1. Social Media and Mobile Phone Dependency Continues to Invade Society Living

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.

Mobile Phone Usage Continues to Cause a Decrease in Face-to-Face Interactions

Social media and mobile phone dependency can be identified when  excessive phone usage causes a decrease in work, affects interpersonal relationships, involves greater mobile phone and social media use than necessary, an unsuccessful reduces in use, and continuous complains from family and friends. A recent study touches on  the issues that arises with social media and mobile phone dependency. Research has shown that during conversations where a mobile phone is introduced, the conversation becomes less fulfilling and the individual involved feels less of a connection with the person that they are with. Real life interactions are becoming less and less frequent because of mobile phones. If you were to observe a group of people spending time together in a public place, a majority of them are on their phones either talking, texting or engaging in social media. The availability of free WiFi services in public areas has allowed more opportunities for us to engaged in social media usage during public outings. Despite this rise in social media and mobile phone usage, there are still those who treasure those face-to-face interactions.

                          A University of Maryland Kinesiology student discusses social media dependency in today's society

Nearly Half of Smart Phone Users Claim to not be able to live without their phone

Nearly half of  United States Smart Phone users claimed to not be able to live without their smartphones. These smartphone users declare that they found their phones to be more helpful and necessary rather than annoying. A study done by The Pew Research Center collected a survey taken by 3,181 Americans (2,188 of them were smart phone users) on their relationship with their smart phone. 70 percent described their smartphones with words like "freedom", 72 percent felt like their smartphone is "connecting" not "distracting" and 92 percent say their smart phones are more "helpful" than "annoying".

                                                                                             Source: Huffington Post               
Though these type of studies are hard to get honest answers from, we can look around and see how dependent most people are on their smart phones. We now depend on our smart phones to remember everything from phone numbers to what we have planned next week. Smart phones are seen more as a convenience more than anything else.

Factors that can contribute to Mobile Phone and Social Networking Site (SNS) Dependency

Although social media has it's uses, not all of them are healthy. Some of the main issues that continue to influence social media and mobile phone users are social comparison, SNS support and sensation seeking.We live in a selfish world where looks and social preservation is deemed important. We (as social network site users) want to put our best face forward for social media.  Many people use social media as a
way to seek validation and acceptance from an online community. Social media gives us a small, skewed view of what a person wants us to see. We don't really see the "real" person, we only see the best parts of their lives. 

Social Comparison: The drive to evaluate one's self often in comparison of others
Perceived SNS Support: Self understanding of the support shown by social media followers
Sensation Seeking: the pursue of sensory pleasure and excitement 

While these factors are true, this does not mean that it applies to everyone. Not everyone handles their social media lifestyle the same way. These factors may not be as applicable to you as they may be to someone else. 

Excessive Social Media and Mobile Phone Usage may lead to dangerous habits

Social media continues to show its importance by giving users the ability to stay connected with the revolving world but, it has also spiked a few alarming habits. Research has found that 70 percent of teenagers ages between 12-17 spend time on social media everyday, which can amount to 17 billion teenagers using social media. It is shown that teenagers who are engaging in daily social media usage are five times more likely to involve themselves in alcohol usage, three times more likely to use tobacco, and twice as likely to use marijuana.  Social media has allowed young teens to be exposed to alcohol and drugs which has contributed to making it possible for these young people to want to try it. Social media has also caused mental health issues in young children, teens and young adults. Easily impressionable young teens have looked to social media as a guide of their self-worth and self-esteem. This media mindset may lead anxiety, depression and even suicidal thoughts. Though we have not concluded if social media truly leads to mental health issues, it can be seen that it plays a major factor in the issue. 

Even though there are negative effects when it comes with social media and our mobile phone usage, this does not change the fact that these tools are important in keeping our society afloat. Many now depend on social media for their news sources and other form of information since it is easier to access and faster to get on-hand. Social media and mobile phones will continue to run society, we just need to learn when to put the phone down.

#35 Excessive Internet Users are More Likely to Act Impulsively for a Monetary Outcome Than Casual Users

In this college student study, students who used the internet excessively displayed less patience for rewards with little regard to the difference in the value of their options. This study found that students with excessive use of the internet were less sensitive to having delay in outcomes. These students were also found to display more impulsive behavior than normal internet users..

The impulsive behavior of the college students in this study were recognized to be the same drives that other addictive like hobbies have shown. The students who tested positive with excessive internet use were described as people would have incapacity to tolerate delays and a tendency to take risks. Thus supporting the idea that excessive internet use can lead to behaviors that resemble addictions.

