Mar 17

Power of Academics

I have only lived through the educational system one time, and that has just been through my personal experience going to school as an only child. However, relating back directly to social psychology, it is interesting to observe different motivational drives and ambition (or lack of) that different friends in my friend group had compared to one another.

Specifically, one of my best friends growing up was known to be very intelligent. She seemed to study very hard for any exam or quiz; similarly, always getting phenomenal grades. Even when she wasn’t studying as much as other friends of hers would, she still would achieve some of the highest grades in her class. A vivid memory I have of her is when we both were in the 3rd grade, had just received our scores from the spelling exam the week prior, and she was crying next to the side of our classroom outside. I ran up to her and asked her what the matter was, and she refused to tell me what was going on. I begged her to let me know why she was so upset, and she simply handed me back her graded spelling exam – she received a 17/20. I asked her why that upset her, as a B was a good grade and something to be excited about. She was sobbing so much that she could barely breathe, and she said it was one of the worst grades she had ever received. This situation seemed to greatly devalue my friend’s academic self-concept. Meaning, her views on her own success and abilities seemed to be threatened, hurt or somehow misaligned from how she previously viewed herself (Schneider & Gruman, 2012). Her self-confidence and self-esteem had been substantially depleted because of her results; amplifying the pressure she felt to do better on her next go around. In that moment, I wondered why she put so much pressure on herself to achieve flawless grades. As time continued, her behavior relating to schoolwork stayed similar. She always had about a 3.90 GPA, and went on to attend UC Berkeley and received a B.S. in Anthropology. Though we grew up four streets away from each other and attended identical elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools, our “social norms” or expectations were surprisingly very different.

This reminds me of the theory of planned behavior, drawing back to influences from (a) personal attitudes, (b) subjective norms and (c) a person’s intentions to behave in a certain fashion. My friend had adhered to having attitudes that required flawless grades, participation, and attendance (and were even present in elementary school). Though subjective norms are typically looked at on a more collective scale, I think that familial contributions would fall into this category. The pressure that my friend faced to do well in school, since both of her brothers suffered from learning disabilities, more than likely amplified the pressure she felt to succeed and live up to the dreams her mother had wanted for her.

It’s interesting to see how much of someone’s self-concept and self-esteem is composed of educational background and academic success. In our society, and as many people state, “a bachelor’s degree is the new high school diploma,” and “a master’s degree is the new bachelor’s degree.” Meaning, the pressures many face to succeed and do well have become increasingly high, with educational fundamentals that have sometimes decreased substantially. This is because, as some have theorized, the public school system has deprecated in value so much that special education (gaining a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and so fourth) is the only way to meet the needs and demands of employers these days (Farrington, 2014). The real world pressures that attaining good grades, gaining acceptance into highly ranked schools, and relative job-experience are at an all time high. If someone lacks the means to deliver on any of these fronts (by not having enough money, time, or other obligations), their quality of life could drop for reasons they haven’t even contributed to. This can lead to further issues of self-handicapping, and essentially finding more reasons to tell oneself that they are already “not good enough” or ill-equipped to manage the current circumstances (Schneider & Gruman, 2012).

Though it’s much easier said than done, I think that the major lessons I have learned from academia is the power that academia has in and of itself. I think that children, adolescents, and young adults should all be taught to (as part of course requirements) keep a manageable outlook on who they are aside from what any profession or occupation would require them to be. School should teach more than just what it takes to get a job, but how to also build confidence and give praise in kids being themselves and prioritizing being themselves over the perfect employee for a job prospect. As also understood from this week’s lessons, the power that compassionate, driven and aware teachers have on helping children access themselves and nurture their talents makes all the difference.


Farrington, R. (2014, September 29). A College Degree Is The New High School Diploma. In www.forbes.com. Retrieved March 24, 2017.

