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Literature Review


Literature Review
Rene De Pablo
University of Texas at El Paso
English 1312



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Literature Review
Abstract: Social media networks have grown a lot in popularity from the 20
th
century to
the 21
st
century. The three questions that will be answered in this essay will be: Has social media
been linked to any health related issues? Have there been any negative reports related to changes
caused by social media use? Are there arguments that suggest any physiological health benefits
from social media use?
Social media networking is still a fairly new topic of study. Not many studies have been
conducted over the use of social media networks. This essay will be focusing on health related
issues linked to social media networks. The will start off with an interview conducted at the
University of Texas at El Paso, followed by three questions that are very similar to one another.
Both the negative and positive views of social media use will be covered through-ought the
essay.
A phone interview was conducted with Professor Andrew C. Kennis of the University of
Texas at El Paso (Rene De Pablo, 2014). Professor Kennis answered a series of six questions that
were over the physical and mental health issues of social media. The first question that was
asked was if there were was any evidence of any physical health related issues linked with social
media networking. Professor Kennis answered that it was very possible, but social media
networking is still relatively new to studies. The second question that was asked was, if there has
been any negative effects reported caused by social media use. Professor Kennis answered that
the only knowledge that he has gathered was that he has observed many people get depressed
due to the overuse of social media networks. As a result people get depressed because they are
not interacting in a face to face conversation. The third question that was asked was if there were
any reports linked to social media networks that had psychological benefits. Professor Kennis
answered that he has noted people getting help from these networks. For example, like people
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Literature Review
that have trouble speaking in public can have a conversation in these networks without any social
awkwardness. The fourth question
asked was what experts thought of
social media networks addictive
use. Professor Kennis responded
that social media is very addictive
unlike drugs but like TV behaviors.
Anything that is used to an
excessive amount can be bad for
you he explained. People from the ages of 25 to 35 seem to use social media networks more like
T.V. watching of the recent past. During the 80s, many people used TV too keep in touch with
one another very similar to people who use social media networks today. The fifth question
asked was what age groups used social media the most. Professor Kennis said it is not an age
thing rather, more of a generational thing. As you advance in generations you get different trends
of communication being used, for instance in the 80s TV was the social media networking of
todays generation. The final question asked to professor Kennis was if there have been any
reports of suicide that were linked to social media use. Professor Kennis answered, no stated
incidents to social media only embarrassment it may have been linked to it, but no deaths.
The average social media user checks their account on a daily basis many times a day for
several hours a day. Many physiological health risks are caused if social media websites are
being used as often as they do. Scrolling through your social med ia friends wall is very
tempting to many people. Everyone has that ideal picture they want to post as their profile
picture by making an image of themselves, but what many do not realize is that this may cause a
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Literature Review
lack of self-confidence to others by posting these pictures. It may add anxiety to look beautiful
all the time, because every picture that is uploaded is a perfect picture of the users friend.
Researchers in Berlin have confirmed that this trend of looking at other peoples walls causes
envy toward others and even sometimes loneliness (Spry Living, September 19, 2013) . Another
recent study of American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgerys board
certified plastic surgeons found that a high increase of surgerys have been linked to a social
media photo uploaded by the users friend or a picture her/he saw on the social media network
(Spry Living, September 19, 2013). Checking those messages or likes on your social media site
can be addicting sometimes very hard to ignore. In the University of Winchester studies were
done on a number of frequent users and were asked to not use their accounts for several weeks
(Spry Living, September 19, 2013). The frequent users they conducted studies on reported that
they felt isolated from their friends and family.
Productivity can be affected by social media as well. The brain can only focus on one
thing at a time if you put focus toward work, or chores and social media your brain will not be
able to do both. This means that you are setting aside the more important tasks of the day till the
very end. Excessive social media use can distract a person from what is going on around them.
Because of this it can be said that social media distracts you from being present in your own real
life. Social phobias can be created due to social media, because tagging someone on a post or
saying happy birthday to someone face to face is completely different. (FOMO) is an actual
phenomenon meaning Fear of Missing Out. This type of fear will keep a user to social media
glued to the computer, in fear of missing out on something important going on with her/his
friends. Many people who are addicted to social media find it hard to enjoy time alone for
them, because they are never alone. Getting constant attention on these social media sites can
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Literature Review
cause a person to never be alone, and they seek comfort on these websites expressing their
feelings to others to get the attention needed.
