyweds. A study done in 2016 followed 146 newlywed couples over their first four years of marriage -- and shockingly, found that when the wife displayed characteristics of narcism this led to "steeper declines in marital dissatisfaction," whereas the husband's narcissistic tendencies had little effect on the overall quality of marriage.

Could this be due to the increasing societal pressure on women to be "perfect"? It has been proven that women are more critical of themselves than men, and with the rise in popularity of the selfie on social media sites, it's no wonder that girlfriends and wives experience issues with narcissism.

Narcissists tends to be thought of as arrogant and self-loving, however, there is another category known as "vulnerable narcissists." These people tend toward self-hatred and obsess over what they can change and perfect to make themselves feel better. In relation to social media, a vulnerable narcissist would likely equate their self-worth to the number of "likes" they receive on a photo of themself. On the other hand, a classic narcissist would feed off of the "likes" and gain more confidence with each double-tap.

In either scenario, it seems that the increasing consumption of social media has led to body image complexes that are negatively affecting the relationships of this generation.

The take home message: log off and enjoy the physical world

So what do now that we know all of this? Should we ban selfies? There have been many studies displaying the negative effects of social media on our youth, however, I don't think it's time to wage all-out war on social networking sites. They are still new, and there's a lot left to learn about what they can do for us.

The takeaway from these studies should be as follows: limit your time in the online world and focus on the people around you, and more specifically, on making your real life relationship work. It may make you feel good to get those thumbs-up and likes but it's much more satisfying to spend time fostering true happiness with someone you love.

14. New Research Shows that Virtual Reality can Make Exercise a More Positive Experience for Adults and Children

A male using a Virtual Reality Headset during work-out on an exercise bike.
The television to the right shows the audience what he is seeing.
Virtual Reality, also referred to as VR for short, is a computer-generated environment in which users can experience a surreal and interactive environment. VR can be experienced through a variety of special electronic equipment. One example is through a helmet with a screen inside. Another example is a pair of gloves with special sensors. Although VR has been around since the 1950’s, it has come a long way. It has technologically advanced in a number of ways, including what it can be used for. At first, the functions of VR were for entertainment purposes. These purposes could be for watching movies or playing games. More recently it has been looked into for medical implications, specifically assisting people with negative feelings during exercise.  

Negative Feelings Towards Exercise is Common for Many People

Many people associate exercising with feelings of discomfort during exercise and soreness afterwards. These negative feelings are most likely the reason people are not getting an adequate amount of exercise. Another reason could be the excuses that people make. Does "I don't have time" or "I don't have the motivation" sound familiar? These excuses seem to be the most common. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 80 percent of the United States Population is not meeting the federal governments' physical activity standard. The federal government recommends that everyone should aim for at least 2.5 hours of moderate exercise per week. Although this is just a general standard, everyone should aim for some form of exercise over the course of their lives.

Virtual Reality Has Been Shown to Help People Overcome Negative Feelings During Exercise 

In a recent study, researchers experimented with virtual reality conditions versus non virtual reality conditions. They wanted to test if these two conditions would have any effect on how overweight children and normal weight children perceive negative bodily sensations. The methods of the study included children aged 10-15 who would walk on a treadmill for a total of six minutes. They would do this twice, once with virtual reality and once without. During the exercise the children were assessed using a scale that measured how much they focused on their external environment versus their bodily sensations. The data graphic below shows the data collected in the study.

*ASA represents Attentional Strategies Assessment which measured the frequency of attentional focus. 

As expected, overweight children felt a significant difference when placed in the virtual reality environment. Although there was a difference in the way normal weight children felt, it was not as significant, as shown in the data graphic above. Another study conducted on adults showed that they enjoyed their work out more when it was coupled with virtual reality. In this study they were using virtual reality exercise bikes, as pictured in the first paragraph.