                                                                                                                                                                             Source: Desh.Info

Past Studies in Excessive Internet use Suggests Impulsive and Risk Taking Behavior

Participants with excessive internet use tested positive in many psychology tests for compulsive/impulsive mental disorders, but not in possible obsessive disorders. Obsessive thinking was thought to be linked to the participants who displayed more impulsive behavior, but the study found no significance. 100% of the students met the criteria for Impulse Control Disorder in this small study about the effect excessive internet use has on the way we think.

Instead of finding that excessive internet use was linked to obsessive and compulsive behaviors, this study found that participants reported feeling tension leading up to logging on to the internet that was difficult to impossible to resist. Then after successfully logging on to the internet the participants would get a feeling of arousal or relief. These behaviors from people with excessive internet use resemble the impulsive actions of people with addictions.

Excessive Internet use Separates Reality and Online Experience, Creating a System that Leads to Impulsive Behaviors

Excessive internet use has be related to negative reflections on offline groups, and the inability to ignore stimuli. The internet was depicted as a site of infinite amount of distracting stimuli in a rewarding environment in this study. This behavior resembles addiction whereas the user is always left with the desire for more.

Males are more likely to be excessive internet users due being the largest of the population to participate in more recreational and interactive parts of the internet. Being apart of interactive and rewarding sites was reported exciting by study participants. When shifted to a online reward system delayed by a set amount participants responded in a similar way, where students with excessive internet use were more likely to have a shorter delay between the reward in these communities.

There is a Large Difference in Impulsive Behavior for Casual Internet Users

The scores between student reported delays for a reward were much higher with students who practiced excessive use of the internet. The study focused on a larger reward and a smaller reward, but found that no difference in delay between a larger and smaller rewards for these students. This means that students in either group did not let the quantity of reward change the delay at which they received it.

The negative and positive rewards did not have a large difference in the delay score for students with excessive internet use, suggesting that those students saw gains and losses to have similar context. Since the behaviors between them show signs of impulsive choices due to disregarding delay in outcome, researchers believe that with an increase in the severity on dependence of choices these students would show signs of addiction.

Study shows that people with excessive internet use are just as likely to engage in risk taking behavior as normal people

Despite the similar behaviors that excessive internet users show when in dependence when compared to addicts, researchers found that those students were not more likely to engage in risk taking. When comparing the scores of risk taking behaviors, there were no similarities between gain and loss rewards in either group. Since risk taking scores showed were similar between the two group, excessive use of the internet is shown to not make students more likely to exhibit risk taking behaviors.

Research into risk taking behaviors has shown that when facing a delayed gain, with or without knowledge of the outcome, people prefer to avoid risks. While when faced with a uncertain loss these people become unexpectedly risk prone. Normal internet users were found to have the same reaction to uncertain outcomes.

Study Suggests that Education is Key to Overcoming Excessive Internet Use

This research study on excessive internet use has shown students who engage with these certain behaviors are more likely to make impulsive decisions based on their dependence on the outcome. Obsessiveness and risk taking has been revealed from these studies to not been particularly reflected more in excessive internet users. Researchers believe that if the severity of dependence on the outcome changes due to educating students, students who use the internet excessively will be less prone to impulsive behaviors.

#11 A Technological Study using Virtual Systems to Increase Fruit and Vegetable Consumption in Children

Children Fail to Meet Recommended Daily Amounts of Fruit and Vegetables 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concluded that during 2007–2010, 60% of children consumed fewer cup equivalents of fruit than recommended, and 93% consumed fewer vegetables than recommended. It was also stated that the consumption for total vegetables has been on a steady 7% decline over the last 10 years and the total fruit consumption is at a 5% decrease over the past 10 years with children under the age of 10. Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables as part of a persons daily food consumption can protect against certain types of diseases. Diets rich in foods containing fiber, such as some fruits and vegetables vegetables may reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.  Inadequate consumption can lead to a risk of many chronic diseases including obesity which in 2011-2014 effected 12.7 million children and adolescents.  The United States Department of Agriculture advises Americans to fill half of their plates with F&V. 

The Use of Virtual Systems was Hypothesized to Increase Consumption of Fruits and Vegetables in Children 