Although schools have been enforcing their zero tolerance toward bullying at school
cyber bullying is a big problem among teens. The sad part is that our effort in stopping teens
from bullying each other has backfired once again. The most recent event was Rebecca Sedwick,
of Lakeland, Florida, who jumped from a cement tower in September 9
th
, 2013 (Sam Fiorella,
10/18/2013). Only two girls were arrested for bullying Rebecca Sedwick, but authorities say that
Rebecca was being bullied by 15 other girls both physically and online. A message was posted
on Rebeccas wall that read drink bleach and die (Sam Fiorella, 10/18/2013). Rebeccas
mom immediately closed her Facebook account and moved her to another school, but the cyber
bullying did not stop there thanks to social media. No matter how much effort is put into raising
awareness into bullying bullies will find a new way to channel their aggression toward others.
Another problem social media networks have is that they allow users to create anonymous
profiles. Parents have tried deleting their childs profile and force them to make a new profile,
but bullies find a way to re add them using a fake profile. Shea Shawhan, 18, a junior at Plano
West Senior High School, has suffered from seizers since an early age (Sam Fiorella,
10/18/2013). Shea Shawhan is also bullied by her classmates at her school sending texts to her
phone telling her she should have a seizure and die, because no one in school likes her. Sheas
mom noticed her texts and she alerted the authorities. Then, Sheas mom changed Sheas phone
number not even that helped classmates would keep texting her mean things to her new phone
number. Sheas mom strated to attend school with Shea, but not even that helped, because her
classmates would still get a hold of her new cell phone number.
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Literature Review
Teens are not the only ones to blame for bullying other teens it is the parents fault as well
for not monitoring their childs social media sites. In most cases involving cyber bullying the
parents deny that their child may be a potential bully. The father of one of the girls that was
accused of bullying was interviewed and said none of it is true my daughter is a good girl and
Im 100 percent sure that whatever they are saying about my daughter is not true (Sam Fiorella,
10/18/2013). If parents give their child authority to have their own social media site, then they
should also have the power to monitor it.
According to experts like Dr. Laura Schlessinger, social media networking and cyber
technology are having a negative effect on family structure (Examiner, October 18, 2009). Dr.
Laura believes that many intimate interactions have decreased in families. Dr. Laura also
believes that teens growing up today are most affected. Allowing cyber relationship to take over
their lives instead of having a face to face interaction with family is bad. Other experts believe
that cyber technology is hindering the ability of teens to social skills, and interact in face to face
conversations. Families are spending too much time using the internet that it takes the special
bond of intimate interactions with the people closest to them away. According to Dr. Richard G.
Jones Facebook has changed our view of a friend (Dr. Richard G. Jones, Jr., May 12, 2013).
When someone adds you on Facebook and you become friends on Facebook it does not mean
you will have a close connection with that person adding you. Research has shown that people
dont regularly accept a random friend request on Facebook; they have to at least have met the
person in real life at least once. Friend collecting behavior is a trend most adolescents have;
they add many people they do not know or have met in real life with. By having as much
friends as possible it makes the user him or her appear more popular to others.
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The more time people spend time on social media networks such as Facebook,
WhatsApp, Snap Chat, and etc, the more they become detached from people around them.
Intimate relationships have been threatened by spending too much time on these social media
networks. An example of this could be John Chakas and Annah Veras marriage (Rabson
Woodwell, November 10, 2013). John explains how he and his wife Annah fought over a post he
had put that read yap you look nice esh! He stated that his relationship was in danger with her
because of this comment he posted, but got the relationship back on track. Demetrio Banda of
Zomba, a family advisor and a Catholic philosopher, says while many people do not take their
Facebook conversations seriously, they can have a negative impact on private lives when loved
ones read them (Rabson Woodwell, November 10, 2013). Banda advices to tell your friends
that you are in a relationship or married so they will be cautious not to mess with your
relationship. Kennedy Mucho, an internet communications expert based in Lilongwe, advises
people to limit time spent on Facebook (Rabson Woodwell, November 10, 2013). He said this
will reduce problems from arising, because social networking has the power to change peoples
interest in others. Children are failing to learn from their parents experiences due to social media
networking. Due to misuse of these social media networks, Living Waters Church pastor Sadiki
Sarwaki believes that by reducing time spent on these networks relationships may last longer
(Rabson Woodwell, November 10, 2013).