Schneider, F. W., Gruman, J. A., & Coutts, L. M. (Eds.). (2012). Applied Social Psychology (Second ed., pp. 209-215). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Mar 17

Using Interventions to Improve Education

Social Psychology Theories Applied to the Classroom

There are many aspects of social psychology that apply to the classroom. Some apply to how we think about others and some apply to how we think about ourselves. When thinking about others, one cognitive error is the fundamental attribution error, which can effect students and teachers alike. Belief perseverance can also effect peer relationships and relationships between teacher and student. Social categorization is another psychological phenomena that is often observed within the education system. In regards to the way we think about ourselves, errors in self-perceptions lead to self-handicapping, self-serving bias and the overjustification effect. Understanding how these theories apply to the education system and the effect they have on student and teacher performance can help social psychologists develop educational interventions (Schneider, Gruman & Coutts, 2012).

Small interventions = Big results!

Research has found that even small interventions in an educational environment can have big effects. That is to say that even a small change in a student’s way of perceiving their social environment can lead to large academic gains. These interventions are not academic in nature rather they target “thoughts, feelings and beliefs in and about school”.  There are three things that are needed for a student to learn: content, a place to learn, a teacher. These factors interact in complex ways to shape a student’s view of himself and those around him. The education system has a lot of large issues but solving these issues do not require large solutions.

A “tension system” is an elaborate set of forces that surround every attitude or behavior. Some of these forces encourage this behavior and others restrain it. In the case of education, removing some of those restraining forces can produce a large change. However the correct positive forces have to first exist. The opportunity to learn and motivation to learn must be present when these restricting forces are removed. An example of restricting forces may be negative stereotypes or self-handicapping. The theory is that all of these barriers do not have to be removed. If even one small barrier is taken away the student is more likely to experience academic success (Yeager, Walton, 2011). In the next few sections we will look at examples of removing small barriers to create big changes.

Example Intervention

One example of a narrowly focused or “small” intervention was demonstrated by researchers in a 2010 study (Kaplan, Assor). Rather than focus on a broad issue researchers focused on dialogue between teachers and students with the goal of changing student’s perceptions about their school environment. Researchers used a program that taught I-Thou dialogue to both teachers and students, training was provided in a 2 year program.  I – Thou dialogue is a concept pioneered by Martin Buber. Buber defines the I-Thou relationship as a person to person relationship where “the “I” relates authentically to the “Thou” and does not take advantage of the other for personal gain” (Kaplan, Assor, 2010). The program included theoretical learning, experiential and implementation components. Overall this program was found to have a positive effect on student’s perceptions of positive feelings within the classroom. At the conclusion of the study students perceived their teachers as more engaged and teachers reported their students as being more engaged. In other words, creating meaningful relationships between teacher and student caused both the teacher and student to feel more in control and engaged in their learning (Kaplan, Assor 2010).

Increasing student success and improving classroom dynamics can be even more difficult when one or more children in the classroom have a disability.

“Small Interventions”, Autism Spectrum Disorder and Bullying

Children with ASD have negative social interactions at a greater rate than their peers due to the underlying social deficits common to the disorder. Depending on the severity of the condition children may appear, to their peers, to either be a bit different or very different. A child with higher functioning ASD that is in a mainstream classroom may be able to cope with the social demands of a school setting. They may experience the occasional social situation where there is difficulty and may have more difficulty obtaining and maintaining friendships. To the untrained observer they may just seem “a little off”. This may actually increase the incidence of bullying because the child does not have a very obvious disability. On the other hand, children who are lower functioning will have even more difficulties navigating social situations, some with the most severe symptoms may be unwilling to interact with their peers at all. This can also create a lot of negative situations and bullying because the child is no longer a bit different, they are very different than their peers.

Social Skills groups can help to reduce bullying and increase prosocial behaviors. A 2015 study (Kasari et al. ) found that social skills groups are more effective when the group consists of non-disabled peers. The study also found benefits to the social skills group being at the child’s school and with the peers that they will be interacting with on a daily basis. Under these circumstances children with ASD were found to be able to translate more of what they learned to their classroom environment due to increased confidence interacting with trusted individuals.