Researchers used a computer based program in order to see if children would consume more fruits and vegetables based on the physical and mental health of a virtual pet that the children took care of over the course of the study. 68 children were apart of the study whose ages that ranged from 7 and 13 years old. They were split up into three experimental conditions, virtual dog, computer only, and baseline. Each day, children gathered at different times based on their experimental conditions to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner. During meal time, children selected which food item to be served and its amount. The children in the virtual dog condition interacted with a mid-sized dog through a computer desktop with a 3D controller that allowed them to touch and feel virtual objects. Children were able to personalize their dog with a name and collar color, then were told to set a fruit and vegetable consumption goal of 0%, 25%, or 50% of total food on their plate. The menu items included a list of healthy foods such as whole fruit and tossed salad, and it also included foods that would not contribute to the fruit and vegetable goal such as corn and ice cream. Children achieved verbal reinforcement if they met their goal such as "Congratulations! You reached your goal!", earned points for achieved goals, and observed the mental and physical health of the virtual dog after each meal time. They evaluated the virtual dog’s physical health by using the 3D controller to pump the virtual dog’s heart and feel its major arteries. Dogs in poor health as a result of the child failing to meet F&V goals had hearts that were more difficult to pump and arteries with little elasticity that the children felt through the controller. Children then assessed the virtual dog’s mental health by using the controller to teach the dog various tricks. Dogs that had better health presumed faster response times to commands in comparison to the dogs with poorer health. Children used the points they earned by meeting F&V goals  to teach more tricks to their virtual dogs. Those in the computer only condition used desktop computers with the same goal setting, evaluating, and reinforcing features but without the virtual dog. Camp counselors assessed the amount of fruits and vegetables the children put on their plate during meal time, and the counselors also assessed the amount of fruits and vegetables consumed by the children. 

 An Opinion on the Hypothesis


Results Comparing Baseline Children, Computer Only, and Virtual Dog in the Means of Fruit and Vegetable Consumption
The results show that children in the virtual dog condition chose to be served significantly more F&V than those in the computer only or baseline conditions did. Children in the virtual dog condition were unable to consume more F&V than those in the computer only condition, but children in those two conditions consumed more F&V than the baseline condition.   
Children in the virtual dog condition consumed significantly larger portions of F&V (M = 24.05) than those in the baseline condition (M = 21.80). 

Children in the computer only condition also consumed significantly larger portions of F&V (M = 22.17) than those in the baseline condition did. 


No significant differences in F&V consumption were identified between the virtual dog and computer only conditions ( p = 0.63). 

How to Increase Fruit and Vegetable Consumption Among Children

The centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that good dietary practices earlier in life could lead to better dietary execution later in life. Places such as schools, day care, camps, ect. where children spend majority of their day has a fundamental role in improving healthier food choices and increasing intake of fruits and vegetables. Places mentioned can increase fruit an vegetable consumption by exceeding present federal nutrition standards for meals and snacks, serving healthier options during mealtimes, and training staff members to make fruit and vegetables more appealing. As for adults, grocery stores, worksites, restaurants, eat can increase the appeal to healthier options by being more accessible, the placement, promotions in grocery stores and restaurants, working gatherings, meetings, conferences, ect. which will change the way adults view healthier options and will bring those habits home to their children. The CDC funds and encourages health departments state wide, locally, tribal, and territorial to improve conditions within schools, day cares, the community, and worksites to expand healthier options such as fruits and vegetables alongside beverage choices among a variety of ages. National organizations such as Lets Move! encourages and gives people information the support healthy food choices. It provides healthier options in school systems across the country and aims to ensure that families have access to healthy affordable food. The organization also focuses on helping kids become more physically active in hope to reduce the current obesity rate. 

#5 Research Shows that CATZ is Enhancing The Knowledge of Children About Online Safety

Children today are heavy users of the internet but how much do they
Source: childinsider.com
know about what all is on the internet and what could possibly be dangerous to them? A lot of the stuff that these children research and find on the internet isn't harmful and can possibly be helpful to whatever it is that they are trying to find. But what is harmful is what the children don't know about who they could end up talking to or what information they put in and where exactly they are putting that information. What we need to do is find a way to inform these kids about the dangers that they could come across while on the internet. We need to teach them the right and wrongs of what they can and cannot do so that they can remain safe and not put them or even their families in danger.

Some of The Risks That Children Can Come Across

thesocialmediatoday.com reports that the highest percentage of danger for children are pornography, social networks, and illegal software. There are many other categories that can be dangerous to children but these three lead those others by a wide margin. Some other topics that children do not consider as they are online are that when they enter a social network site and meet people, some of these people may not be who they say they are. These people may try to meet up with these kids in person somewhere and there is always that chance of these strangers might want to kidnap a child. Another huge topic that these kids might come across that they won't exactly know they are doing it is the chance of sharing personal information to others like addresses, what school they attend, a
picture of themself.
Source: www.thesocialmediatoday.com

Methods That Can Enhance Knowledge of Online Safety

Some ways that could help enhance the knowledge of these children would be to continue with the basic knowledge in school of do not talk to strangers and to not give out any personal information to someone you do not know. What kids do not understand is that they need to apply that to when they are online as well and not just out in real life when they are out in public. Along with the school systems, the parent can help out with this by always reminding their child about the dangers they could come across while they are surfing the internet. When the school system brings up this topic to bring awareness to the children, they need to keep reminding them of the dangers that they could come across and inform them of what they can do and what they should not be doing. This is all precautionary steps to make sure that the children are safe and that they do not put themselves into a situation that could be harmful to them or their families. 

