Oct 19


In reading about academic self-concept, I think back to my earlier years of education. These years were intensely frustrating, and they only grew worse with each passing assignment. I couldn’t concentrate, comprehend, or keep up with my classmates. By second grade, the humiliation peaked as I still could not read, and my disability was becoming apparent to everyone around me. Shamed into silence, even bullied for my cognitive delays, I was growing depressed and losing self-esteem. Soon after, I was diagnosed with ADHD and a learning disability. Unable to process words at an average rate, my verbal comprehension issues were magnified in the classroom. After receiving my diagnosis, my parents appointed various therapists and instructors to help me learn tools to succeed. Although these professionals helped me immensely years of struggling, my education left me feeling defeated, and my perception of my academic abilities was diminished.

Academic self-concept is the attitudes, perceptions, and feelings that a student has about their academic ability (Coutts, Gruman, & Schneider, 2017). Based on my negative track record, I felt that I would NEVER be able to succeed in school and that I was just “not made” for it. Gruman & et al. (2017) explains that good academic self-concept has the effect of academic achievement and that there is a reciprocal relationship between the two. So as I continued to believe that I was not made for school, I continued to fail, and as I continued to fail, it further confirmed my perception of my abilities. It was a vicious cycle that went on through high school. Although I was fully capable and was instructed on learning techniques that worked best for me, I continued to beat myself up and fully believed that I would ALWAYS fail. As this went on in high school, I chose to go out with friends and get into things that I wasn’t supposed to instead of working on my homework. In doing this, I was self-handicapping, which is when “people handicap their own performance on a task so that they have a ready excuse for failure” (Gruman & et al., 2017). The whole situation was headed for disaster. Although I didn’t want to apply to college, my mother forced me, and I was accepted to every school I applied to. Even though I had these letters to promote academic self-concept, I doubted myself. I eventually went on to start my freshman year out of state. I dropped out within two months. I gave my friends and family every excuse in the book “I’m just not intellectual enough,” “ I am not made for school,” “school isn’t for everyone,” “I’m street smart, not book smart” (Ha!). I spent six years working jobs I hated and desperately searching for my passion. Upon finding that passion for occupational therapy, I knew I had to face my biggest fear, which was going back to school.

The first semester back was absolute hell as I continued my vicious cycle of self-doubt and hatred of myself. It wasn’t until I spoke with one professor about my concerns. Those talks would become the foundation from which my strength would rise and elevate me finally have faith in myself and leave the excuses behind. I stopped choosing a social life over my education and started putting in the work to succeed. When I ended a semester with my first A (ever!), something changed. My academic self-concept and my passion for occupational therapy gave me the motivation to strive for bigger and better things in life. It truly is fascinating the effect that our ideas and beliefs of ourselves have on our outcomes.


Coutts, L. M., Gruman, J. A., & Schneider, F. W. (2017). Applied social psychology understanding and addressing social and practical problems (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.

Oct 19

Youth and prejudice

After reading this weeks module and lesson commentary 10 regarding the frontline video of Miss Elliot and her class it made me think of a similar incident that happened at my sons kindergarten. One day when I picked my son up from school he said to me that he wanted curly hair like his friend Koda. Mind you my son is the only person of color in his class. He has curly hair but Koda has long blonde ringlets and resembles a California kid who surfs haha. When I asked my son why he felt like he needed to look like Koda when he has his own curly hair his response was everyone says Koda’s hair is beautiful.

While I don’t think this is a sign of prejudice I do think this is how those negative and discriminatory thoughts and perceptions are formed. I had to remind my son that just because other people my have attributes that are complimented it does not take away from him. I reminded him that people say he has the best smile and that he actually gets quite a lot of special attention from certain teachers. I could tell that there was a level of jealousy that sparked in my son and it’s sad that this is a normal response to something pertaining to appearance. I think that it’s important to start looking at peers as equal and to focus on things not based in vanity even at a early age. Additionally, I jokingly said to my children as we were getting in the car “get in losers we’re going shopping”… my son kindly reminded me that was a “bully phrase” and could hurt peoples feelings. Never had I been so proud that I was raising someone who cared how words effected others.

Where I grew up in Philadelphia, we called out race and often made fun of each other. When we had children of other races in our classroom we made it a point to target them. While this is not appropriate it was something that was the norm. For instance the one White kid in class was given the name White Boy.  We hadn’t viewed that as being discriminatory but now as I get older I notice how those same people I went to school with only see color. In a country that’s headed toward mixed race majority in the next 100 years, seeing color seems like a mute point.


Oct 19

Upskirting and privacy

Elaborating on this weeks lesson module 9 on cellphones and privacy invasion I thought I would shed light on an interesting article. In an error of Edward Snowden and laptops with a power off button for the camera, privacy concerns are at a all time high. An article from April, 2019 describes a New Jersey man who worked for Citizens Bank who recorded women in the bank’s bathroom. The tool used to record the women was a smart phone concealed in a envelope hidden in the ladies room stall. When a customer found the device she tried to take it to the bank staff but the employee intercepted it and ran out of the bank.

Issues like this have been occurring all across the country. Most people will be so consumed with their own devices they will simply ignore their surroundings. As a result people are unaware  that their privacy is being invaded. Working for Apple I often get calls where people want us to track their devices or retrieve lost data. When I kindly explain we don’t have that access they are enraged. It makes me think why are we so comfortable allowing strangers to monitor,judge,and ultimately watch over us? What does this do to us psychologically in the long run? This generation is growing up recording every move via Snapchat,Instagram,and YouTube. These platforms have glorified privacy invasion and have contributed to a new group of victims. From the women being secretly recorded in bathrooms, to the teens live streaming suicides on Facebook live. The craving for attention or the need to see others and their lives has effected how we perceive the world and most of all how we communicate with others. This desire results in poor social skills, the inability to separate reality from online, and the unwillingness to practice restraint as it pertains to utilizing technology in negative ways.