So, an appropriate intervention to reduce bullying specifically in a classroom with one or two children with ASD would be to create a lesson plan that models a social skills group. Encouraging appropriate social interactions is key for both the child with ASD and the child without. The child with ASD will become more confident in his interactions with peers and the child without ASD will better understand their classmate. Some suggestions for materials could include role playing or the use of social stories. It would also be helpful for a trained personnel to observe and mediate interactions to ensure that appropriate interactions are being modeled. Peer assistance can also be a helpful strategy. This would include giving one or more children the “job” of helping their peer with ASD. This can be a very effective strategy if the peer without ASD is properly trained. It allows all participants to feel positive about the interaction. The “helper” feels good about helping and is less likely to bully the child with ASD and the child with ASD is making friends and receiving needed assistance.

Interventions such as these can improve the educational experience for all children involved. However, not every classroom needs this type of intervention or has a child with a disability. Most classrooms do contain children with many different cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. For this reason it is important to include diversity training in the curriculum starting as early as possible.

Diversity Training to reduce Stereotyping, Prejudice and Discrimination

On a classroom to classroom level, diversity training should be an essential part of the program. This can include simple activities that encourage acceptance of differences regardless of race, religion, sex etc. For an example of what this may look like, my 4 year old’s preschool classroom spent the entire month of February celebrating black history month. They read books about famous black inventors and other community figures, participated in a play, made a poster etc. The most important part of the black history month module in my opinion was celebration of teachers and peers who are black. We are often taught not to acknowledge or point out another parsons’ differences, It is important to talk about our differences and understand that it is something to be celebrated not something to be quiet about. Ideally a classroom curriculum would include other modules that include the same activities in regards to race, sex and disabilities. A program such as this could assist in reducing stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination in the classroom. If started at a young age and periodically reinforced, students will carry these lessons with them throughout their educational career and hopefully have a more positive learning experience as a whole.


Kasari, C., Dean, M., Kretzmann, M., Shih, W., Orlich, F., Whitney, R., Landa, R., Lord, C. and King, B. (2016), Children with autism spectrum disorder and social skills groups at school: a randomized trial comparing intervention approach and peer composition. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 57: 171–179. doi:10.1111/jcpp.12460

Kaplan, H., & Assor, A. (2012). Enhancing autonomy-supportive I-thou dialogue in schools: Conceptualization and socio-emotional effects of an intervention program. Social Psychology of Education : An International Journal, 15(2), 251-269. doi:http://dx.doi.org.ezaccess.libraries.psu.edu/10.1007/s11218-012-9178-2

Schneider, F. W., Gruman, J. A. & Coutts, L. M. (2012). Applied Social Psychology. 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA SAGE Productions, Inc.

Volkmar, F., & Rhea. (2014). Handbook of autism and pervasive developmental disorders (1st ed.). John Wiley & Sons, Inc.,.

Yeager, D., Walton, G. (2011). Social-Psychological Interventions in Education. Review of Educational Research, 81(2), 267-301. Doi:  10.3102/0034654311405999


Mar 17

Recipe for Success in Children

Quite often parents will say they want the world or life to be better for their children than it was for themselves. So how do we create a better happier life in our children now? Children are highly impressionable as shown through Jane Elliott’s social experiment with discrimination based on eye color that she staged. In order for our children to have a healthy happy outlook on life we must consider several factors. Those factors are teacher interaction and influence, peer influence, and parenting style contribution.