How Parents Can Help Keep Their Child Safe

There are multiple ways that parents can help keep their child safe. Like mentioned in the previous passage, they need to constantly remind their child of the possible dangers that could happen while surfing the internet. According to marketingprofs.com, about 8 out of 10 parents follow their child on social media. They do this so that they can follow their child so that they can see what he/she is doing, who they are "following", and to see if they are posting anything that could possibly be harmful. Another way that the parents could do to look after their child is to have their login information so that they can preset their privacy settings to make sure everything that may be on there is safe. But more than just being able to set their settings, the parents could login anytime to see who they may be talking to and if they are sending out any information that they should not be. Parents can never be doing "too much" to look after their children, especially when it comes to a topic as serious as this where it could affect their lives. Some parents even recognize the dangers that social media can cause for their children and therefore ban their kids from having an account to anything so that they do not have to worry about any of the risks.

Review of How To Inform Children of Online Safety

Constant reminders of the possible dangers that kids could come across while online is a major aspect to preventing any harm done to children. If a parent allows his/her child access to the internet and a social media site at that, then they should be "friends" with him/her and also have their passwords so that they can follow whatever their child does so that they can always be on the lookout for them for their safety. The main thing we need to do to make sure that these children do not come across the dangers of being online is to keep putting it in their minds the risks that they are taking of being online and what could happen if they are not careful with what they are researching or posting.

57. Nationwide 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.

For clarification purposes, excessive Internet use is defined as use of the Internet for five or more hours per day in the last 30 days. Internet addiction is indicated by affirmative responses to five or more of the eight questions on the given survey, the Young Diagnostic Questionnaire for Internet addiction. Additionally, a 12-question General Health Questionnaire was administered in order to determine a respondent's mental health status; poor mental health was defined as a score of 1 or more affirmative responses.

Chances of Problematic Internet Use Rise with Increased Cigarette Smoking

696 students who smoked ≤ 10 per day suffer from EIU
376 total students smoke between 11 and 20 per day

According to the data tables provided in the study, adolescent students who consume cigarettes on a daily basis have a significantly higher chance of suffering from Internet addiction (IA) or excessive Internet use (EIU). With a greater number of cigarettes smoked, the adjusted odds ratio, a measure of association between an exposure (in this case, smoking cigarettes) and an outcome (problematic Internet use), for PIU rose as the number of cigarettes smoked per day augmented.

#62 Technology Use is Reducing Loneliness and Improving the Physcial and Mental Health of Older Adults

Source: grandcare.wordpress.com/
      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.

Social technology is viewed as emailing, using social networks, making online video calls, chatting online, and using smartphones. These behaviors are directly associated with better self-rated health, fewer chronic illnesses, higher subjective wellbeing, and fewer depressive symptoms. Each physical and mental health benefit due to social technology usage was related to a reduction in loneliness. Close relationships are a major factor in determining physical health and well-being. Social isolation is directly linked to loneliness in older adults, which is now shown to be directly connected to health issues.

     While exploring the link between social technology and health in Americans 50 years and older, the study was also able to make conclusions on the participants' attitudes around technology. Opposite of the long held ideas of elders struggling to make use of technology, the study found overwhelmingly positive feedback on social technology. This response predicts an improvement in the areas of health associated with reduced loneliness. On a more frequent basis, the willingness of older adults to use social technology will reduce stress and depression.

Increased social technology use led to higher health ratings, fewer chronic illnesses, and fewer depressive symptoms

      The first aspect of social technology tested was if the benefits of social technology also extended to physical and mental health in older adults. This study had 5 main categories. Each category asked questions that were rated on a numeric scale with the lowest number representing the least amount, and the largest number representing the highest amount. The first category was loneliness, followed by subjective health, then chronic illness, subjective well-being, and lastly depression. Subjective health rankings were how participants viewed their own health and subjective well-being ranked satisfaction with life. There were 8 chronic conditions indexed: high blood pressure, diabetes, caner or a malignant tumor of any kind, coronary heart disease, emotional, nervous, or psychiatric problems, arthritis or rheumatism, and stroke.


    Greater technology use was associated with lower loneliness, better health, fewer chronic illnesses, and lower depression. Subjective well-being was unrelated to social technology use in this study. Likewise, loneliness was associated with worse subjective health, more chronic illness, lower subjective wellbeing, and higher depression. The only significant difference was in gender where woman reported lower loneliness but higher depression compared to men.

Contrary to prior studies, older adults generally had positive attitudes toward technology.