Virtual Reality has Potential to Address the Growing Problem of Obesity in Children and Adults

The condition of being overweight or grossly fat is defined as being obese. Obesity can be determined using the Body Mass Index (BMI) which takes into account height and weight in order to determine if a person is underweight, healthy-weight, overweight or obese. The simplified problems is that Americans are having too much to eat with too little exercise. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH) more than 35 percent of US adults are obese or overweight. Obesity and being overweight affects 32 percents of all children and adolescents. This number has more than tripled since the last generation. 

The studies previous support that Virtual Reality can help with this problem by making exercise more enjoyable. If exercise becomes more enjoyable for people in general, there is a higher chance that they will want to exercise. There is one problem though; accessibility to virtual reality equipment can be difficult for a number of reasons. This short clip shows Heyam Abadir, a student at the University of Maryland-College Park, giving her opinion on virtual reality and exercise.

Technological Companies Want to Make Virtual Reality Accessible and Beneficial for All

There are various types of virtual reality equipment however some of their prices are very high. For example the Oculus Rift (virtual reality gaming headset) costs about $600 and the HTC Vive (also a virtual reality gaming headset) costs about $800. Not only do you have to buy these headsets, you also have to buy a computer that is compatible with those headsets. For instance, Apple Macintosh computers will not work with these headsets. They require a brand new high-end desktop computer specifically created for gaming. The computers start at $1000. Overall the total cost could potentially be around $1600-$2500. 

Some tech companies such as Samsung and Fulldive have lowered their prices to make virtual reality more accessible. Samsung has lowered the price of their headset from around $100 to about $50. Fulldive is more focused on making virtual reality more accessible to third world countries. They have engineered virtual reality to be accessible on a mobile device through an application (app). Their dream is to create a bridge that will close the nearly 10 year technological advancement discrepancy between first and third world countries. 

Overall, Virtual Reality is becoming more accessible and this can allow for people with weight problems to find a new and innovating way to exercise and lead a healthier lifestyle. 


56- Virtual foods set to change the way people combat eating disorders

The future of fighting eating disorders could very well be through technology. Recent studies have suggested that the individuals exposed to these foods reacted in similar ways to how they would react if the food was real. By using technology like virtual and augmented reality, which is live direct or indirect view of the real world, with computer generated inputs like graphics, sounds, and videos, people can have all the experiences of eating food, without getting the calories.

Pictured above is just one example of how an augmented reality food would appear on your device. The viewer can room in, move from side to side, up and down, and engage however he or she wants with the food, without actually having the possibility to eat the food. 

Surveys suggest obese participants reaction to virtual foods rival that of real food
Eating disorders like binge eating, where an individual will eat extremely large amounts of food in a short period of time, are becoming a major health concern across the globe, and especially in the United States today. A increasingly popular way of trying to control the temptations of binge eating is cue exposure, where in this case, patients are put in a situation where they would typically go on an eating binge, however, they are not allowed to eat any food at all. This method is intended to teach tolerance and eventually lead to the distinction of the behavior. In a study testing the effects of Augmented Reality for cue exposure in obese patients, individuals were tested on a Visual Analog Scale(VAS) for palatability, in which they were asked exposed to food in three different ways, the food itself, augmented reality food, and a picture of food.
Augmented reality food had a mean score of roughly two points behind real food itself, while just a picture of food had a mean score deficit of more than five points from real food. It could be inferred from the data that augmented reality foods would serve as the best method of combating binge eating because they score significantly closer to the score of real food than just a picture, while also not having the ability to give in to the temptations that could occur with having real food available to someone who may go on a binge.

Virtual reality technology in development that would allow us to eat food- without the calories
A new system called Project Nourished is revolutionizing the way we experience dining in the 21st century. The project creates senses using vision, taste, smell, texture, consistency, and sound. These senses are created by using six tools, which are unique to capture each sense in its own way.