Teacher interaction is one of the most detrimental influences on our children’s young minds. They learn from observation and are highly impressionable. They seek approval and achievement by their mentors. A self-fulfilling prophecy is “having expectations about another person that influences how you perceive and behave toward that person” (Schneider, Gruman, Coutts, 2012, p.204). So if teachers have high expectations a child will want to perform better. One issue that can come into play is the variation of high achievers versus low achievers in the same class. It has been shown that the student’s capabilities are not indicative of their mental capabilities but more so the degree in which the teacher acknowledges and treats them differently as a result from their preconceived ideas about the student (Schneider, Gruman, Coutts, 2012). For example, a teacher may think the child is an above average student and then treats them with a warmer climate by giving them more attention through more feedback given, support through more opportunity to answer questions than others, and encouragement by providing more challenging work (Schneider, Gruman, Coutts, 2012, p. 204). I believe that while our children spend a large portion of their time with their teachers we as parents can have the same influence and encouragement that will help them to be achievers. If we are generally all starting on the same level then it only makes sense that parents can take on a greater role just by asking questions, helping as needed, and emotionally supporting their children they will more greatly excel. I am a mother of three- two boys and a girl ages 11, 8, and 7. My middle child/son has mild dyslexia and has proven to be influenced by my participation in helping him. By encouraging him, communicating with his teacher, and providing a warm climate for him to make strides toward his school work I have seen personally him excel. Not long ago, I was ill for about two weeks with the flu, had a close death in the family, and heavy school work load. With this came the inability to provide him with the support I mentioned before. This is where I believe the example of self-fulfilling prophecy comes into play. Without me there to give him support and express my higher interest/expectations his grades suffered. His teacher reached out to me since he went from straight As to Cs and Ds in the matter of 4 weeks. This is when I became aware of what effect proper parenting can have on a child. He needed me and needed that impression that not only he mattered but was capable of doing more through extra practice and awareness.

It is not to say that we as parents have the only influence on our children. Their peers spend even more time with them than their teachers. If you think about how they are with them during school and outside of school due to social interaction through sports, hanging out, and possibly events like birthdays and church it is easy to see this is true. I realize that we as parents cannot choose their friends for them, but I believe it is very important to encourage healthy relationships with those that help them and they can help academically. Peer- assisted learning is a class room based strategy that involves the students helping and teaching each other on a person to person basis (Schnieder, Gruman, Coutts, 2012). We are a family that likes to read. In doing so, I taught my daughter early on to read and we have enjoyed spending time together doing so. I can see her peer interaction helping both her and a friend she has in class. They have sat together and worked on the other girl’s reading skills and she has had remarkable improvement. Her mother actually mentioned to me the impact my daughter had on hers by just showing her it could be fun and they could do it together more so than her attempts. It makes sense though. If you want to have fun or achieve something don’t you talk to your friends first before your parents? Fortunately, we have fostered this great relationship as they enjoy each other’s company, are both kind, and her daughter has taught mine other skills like cartwheels (I am clumsy and could never have done this myself). So it goes to show that happy healthy helping kids make for great friends that help each other to be great skilled little people.

Parenting styles have changed considerably though the generations. The older baby boomer age expressed less discipline but more criticism while the newer millennial generation has offered the opposite (Suh, 2015). Personally I think the encouragement given by the newer generation is producing more mentally stable happy children. It reminds me of an old adage that the voice and words you give your children becomes their inner voice. This statement alone alludes to the influence we have on these young minds. So we should encourage them to be happy and make their mental health a priority with their academics. We must show them through our kind, positive behavior that social interaction can be a good thing and that making the right choices is still up to them so they may influence others.

Overall, we all strive for the best. We want to be successful parents and I personally know that I always question if I am doing it right. But by considering not only how we influence our children but how they influence others we can encourage behaviors that are more positive and less negative/aggressive. These are the moments we have to enjoy because before we know it they will be gone and all we will have are the memories of the life we are currently living.


Schneider, F. W., Gruman, J. A. & Coutts, L. M. (2012). Applied Social Psychology. 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA SAGE Productions, Inc.

Suh, M. (2015, December 14). Parenting styles across generations. Retrieved March 24, 2017, from http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2015/12/17/parenting-in-america/st_2015-12-17_parenting-36/

Mar 17

Education Experience Then and Now

How has education changed over the years, has it changed for the better or has it become an endless struggle to be better than others? I personally believe that the education system has improved although there are still some issues that have evolved to accommodate today’s society. For example, from what I remember when I was in grade school there was less pressure to be the best. Of course teachers and parents wanted the students to do their best but there wasn’t that sense of having to be the best in the class. Also attitudes and academic behavior has changed (Schneider et al, 2012). This I believe is because of all the technology now available. From personal observation I have seen students in the middle school setting lack interest in their education. There is a lot of negative perspectives regarding school and especially in the are of math. So much so that most students seem to completely give up trying to learn anything they deem hard. You would think because of all the technology available today it would be easier to find the answers. Those who have a negative perspective towards school have found that it will lead to poor performance in school (Schneider et al, 2012). This is considered self-handicapping which means that the students who fail to meet the requirements have an excuse ready for their incompetence or lack of effort (Schneider et al, 2012).