     The idea that older adults dislike and are inept with technology has been a long-held stigma in modern society. The second aspect of social technology tested was seniors' attitudes about the usability and benefits of technology. The "digital divide" between generations that grew up with technology and those that didn't is closing. Previous studies enhanced this stigma by showing older adults lacked both the skill and the motivation to learn how to navigate social connectors. Contrary to this bleak look, CapTel reported that internet usage among the elderly has rapidly increased over the years, including 43% of those aged 65 and older are actively engaged in social media networks like Facebook.

    Within the 591 participants of the social technology study, 11 subgroups, ranging from 211 to 366 participants, were formed to assess attitudes toward technology. Nine groups answered a single yes or no question. The remaining two groups, rating overall satisfaction and overall difficulty of technology, ranked on a four choice scale. The study found that the majority of older adults felt that social technology saves time, offers flexibility in communication, is easy to use, is easily available, and is something they now consider a necessity. Compared to the majority who gave positive feedback, only about half the participants recognized social technology can be too expensive, too complicated, too hard to learn, too difficult to keep up with, and take too much time to learn.

    The two scaled questions had positive results as well. The first question tested the participants' overall satisfaction with technology. Participants could choose which out of the following four choices best described their overall satisfaction: very satisfied, somewhat satisfied, not very satisfied, not satisfied at all. Very satisfied had the largest response, but 95.6% of respondents indicated they were at the very least somewhat satisfied with technology. The second question tested the same way for overall difficulty participants had with technology. Most found technology to be not very difficult, and overall, 77.2% of the participants did not experience a significant amount of difficulty when using technology.

Loneliness related social technology use to health and well-being in older adults.

     Once the link between social technology and the health of older adults was established, the results were re-examined to test if technology use also reduced loneliness. They found that technology use was significantly associated with loneliness, such that technology use predicted lower loneliness, which then predicted better mental and physical health. Therefore, social technology reduces loneliness, which in turn leads to better subjective health, less chronic illness, and less depression. The observation that social technology confers health benefits through decreases in loneliness is consistent with various literatures on technology use and health among older adults.

    Another study, published in the Journal of Internal Medicine found that loneliness is a common source of distress, suffering, and impaired quality of life in older persons. It was a predictor of functional decline and death among other health detriments. The current study re-establishes this connection and relates social technology use to loneliness. More than just an improvement of physical conditions, social technology provides a psychological mechanism through which technology can improve not only mental health, but the lives of older adults.

Social relationships supported by email, social networks, online video calls, online chatting, and smartphone use reduce stress and depression.

     Primarily, social technology keeps older adults engaged with life, mentally and physically. While there will be evident long term effects, their willingness to engage in social technology is already producing positive results. On a practical level, social relationships reduce stress and depression, enhancing physical health. It also has indirect positive influences. For example, individuals in older adults' social networks have the ability to persuade them to adhere to medical treatments, leading to faster recovery after an illness. Social technology, whether a positive or negative influence on young people, is benefitting older adults everyday.

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

Source: http://asianjournal.com/news/files/2015/03/Snapchat.jpg
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.

Though Snapchat has been praised for its light-hearted atmosphere and convenience, it has also been scrutinized for its lack of security and vulnerability. Yet, at least 70% of adults aged 18 to 34 continue to post on Snapchat at least once a day. So, if the videos, pictures, and other messages users send and receive can be accessed by virtually anyone, then why do most individuals still use the application with little to no hesitation?

Temporary messaging systems are popular because of a false sense of privacy 

A study conducted by Dr. Waddell of the University of Florida found that ephemeral, or short term, messaging systems are increasing in popularity because of the perceived privacy they provide. After interviewing 22 adults between the ages of 18 and 22, the general consensus was that the privacy settings that accompany temporary messaging systems such as Snapchat makes them as users more comfortable to share their content with their friends and family.

The privacy settings that Snapchat provides includes stories consisting of photos, videos, and chats that will automatically "disappear" after 24 hours. Also, the social network has other privacy features such as allowing users to block other individuals, allowing users to hand pick who they want to view their story, and allowing users to decide who can send them content on Snapchat.

Dr. Waddell found that these features boost the users' confidence concerning the privacy of their shared media. In other words, the satisfaction users get from using Snapchat outweighs the concern for the possible risk of their content being shared with someone other than the original receiver.

Interviews with young adults identifies personal pleasures gained from using Snapchat 

The purpose of Dr. Waddell's research was to figure out what gratifications, or self pleasures, motivate young adults to use Snapchat. To asses this, Dr. Waddell questioned each of the 22 young adults individually for no more than 30 minutes.

He found that the self-pleasure young adults experienced from using Snapchat came from three sources: the ability to maintain privacy (or to believe this is being done), the ability to express themselves freely, and the ability to create a sense of community.