By using all this state of the art, extremely innovative technology, you are able to eat any kind of food you can imagine, when and wherever you want. Of course, you are not actually eating the food, but your body is being tricked into thinking it is. That is, your senses are being stimulated the same ways they would be if you were actually eating the food in real life. Now, you can eat that whole pizza, and not have to worry about your reflection the next morning.

Technology like this has a real opportunity to change the ways which eating disorders are dealt with on a day to day basis. This technology would be a more gentle way to ween the individuals off of behaviors like binge eating, rather than have the trauma and mental stress that could come with a method like cue exposure.

High Calorie Salty foods are most desirable reality foods, whether you are obese or not
In the previously mentioned study for testing Augmented Reality for cue exposure in obese patients, both the obese group, and the non-obese, or control group were given augmented reality versions of three different kinds of food, high calorie salty/savory, high calorie sweet, and low calorie. They were then given a visual analog test for palatability which was determined by a mean score. The control group found high calorie salt food to be most palatable with a mean score of 49.7, followed closely by high calorie sweet foods with a score of 48.4, the lowest scoring food was low calorie, with a score of 41. How much did the obese subjects differ from the control group? Seen below is a chart detailing the palatability score of obese participants.

While the obese participants score rankings was the same as the control group in terms of most palatable to least palatable foods, there was a much larger difference in mean scores. Low calorie foods were not found to be nearly as palatable as high calorie foods, and there was a larger more noticeable difference between the score of salty foods and sweet ones, where salty foods clearly were the most preferred. I was shocked by these results the first time I saw it, I would have assumed sweet foods would be seen as most palatable for obese patients due to the fact that they are more unhealthy than the other two groups. While interviewing multiple people, I found they shared that same thought. Below is a video of my sister, Allison, a freshman at Penn State University, and her thoughts on the matter.

Virtual Reality could very well be the way of the future

With increasing popularity and futuristic technology, the possibilities to explore seem endless for virtual reality. But is this a good thing? We have seen it in movies before, but it could very well be our inevitable fate. Too much technology could be a bad thing, as we should take precaution against a world dominated by technology.

23 Excessive Multitasking on Smart Devices Effects Behavior and Cognition in Adolecents

1. Media Multitasking Develops Inadequate Sleep Schedules and Learning
2. Excessive use associated with Depression, Low self-esteem,and Social anxiety
3. Future generations more likely to experience behavioral issues
4. Work to prevent excessive social networking and smart device use

     The human brain has the capability to process and recall massive amounts of information, however there are limited amounts of activity we can process simultaneously. To cope with this, we result to shortcuts in order to maintain efficiency when multitasking. When practiced excessively, multitasking may result in emotional, behavioral, and cognitive issues.

     Due to progressive advancements in technology, it has become a significant aspect of  everyday societal routines; immersed in the education, financials, entertainment, and communication of virtually every individual. Today, the practice of engaging in two or more activities simultaneously has become a regular habitude through technology, particularly with smart phones/devices.

     Young adolescents are especially dependent on multitasking with smart devices for school, communicating with friends, and engaging on social media networks. Multitasking is not an uncommon practice among adolescents; those that have a smart device will tend to have it in their possession throughout the course of the day, and use it for several hours at a time. 

Media Multitasking Develops Inadequate Sleep Schedules and Learning

        Adolescents with smart devices typically engage in two or more social media networks for hours at a time; some of these include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and many others. Due to the availability of 24/7 access to communicate with friends, send and receive text messages, and post/browse on social media, spending long hours on a school night engaged with a smart device inevitably becomes a common practice.

       An individual in their adolescence would typically require up to 9 hours of sleep every night. Adolescents that are heavily invested with multitasking on multiple smart devices will eventually get fewer hours of sleep, resulting in a fatigued state of sleepiness throughout the day, and a difficult time meeting the cognitive demands of school. Students are expected to demonstrate compliance and focus throughout a typical school day, lasting approximately 6-8 hours. This becomes especially challenging when a student has adapted an inadequate sleep schedule.
     A study conducted by the School of Psychology and Exercise Science measures the correlation of  problematic social networking use with sleep disturbances, sleep quality, and school satisfaction in adolescents. This experiment was composed of 1,886 participants, with evenly distributed factors of race, gender, and socioeconomic status. 