Student interaction with other students is also an issue that has changed over the years. For example, in my town the school system consists of Hispanic students and Caucasian students. Back in 2002-2005 there were tense situations that rose because of how certain individuals looked. Now I have seen less racial issues which is a great improvement. Unfortunately now the students are discriminating one another by their financial class. In my family we are not well off however we have enough to have a roof over our heads and have extra for what we want like going to Starbucks eating out and little things like that. In my area there are a lot of farm workers who have less then the normal family. Here is where the issue arose for my sister. My parents and I have always tough her to treat everyone the same regardless of race, religion , or financial stability. For that reason my sister has made many friends. There is a small group of female students that have been giving her a hard time and seem like they are mistreating her because she always has money to spend. Keep in mind that the reason she has money is because my parents give a few dollars on a weekly basis as well as my brother and I. So there is at least three incomes in our family and that is why she always has money for Starbucks or just to spend on any food related item. From what my sister has told me they seem to have an issue with her because of that reason. My family noticed that her grades have been dropping and I believe it is because of academic effects of peer interaction(Schneider et al, 2012). Meaning that because of the negative interactions she is have it has begun to affect her school work. We sat down with her and told her to just try to ignore there comments and proceed with her daily life with her friends. The more you pay attention to the instigating group the more they will try to rattle her. It worked after she ignored them for a few days they stopped harassing her.  Whether we like it or not peer interaction is very important for a student and for that reason it can benefit and destroy a student.

Schneider, F. W., Gruman, J. A. & Coutts, L. M. (2012). Applied Social Psychology. 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA SAGE Productions, Inc.

Mar 17

The Social Experiment: Education

Aside from your own home, starting at a very young age we are all exposed different kinds of social interactions through our educational experiences. Going to school and obtaining an education is very much a social process (Schneider, Gruman & Coutts, 2012). What social experiences are our kids really having at school though!? As a parent when you send your child to school, you expect your children to be learning such things as leadership skills, resolving conflicts, cooperation, maintaining friendships and developing positive self-concepts aside from gaining knowledge of course. What you don’t expect is for your child to come home sullen, confused on their homework when they typically do very well in the subject, and with a black eye!

This happened with my son. He is in fifth grade now and has typically been a very good student. His best and favorite subjects have been math and science. He is a little guy, usually the smallest boy in the class if not the smallest kid, but he has always had friends and is very outgoing during recess. Unfortunately though, the other week he came home with a black eye from receiving a “flying elbow” to the face. It happened at recess when he accidently bumped into a boy and the boy started beating on him. There were several (at least 3) teachers present but none “noticed” the fight. Unfortunately my son felt it was best not to report it to any teachers for fear of retaliation. However, he came to school that day with no black eye and had one by the end of the day and no teachers ever questioned him about it…it was largely ignored. Once I reported the incident the very next morning (which I was furious), my son was made to defend himself/his statements about what happened against the kid that did it and that kid’s friends and no punishment was given to the kid that beat my kid up….what kind of a lesson is that!?

My son has also been experiencing difficulties in his academics this year as well. In the very first marking period his math grade went from an “A” to a “D” and he has been struggling with math homework assignments ever since. I feel this is attributed to the teacher/student interaction, or lack thereof, that is taking place this year. And my son has been feeling a lot more disappointed with his educational experience this year. It has been very disappointing to see as a parent. We learned in our lesson readings this week that kids that experience social, behavioral and emotional difficulties in school are at a disadvantage for reaching their academic potential (Schneider, Gruman & Coutts, 2012). I am concerned that if these issues continue and are not addressed properly at my son’s school that he will fall into this category. I, as his mother, have been experiencing a huge lack of communication between his teachers and me (not by a lack of effort on my part), which I think also contributes to a negative outcome for his education. For me, this begs the question….what kind of social experiment has education become?