Participants resonated with the idea that they are able to express themselves however they want on snapchat, knowing that the 10 second long picture or video will "disappear" after the allotted time. Also, participants appreciated the connection Snapchat helps its users to create with friends and family that they can't interact with face to face on a daily basis.

Individuals continue to use snapchat even though it may not provide complete privacy 

Many participants in Dr. Waddell's study admitted to believing that Snapchat isn't as private as it markets itself to be. While completing the interview, some of the young adults still felt skeptical about their shared content actually "disappearing."

Most of the participants believed that no matter what privacy settings Snapchat has put in place, their information could still be retrieved. Also, the skeptical participants were the ones who admitted to being more censored about the photos, videos, and chats that they send to their friends and family. Yet, even when considering the risks of their content being retrieved, none of students stopped using the application completely.

The graph to the right depicts how young adults between the ages of 18 and 22 interact with Snapchat. As shown, the primary reason for their use of Snapchat is communication. So, even though their privacy could be invaded, young adults believe that being able to communicate with friends and family in a fun way is more important, primarily because it creates a sense of community for them.

Snapchat has proven to be beneficial for higher education

With the primary Snapchat users being between the ages of 16 and 25, educators are finding new and innovative was to incorporate this messaging system into their lesson plans. Snapchat's popularity is only increasing among millennials, making it hard for educators to grasp their students' attention while in the classroom.

Professors who have adopted the "if you can't be them, join them" attitude about Snapchat have decided to take snaps (photos/videos) of what they're teaching or going to teach in class. They have even resorted to trying to find real life examples of their lessons to make the snaps more engaging and relatable. Most educators found that [for them] using Snapchat was a big adjustment, but a necessary one to help their students succeed.

College students who have used Snapchat for educational purposes agree that the app has helped them boost their grades and be more productive in class. They found that the personalization their professors incorporated into the snaps they posted helped make learning the class content more efficient and enjoyable.

With new apps being created everyday, who knows how much longer Snapchat will be around. But, for now, the app remains one of the top forms of temporary photograph-based communication among millennials, and shows no signs of slowing down.

58 Virtual Reality's Treatment of Body Anxiety Disorders Highlights its Exponential Growth

Source: theatlantic.com
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.

Gamers Are Not the Only Ones to Take Advantage of Virtual Reality as Doctors, Educators, and Other Professionals Depend on it as Well

Even with the blazing fast growth rates of video games, Goldman Sachs reports that the VR marketshare of engineering, healthcare, military, and education will be $11.9 billion in 2025, compared to $11.6 billion for video games and entertainment. The future of VR is bright, but it also certainly has a place in everyday society today in many interdisciplinary fields.

Some of these incredible examples are literally out of this world; NASA has developed a robotic arm that can be controlled using virtual reality. It keeps the astronauts safe inside while maintaining impressive accuracy and precision. The US military is also a big proponent on VR, as soldiers are trained for field combat using VR headsets. Another example is in the education sector. Virtual museums, labs, and classrooms are currently being used on a relatively large scale.

All of these innovations are getting people excited, as evidenced by Michael. Michael is a lawyer in Baltimore, and he has to stay on the cutting edge as the law is constantly changing and evolving. It is obviously widely known that VR is associated with video games, but as Michael says "it can revolutionize the medical field,". 

Body Anxiety Disorders can be Treated by Changing the Lasting Memory of Your Body

Body anxiety disorders, as well as any other disorders that have to do with body image occur in a certain part of our brains. This is where the enduring memory of the body is stored, and it is called "allocentric memory". The allocentric memory of patients with no body image disorders is true to the actual size of their body, while the allocentric memory of patients that suffer from body image disorders is distorted.

The hypothesis that a change in allocentric memory can possibly treat body anxiety disorders is called Allocentric Lock Theory. This is so important because a treatment in body anxiety disorders via this theory would subsequently curb eating disorders as well. Previously, VR was used to simulate therapy sessions for those with anxiety disorders, with some studies even referencing the Allocentric Lock Theory. However, these studies had limited success and the improvement experienced was only temporary.

Virtual Reality Influences the Perception of Your Body, Even After the Headset is Off

A study published in the Journal of Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking is the first to attempt to change the allocentric memory of patients using VR. The researchers have stated that this could potentially be the first permanent solution to body anxiety disorders and could also be one of the most affordable.

The study gathered data from 21 female participants who were all enrolled at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan. Their mean age was 22.76 years and their mean Body Mass Index (BMI) was 21.36. The participants voluntarily signed up for the study, and had varying results on a test measuring their predisposition to having a body anxiety disorder.