      These self reports allow us to speculate the significant impact of the excessive and unhealthy use of smart devices on sleep and education. Each student had been asked a series of questions and told to respond through a 1-5 scale; 1 being the 'worst', and 5 being the 'best'.

     Showing signs of problematic social networking behavior, the participants have reported difficulty sleeping, as well as poorer sleep quality; resulting in an overall dissatisfaction with their focus in school.

    Engagement on social media networks is not an uncommon practice, in fact, it allows us to stay connected and communicate our ideas and messages around the world. Though this instance may be useful, it serves as a negative impact on excessive smart device users. 

Excessive use Associated with Depression, Low Self-Esteem,and Social Anxiety

      The ability to concentrate on a single task can be challenging for someone who does not regularly practice successfully completing one task at a time. Frequently switching between tasks may result in the deterioration of cognitive performance, which in turn brings poor focus and mindfulness; consequences of poor mindedness reflects an individuals inability to properly breakdown and internalize external situations.

     Investing several hours engaged on various social networking sites eventually gives an individual a sense of dissociation with their immediate surroundings. The stimuli derived from social media simulate emotional sensations that allow them to endure extensive periods of engagement, as well as enhanced enjoyment from a virtual reality. Due to the lack of actual human interaction, there is the gradual development of self isolation. The long term application of this lifestyle leads to a weaker understanding of real life implications, such as 'face-to-face' interactions.

      The virtual world of media is a complex outlet of communication and interaction. Adolescents that exhibit problematic behavior tend to look to social networking sites to fulfill their emotional needs, and a dependency on external stimuli for satisfy themselves. The regular application of this lifestyle causes higher stress levels, and less control over behavior; which in long term cases have been associated with low self-esteem, social anxiety, depression, and possibly an overall dissociative perspective of reality. 

Future Generations are more likely to Experience Behavioral issues

     According to a study conducted by Yubo Zhang, BS and Pei-Luen Patrick Rau, PhD; the percentage of self-reported smart device users that have engaged in multitasking behavior are rising at an average of 4% every year; which brings concern for our future generations physical and mental well being.

     As generations progress, people are familiarized with technology and engage in excessive smart device use at a much younger age. The amount of social media users is increasing as well. Due to the extreme technological advancements within the last few decades, there seems to be a trend in how much more of the population will fall into the consequences that accompany excessive multitasking on social networking sites.

     Creating a healthy mature mind relies on the interactions, experiences, and knowledge gained throughout the aging process. Having generations overuse technology at a much younger age puts our future generations at risk of developing cognitive and behavioral issues. Children and younger adolescents are in an especially vulnerable stage of their lives; insecurities and hormonal emotional instabilities make it more likely for the eventual development of  social anxiety, depression, and other issues.

Work to Prevent Excess Social Networking and Smart Device use

      Preventing the addictive and harmful consequences of excessive social media and smart device use relies on the efforts of simply spreading awareness. The impacts on the future generation's behavioral and cognitive health from loss of sleep, focus, and motivation must be shared.

George Washington University Graduate, Human Rights Activist, Procurement Specialist, and founder of "Fariborz FRANK fouladi" discusses the possible benefits of multitasking

       Of course, there are positive aspects to multitasking as well. If one achieves results while multitasking, it can be beneficial in completing multiple tasks in a confined time range; allowing for a more efficient lifestyle. Even so, engaging in several tasks at once will prevent maximum focus and effort towards every task.

     Those who exhibit addictive and unhealthy behavior in using their smart devices are vulnerable to lasting negative effects. It is important to spread the awareness of this behavior, and educate on the potential dangers that come with excessive use.