Schneider, F.W., Gruman, J.A. & Coutts, L.M. (2012). Applied Social Psychology (2nd ed.): Understanding and Addressing Social and Practical Problems. Thousand Oaks, CA. SAGE Publications, Inc.

Mar 17

Lesson 9-Influenced by the Media

Influenced by Media


In today’s times, we are exposed to so many things that can negatively impact what we do, the way we think, and how we act. Sometimes we subliminally pick up on behaviors from what we observe in the media and or entertainment industry.  Unknowingly, we often act out or portray certain actions or characteristics that we learn from observing what we see. There is a lot of violence and crime displayed in social media/internet, in the movies and in video games that are played by our youth. Being exposed to such content at such a continuous rate can have non-favorable effects on any individual.


One particular way of picking up bad habits that is often portrayed in our society is through vicarious learning. This type of learning involves engaging in a particular negative behavior because an individual sees one’s actions getting rewarded. (Gruman, J. A., Schneider, F. W., & Coutts, L. M. (2012) For instance, many of our youth often see rappers who are engaged in very illegal acts such as selling and doing drugs and/or engaging in very risqué behaviors in the media, and often wish to become like them. Kids cling to this type of behavior and lifestyle because they view it as being cool. They also see rappers making a lot of money and often times wish to model their behavior to attain the same infamous success.


The media and entertainment industry has the power to create thoughts of whatever’s intended. In addition, they somewhat have control over what issues are important or that we think about. (Gruman, J. A., Schneider, F. W., & Coutts, L. M. (2012) This is called agenda setting. We see this all throughout the media. When we see images of what the media believes is beauty or how one should look, this is a way for them to paint the image that “skinny is beautiful” or that you should be a certain skin color to feel pretty. In addition, the media has the power to instill fear and/or dependency. Our culture today is obsessed with what’s on the internet, what’s happening on social media, and the latest source of entertainment. It is often hard to deter away from such things which makes it easy to be influenced and impacted by the media.

Overall, it is good to have balance and to always put things into perspective. Media has its good qualities, but it can also be used for bad. We must limit the time spent surfing the web, watching violent films, or playing crime inspired games so that we are not subliminally controlled or influenced by the media.


Works Cited

Gruman, J. A., Schneider, F. W., & Coutts, L. M. (2012). Applied social psychology: understanding and addressing social and practical problems. Los Angeles: SAGE.

Mar 17

The Presentation of Online-Self

Hello everybody,

This week’s topic for Applied Social Psychology dove into how the media, the Internet, and technology in general impact our lives and society as a whole. The assigned article this week called “Self Presentation and Gender on MySpace”, by Manago, Graham, Greenfield, and Salimkhan (2008), explored the different ways that emerging adults interacted with social networking sites, specifically MySpace, to express and explore their social identities. They found that social networking sites “provided emerging adults with new cultural tools for identity exploration” (Manago et. al., 2008).

This article, along with its title, reminded me Erving Goffman’s work The Presentation of Self In Everyday Life (1959) where he introduces a perspective called the dramaturgical approach – which parallels social interactions with theatrical performances (Goffman, 1959). In Goffman’s perspective, we are all playing various roles in our every day lives, depending on the ‘stage’, or social situation, that we find ourselves on. The Internet, with its social networking sites, can be viewed as yet another stage where we can play a role in our everyday lives. The difference, however is that on Social Media, we can play many different types of roles within the same platform, depending on who we are engaging with through a particular post, comment, or photo. Goffman also coined the term impression management, which, as the term implies, is our want to control what others think about us on the ‘front stage’ (Goffman, 1959). The interesting aspect of social media is that we can pick and choose a target audience for any posts that we make – let’s supposed I posted a sexy picture of myself on Facebook, I wouldn’t necessarily want family members to view that post, but rather I would choose the audience to be friends except family members (that I would’ve grouped beforehand). If I post a picture of just my family let’s say, I would reverse the audience. I would have just presented two different aspects of my social identity within the same platform, played two different roles, and I would have chosen to manipulate other peoples’ impressions of me through my appearance and my manner. Goffman suggests that the only part of the stage where we can shed our fronts and be ourselves is the ‘back stage’. What is worrisome about this is that nowadays, with the growing number hours we spend on social media, this back stage where we can be ourselves and not worry about what other people think is getting smaller smaller – and soon, there may not be enough room on the backstage to step back and take a breath from the social world.