Source: Journal of Cyberpsychology
The participants' body parts were measured in the beginning of the study using a touch-less body scanner, and they gave their own body size estimates soon after. These estimates were self-reported by measuring the farthest left and right parts of each body part on a wooden backboard. This step basically acts as the participants' existing allocentric memory of their body. The subject would then put on a VR headset, and experience the Virtual Belly Illusion, pictured on the right. This gave the user a thinner abdomen and waist as well as slim hips and shoulders. Finally, the subject took off the headset and estimated their body size with the exact same method as before.

Source: Daniel Shats
The data was collected by analyzing the ratios of the subjects' body parts with their actual size measurements collected in the beginning of the experiment. Therefore, a ratio of 0.7 would be 70% the size of the actual measurement. The ratio of body part sizes ended up being statistically significant in over half of the measurements which yielded promising results. The participants legitimately experienced their body parts as being smaller and more appealing through the process of modifying allocentric memory in a VR setting. The full study with a further analysis can be found here.

The Potential Treatment of Body Anxiety Disorders is Cheaper, Easier, and More Effective with Virtual Reality

The results of the study are incredibly promising for researchers, VR companies, and sufferers of body anxiety disorders. VR, while still expensive, is rapidly dropping in price and is still monumentally cheaper than true medical treatment at a hospital or health center. It is also incredibly effective; one treatment in the study took less than 30 minutes and provided significant results.

It is now understood that the future of medicine will inevitably have VR in it, as will engineering, education, entertainment and other disciplines. The study mentioned above highlighted a use of VR that is extremely unique and cannot be recreated by many other technologies. This is why we should welcome this innovation as a potential solution to many of today's pressing issues.

18 Social media sites like Facebook can be trusted in a crisis situation but the information source has to be credible

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. 
While it remains debatable whether the embargo helped in containing violence and ensuring flow of credible information, the case in point illustrates the influence social networking sites wield on people's lives, particularly in crisis situations.

                                                                                             (video credit: INDIA TODAY TV)


Public property was burnt down during violence. (Photo credit: Bangla Tribune) 

Social media is like a double-edged sword due to the trust it enjoys among users, thereby lending it the potential for being misused during social strife.

Senior Haryana state police official, Shatrujeet Kapoor who monitored the law and order situation during the violent agitation is of the view that social media is like a double-edged sword. “It has a potential of being misused,” he says. Asked whether shutting down internet services on mobile devices helped the situation, he says that during a law and order situation, rumor mongering and spread of misinformation is common. “We had shut down internet services on mobile devices to ensure that pictures are not shared on social networking sites and transmission of messages in bulk from mobile applications such as Whatsapp gets restricted. This definitely helped in containing the spread of rumors,” he says.
A civil administration official who monitored the situation says that there was another reason for shutting down internet services. 
“There is a high level of trust associated with social networking sites. People easily believe the content floating on social media, including Whatsapp, without realizing that many of the graphic content is morphed or engineered. And the administration does not have a strong presence on social media to counter misinformation or propaganda,” the officer says.
Essentially, both officers point to the fact that there is considerable trust in social media among people, even during crisis situations.

Read: Social media often inflame complex crisis situations

Did the blocking of internet service by the cops helped ?  (Pix credit: Manoj Dhaka/HT )

Army was called in after the state govt failed to control the rioters.  (Pix credit: Manoj Dhaka/HT)

European study shows that users trust Facebook during crisis situations

A January 2016 study conducted by the Department of Health and Prevention, University of Greifswald, Germany, “Trusting Facebook in Crisis Situations: The Role of General Use and General Trust Toward Facebook”, has found that participants’ general trust toward Facebook (FB) as a medium predicted to a significant degree how much they would trust the Facebook in a crisis situation.  
The general use of FB and dispositional trust were also significantly associated with trust toward FB in a crisis situation. A sample of 340 European FB users was questioned as part of a large study on social media in the context of emergency situations. The study found that the important concept of trust has been rather neglected in the research on social media. Although there was a considerable amount of research on online trust in general, little has been done in the area of social media. As a situation of risk is necessary for trust, the perceived trustworthiness of Facebook in crisis situation was examined in this study.

Explaining the study:

For predicting the trust in Facebook in a crisis situation the European research took into account the following predictor variables – Age, General use of FB, Dispositional Trust, Trust in FB as a communication channel.
Initially only Age factor was taken into consideration for predicting the Trust in FB in a crisis. This model was able to explain 4.4% of the total trust in FB in a crisis.
Later on General use of FB was examined and added into this model. This led to an increase of 4.4% in the model’s overall ability to explain trust in FB in a crisis leading to an overall value of 8.8%
Next, dispositional trust was examined and added, leading to an increase of 3.5%. The overall model now could explain 12.3% of the Trust in FB in a crisis situation.
Finally Trust in FB as a communication channel was added to the model. This led to an increase of 11.8% in the model’s ability to explain trust in FB in a crisis. The overall ability of the model now becomes 24.1%. 