Health related benefits have been linked with social media usage. According to a study
published in the June issue of the American Journal of Infection Control, the official publication
of Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (Spry Living, September
19, 2013). Researchers from the University of Texas at Austin analyzed many tweets on
Twitter over a potential childs malaria vaccine, and development of the NeuVax E-75 vaccine
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for breast cancer. Researchers found that Twitter users also share reputable information and
sources. This sharing of useful information on Twitter is creating a new definition for spending
quality time on social media networks. Facebook users like Christina Taylor have learned how
to loose weight through the use of Facebook. Christina Taylor weighed 380 pounds and lost 180
by using a Facebook page that forced her to keep up with good fitness and eating habits (Spry
Living, September 19, 2013). Christina took her positive experience through Facebook and
launched her own weight loss couching business Christina Taylor Health & Fitness Training
Studio. Because of pages on Facebook like the one Christina found it has made it easier for
people without a budget for a gym to be able to workout at home or at work. Doctors have also
taken advantage of social media networks to get across to more patients than ever before. Social
media platforms are changing our health nuanced, but profoundly important ways. They open us
to more experts and informed sources than ever before. Social media also provides opportunities
to develop relationships around health issues, and these relationships can build social and
informational support essential to better health says Dr. Love (Spry Living, September 19,
2013).
Social media has helped build a strong social interaction for new moms, elderly people,
and people with chronic illness or disabilities. Australian researchers recently examined social
medias potential for isolation in people aged 80-90 years of age (Womens Health Queensland
Wide, September 2012). Mental and physical health concerns for elderly people have become a
big concern. Many elderly people have the absence of friends and family due to health related
issues or deaths. The study a group of participants they were asked to exchange photographs and
messages. After ten weeks of exchanging photographs and messages using an application the
participants felt less isolated. This created a bond between one another that made them feel like
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Literature Review
they belonged somewhere and it also helped with inclusion. Online social media sites also help
people who have trouble with having face to face interaction with other people. Children with
serious illnesses use social media networking as a tool in their everyday lives to spend time
connecting with their peers. Starlight Childrens Foundation established Livewire, the site is a
safe online space where members can connect, share experiences and interact (Womens Health
Queensland Wide, September 2012). The website is monitored by doctors and they have
information about particular conditions, the patients may have. Research shows that children that
use the website have more social support, and have more of a sense of belonging to a community
than children who dont use the website. The children who use the website have more specific
knowledge to their condition and reduced levels of loneliness and depression. Social media
websites also offer youth mental health services to people aged from 15-24. ReachOut.com is a
social networking website that offers a chat room and an information bank fact sheets, videos,
podcasts and interviews (Womens Health Queensland Wide, September 2012). Young people
can connect, share stories, and experiences they have had in the past and they share strategies for
overcoming their difficult situations in life. The user may also sign up to an SMS service that
gives them motivational messages and daily advice. The service helps build young peoples
confidence to vocalize their problems.
Social media networks are new to research topics. Not that many research experiments
have been conducted, because not a lot is known about the use of social media networking. The
essay covered topics over health related issues linked to social media networking. Three
questions were answered in detail in the essay along with an interview conducted at the
University of Texas at El Paso. Both the negative and positive views of social media use were
covered through-ought the essay.
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Literature Review


References:
Activebeat (2013) Activebeat Retrieved from: http://www.activebeat.com/health-news/8-
ways-social-media-negatively-affects-mental-health/
Spryliving (2013) Spryliving Retrieved from: http://spryliving.com/articles/how-is-social-
media-affecting-our-health/
Huffington Post (2013) Huffington Post Retrieved from:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sam-fiorella/cyber-bullying-social-media-and-parental-
responsibility_b_4112802.html
Examiner (2009) Examiner Retrieved from: http://www.examiner.com/article/social-
networking-sites-and-the-effects-on-family-interaction
Richard G. Jones, Jr. (2013) Richard G. Jones, Jr. Retrieved from:
http://www.richardgjonesjr.com/blog/2013/5/12/how-does-social-media-affect-our-relationships-
interpersonal-9.html
The Nation (2013) The Nation Retrieved from: http://mwnation.com/social-network-affects-
relationships/
Womens Health Queensland Wide Inc. (2012) Womens Health Queensland Wide Inc.
Retrieved from: http://www.womhealth.org.au/healthy-lifestyle/191-health-benefits-of-social-
media
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Literature Review
Curiosity/Discovery (2013) Curiosity/Discovery Retrieved from:
http://curiosity.discovery.com/question/what-makes-networking-sites-addictive
ComScore (2012) ComScore Retrieved from: http://www.smartinsights.com/wp-
content/uploads/2013/02/UK-Social-Media-use-2013.png