Social media definitely has many good aspects to it, and I for one rely on it time and time again due to my social anxiety issues. But I guess what I’m trying to say is that we should stop this ‘impression management’ that we find ourselves doing all the time, because at the end of the day it doesn’t matter what others say or think (which I know sounds unbelievably cliché). I for one have been trying to live through this motto, being a person who constantly, and unhealthily thought about what others thought about me.

I just shed a part of my front to write this post, in an attempt to expand my backstage. Let me know if you give that a try 🙂



Goffman, E. (1959). Presentation of self in everyday life. Garden City, NY: Doubleday Anchor Books.

Manago, A., Graham, M., Greenfield, P., & Salimkhan, G. (2008). Self-presentation and gender on MySpace. Journal Of Applied Developmental Psychology29(6), 446-458. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.appdev.2008.07.001


Mar 17


Nomophobia (no-mobilephone-phobia) is the fear of being disconnected from media technology such as mobile phones (Elmore, 2017). We live in a time where cell phones are not waterproof and water resistant. We anticipate communication on them more than we anticipate face-to-face conversation. According to Elmore (2017), in the United States 65% of individuals sleep with/next to their phone, around half of people never turn off their cell phones, and 66% of adults suffer from nomophobia ().

Although we spend so much of our time online, around 5% of people say they have met their significant other online although 15% of people use an online dating website or application (Emery, n.d.).

Communicating online is a great way for people with disorders to make friends. For people like me, having anxiety and being around others can be a death sentence. Having the ability to display my interests online on websites such as Facebook, I can allow myself to make friendships with people who value who I am as a human being. I met my husband on social media five years ago and we have been married for four years.

However, it is slightly unsettling to live in a world where people are used to instant gratification. Because of this, social skills are not developing to their full potential. They control what they can do on their phones, but not what happens in real life. They lose their sense of comfort.

How concerned should we be that technology is consuming our lives? As a 90s baby, I got to experience the transition into more efficient technology. I remember the dial-up internet on my giant computer when I was thirteen years old to my blue screen’d Kyocera at age fifteen. My children are three and four and can maneuver any tablet or cell phone they get their hands on with ease.

How many hours do you spend on social media? How many hours do you spend online?

How many friendships do you have right now that are maintained in person?

Are we taking face to face communication for granted?



Elmore, T. (2017). Nomophobia: a rising trend in students. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/artificial-maturity/201409/nomophobia-rising-trend-in-students

Emery, L. A. (n.d.). This is how many couples meet online vs. offline. Retrieved from https://www.bustle.com/articles/145766-this-is-how-many-couples-meet-online-vs-offline

Mar 17

Social Media and Adolescence

This week’s lesson Psych 424, discussed the media and internet and its influences on society. Our discussion group delved into how the media influences and affects the health, attitudes, and beliefs of young people. While we are all aware of the influence that the media and internet has on our society, I chose to further discuss the topic and its effects on our youth. An article by The Huffington Post titled “Influence of Social Media on Teenagers”, reported that 75 percent of teenagers in America are participating on social network sites, the bulk of them using Facebook as their main networking tool.

The American Psychological Association defines bullying as an aggressive behavior that causes discomfort to others, brought on by an individual. While there’s no denying that there are many benefits in having access to the internet, we have all likely heard of cyber bullying, internet addiction and sleep deprivation because of heavy use of the internet and social networks. Numerous studies have been conducted concerning the subject, reporting that 32 percent of online teens have admitted to experiencing menacing advances for others while online. (Ramasubbu, 2015)

Sexting is another issue that is common among teens in the social media community. A survey conducted by the National Campaign to Support Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, found that 20 percent of teens participate in sexting. The personal trauma involved in sexting may have serious ramifications, judicially, for those involved in such activities including misdemeanors and felonies.