Findings of the study

Ø The overall regression model explained about 24 % of variance.

Ø As one would expect, trusting Facebook in a crisis situation depends on more than general use of this medium, dispositional trust, and trust toward Facebook in general.

Ø For instance, one could assume that personal experience with crisis situations or risk perception also affects perceived trustworthiness.

More research needed on the trustworthiness of social networking sites to find out the actual influence of information delivered.

One limitation of the European study is the fact that the presented situation was hypothetical and rather abstract. More experimental research is needed to explore the actual influence of information delivery through social media. Also, the measure for the general use of Facebook in this study was based on a subjective self-evaluation, rather than an objective measure. Future research should obtain objective measures concerning individual usage patterns on social media platforms.
Lily Ciric Hoffmann, an award-winning digital media producer and a social media editor at University of Maryland, says that social media can be trusted during crisis situations but only if the source of the information is credible (see video).

Understanding and acting upon the advantages and disadvantages of social media during a disaster can be a matter of life and death. 

David Kalson, an expert in crisis management says that the goal for any organization experiencing a crisis that affects the public is to integrate social media with traditional communications channels. The two platforms must be mutually supportive in their messaging and responses to the public, he says in his September 2015 write-up on preparedex.com, a crisis, emergency and security management company.

Kalson says that during a natural disaster, understanding and acting upon both the advantages as well as disadvantages of social media can literally be a matter of life and death.

“When a crisis such as a natural disaster affects the public, social media, most notably Twitter and Facebook, will always come into play. While social media is an increasingly vital aspect of crisis communication, it usually does not exist on its own. Social media supplements and enhances other, more traditional communications, whether it’s a siren alert or a TV news broadcast,” Kalson says.

Here are some advantages and disadvantages of social media in crisis communication that Kalson emphasized upon in his 2015 write-up. 


Before a disaster affecting the public strikes, social media provides organizations with a powerful tool for building trust among people who use social media by developing constructive dialogues in social media communities. 

Regular monitoring of social media can help serve as an early warning system for helping first responders identify pending disasters. 

Social media also provides another way to assess recovery progress in the wake of a disaster. 


Unauthorized or inept use of social media platforms by an organization’s personnel could be damaging to its credibility and the ability to earn trust.

Many segments of the public such as the elderly and infirm, economically disadvantaged, and non-English speakers do not typically use social media. Other communications channels like door-to-door personal meetings may be necessary in such case.

Information gathered from social media users may be inaccurate.

People’s views on disaster and the response to it could be erroneous. 

Read : 6 Social Media “Musts” for Crisis Communication

Rahul Bahadur, a student of Information Management at University of Maryland says that he would rather trust the information on social media than the traditional media in a crisis situation. (see video)

During crisis, citizens often trust information provided by the government as they expect the crisis communication of the government to be reliable, open, honest and rapid, says Dutch study.

According to a study undertaken by Joel Velthorst of the University of Twente in Netherlands in June 2015, during a crisis, the public is informed about a crisis via social networks earlier than by traditional forms of news communication. 
Velthorst’s report, “Framing Public Crisis Responses, A Study on the Effects of News Frames in the Social-Mediated Crisis Communication of the Local Government”,says that where social media defines a crisis as a revolution right from the beginning, other media are not as quick in defining situations and recognizing events. Because of the fast and rapid character of social media, the press and government lose their autonomy in providing news and information during crises. Although the government and its organizations are just one of the available sources for information during a crisis situation, the government retains its task to inform the population of citizens in her region and/or country in crisis situations. 
However, it appears that during a crisis, citizens tend to rely more on information that is provided by the government on social media than on information from citizens. Citizens expect the crisis communication of the government to be reliable, open, honest and rapid. Besides that, they expect it to be consistent with their need for information. The main reason for the government to use social media in managing crisis, is the fact that its stakeholders are already using them to communicate about it. Furthermore, the government should be present on social media, otherwise it would possibly lose contact and feeling with its citizens. As a result, the government would be no longer aware of what motivates and moves its citizens. 

Timely information by government during crisis situations prevents false theories and rumors

Velthorst’s report says that via social media, the government can exchange and compare information during a crisis, which enables it to react faster and better, and to provide help in the right time and place. Timely information during crisis situations prevents false theories and rumors. 
In case of rumors, the possibility of two-way communication allows the government to undertake action against any rumors. However, the current situation is that the government has to make better and more use of social media during a crisis. The local government does not have a full understanding of how these can assist and support it in managing a crisis situation.