Additionally, Facebook Depression has become a real malady for teens and pre-teens who spend a great deal of time on social media sites. Comparing themselves to others appears to be the greatest problem within this group.

A study conducted by the Canadian Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Review, claim media influences in young people’s lives produced similar outcome to that reported in The Huffington Post article. Within this study, Media Awareness Network MNet, conducted two surveys with parents and children to highlight the contrast between parents and young people’s knowledge and attitudes towards the internet. It also provided the internet’s potential impact on the healthy mental and physical development of this first generation that has grown up using the internet. The gap between parents and children and their opinions on the usefulness of the internet is continuing to widen. Many parents report feeling the internet provides less educational value than the children.

To remedy this issue MNet met with Representatives of the Child Health Community to inform them of the impact social media has on children while encouraging them to integrate media awareness into their practice settings. The problem that they found in this study, was that although many clinicians know the influence of the media is an important health issue, few have received any formal training in the area. (D’Arcy, 2004)

What do you think could help improve education on the effects the internet and media has on adolescents? What do you think would be most helpful- educating the parents or the adolescents?




D’Arcy, J. (2004). Media Influences in Young People’s Lives. The Canadian child and adolescent psychiatry review13(1), 2.


Ramasubbu, S. (2015, May 26). Influence of Social Media on Teenagers. Retrieved March 19, 2017, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/suren-ramasubbu/influence-of-social-media-on-teenagers_b_7427740.html

Mar 17

Lesson 9 Blog

Greetings to All!

This week we focused on social issues of technology and social media. A development that much of the world is involved in. To have grown up at a young age in this era where not many had a cell phone to now small children having a need for one is surprising. It is amazing how society believes they cannot survive without a cell phone or social media when centuries before, people did just fine. Don’t get me wrong I enjoy my electronics and am also a member of social media and at times cringe when I don’t have my phone by my side, but it appears that this trend has its negative sides. So often I see groups of friends and family out for dinner or even at the movies and they are not communicating with each other but instead, are on their cell phones checking the latest post on a social media site. It truly is sad when we start to replace true physical communication and affection with that solely of empty technology.

I especially feel that our youth is even more influenced by these things. Even more so, I feel, than when I was growing up. The pressures that these technologies have unfortunately put on children, is quite depressing. At times, it seems the media is directly targeting attempts to take away a child’s youth at such an important stage when they are trying to develop their own identity but instead are being manipulated by false media portrayals. What we must note is that technology, unfortunately gives false visions and hope. I do see and understand the benefits of social media and have reaped them in certain scenarios but there is more to life than these simple technologies.

One article that I read hypothesized the benefits of social media for those that have trouble communicating face to face. As once being a shy and quiet individual, this “social media” appears to be quite a relief for those that have been “peer victimized.” This study saw small but significant benefits of social support as opposed to face to face. The results though, that Cole, Nick, Zelkowitz, Roeder and Spinelli (2017) found in their experiment of social media, “facilitates cybervictimization, the effects of which can be devastating but the other hand, social media may also generate a new kind of social support that operates in ways that are similar to, but not completely redundant of, in-person social support” (pg. 462). This statement appears to be vague and not totally supportive of the full benefits of social media.

The images and attitudes that are pushed upon society through social media and technology seem to be seen everywhere. As much as having the internet at your fingertips can be beneficial, it has also gotten to the point where it can be harmful; physically, mentally and emotionally. The lack of physical communication that our generation is encountering, can hinder views of reality. I hope that as social media and technology grows even greater, we learn to reduce the negative influences it can have on children and society.

Thank you J


Cole, D. A., Nick, E. A., Zelkowitz, R. L., Roeder, K. M., & Spinelli, T. (2017). Online social support for young people: Does it recapitulate in-person social support; can it help? Computers in Human Behavior, 68, 456-464. doi:http://dx.doi.org.ezaccess.libraries.psu.edu/10.1016/j.chb.2016.11.058

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