Sources Cited:


Oct 19

Knowing Without Learning

Have you ever heard a song on the radio, recognized it, but couldn’t quite remember the title of the song or name of the artist?  Have you ever had the name of an actor from a movie right on the tip of your tongue?  What this usually results in for me is an exclamation of “Wait, don’t tell me!”, followed by a long while of concentration, eventually leading to a weirdly strong sense of accomplishment, joy, and pride when I finally realize what it was I was struggling to figure out.  Unfortunately, since the advent of smartphones, we are robbing ourselves of this feeling.  Now that we are able to access nearly any piece of information at the touch of a button, there is no sense of accomplishment that can be taken away from googling the name of that actor or using Shazam to find that song.  Additionally, this lack of effort means that the information we discover will most likely not be retained long-term; we haven’t actually learned anything.

Since we have access to all this information, it’s as if every one of us knows everything there is to know.  However, we haven’t actually learned anything because of it.  We rely so much on our phones to provide us with information instantaneously and this can lead to a lack of appreciation for learning.  Similar to how teaches used to say that we all needed to learn basic math skills because we weren’t always going to have a calculator handy in the real world.  Now that we actually have that, I have personally noticed a decline in the basic mathematical ability of the people around me.  The same is true for every piece of information now.  People put so much faith in the fact that their phone will be able to figure everything out for them that they don’t bother learning anything for themselves.  This attitude towards learning in generally can be a major hindrance for not only the individual, but to society as whole.  So, the next time you can’t quite remember what the name of that song is, take a second before you pull out your phone and see if you can work it out on your own.

Oct 19

Social Media & Eating Disorders

During an internship last year, I worked alongside a girl my age who had recently published a book. I enjoy reading in my free time so I ordered her book off Amazon and a couple days later, started reading it. It’s journal entries she wrote during her struggle with anorexia. The daily entries start on the day of admission, through hospitalization and end with her discharge. In high school, there was one girl in my grade who had developed anorexia, but we weren’t close friends. So I personally never knew someone who had struggled with an eating disorder before I met Kirsten. In her book, she discusses how social media, like most teenagers, changed her perception about herself. She goes on to discover what the true meaning of beauty is, and that “there are so many better dreams to dream than for a perfect image”. Not only does an eating disorder effect you physically, it also effects you mentally and socially. A lack of food can destroy your mental health, so her entries also include her daily struggle with rebuilding hers. An eating disorder, is just one of the problems that can arise from social media. It’s so important for teenagers to be taught how to view themselves realistically and not with a perception that social media can  provide.


Cunha, K. J. (n.d.). Food For Thought.

Oct 19

Narrowing The Digital Divide

A recent segment on National Public Radio, “Dating Apps Can Help Older Adults Meet — No Time Machine Necessary”, relates the story of Anna, a senior citizen who made the decision to use online dating apps in her mission to meet a romantic partner.  Anna jokes that she may be one of the first people to ever use online dating.  In 1978, while in high school, Anna was assigned to work in her school’s computer lab.  The computer she was using was connected to a mainframe computer in a neighboring town.  Other high schools were also connected to this computer which made it possible for students at different locations to communicate with each other electronically.  One such interaction led to Anna finding a date to her senior prom.  This experience made Anna comfortable singing up for a dating website decades later.  The NPR segment goes on to detail Anna’s online dating journey and how the experience can be particularly challenging for someone in their later years of life.   This story made me consider how senior citizens navigate the rapid advances of technology and if the “digital divide” between older adults and younger people is narrowing as technology becomes increasingly more necessary.

The “digital divide” is the social, economic, and demographic factors that exist between individuals who use computers and those who do not.  The divide between the younger people and the elderly may exist due to a number of reasons.  The elderly may not have the dexterity to operate technology.  They may dislike change which restricts their adoption of new technology or feel as if advances in technology is more of a young person’s initiative.  Also, elderly individuals are subject to age-related declines in visual and auditory sensory processes, motor skills and cognitive abilities.  This can present a challenge since most technology devices employ very small plugs, wires, keyboards. interfaces, mouse, etc. that may be difficult for seniors (Peng, 2010).  These issues as well as the fact that most technology is not designed with the elderly in mind are all contributing factors to the of broadening the “digital divide.”

In the United States. seniors (aged 65 and over) are the fastest growing proportion of the population (NIH, 2016).  With an increase in the proportion of elderly people comes an increase in health concerns related to that group.  Access to readily-available online health information specific to the needs of the senior population is another factor that should be considered when developing strategies to narrow the “digital divide”.  Making online health information more usable and making computers and the internet more accessible can help to improve the health and wellbeing of seniors.



Roman, L., & Brown, A. (2018, January 30). Dating Apps Can Help Older Adults Meet – No Time Machine Necessary. Retrieved from https://www.npr.org/2018/01/30/581043485/dating-apps-can-help-older-adults-meet-no-time-machine-necessary.

Peng, G. (2010). Critical mass, diffusion channels, and digital divide. Journal of Computer Information Systems, 50(3), 63-71. doi:10.1080/08874417.2010.11645408

World’s older population grows dramatically. (2016, March 28). Retrieved from https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/worlds-older-population-grows-dramatically.



Oct 19

Donald Trump Screwed Up My Sunday

I wake up every Sunday morning around 7:00AM, make coffee for me and tea for my boyfriend. While everything is brewing and steeping, I walk outside with the pups while the beau is snoring away. The two dogs, the beau, and I snuggle back in bed and turn on CBS Sunday morning at 8:00AM. We sip our morning rituals and see heartwarming stories about celebrities, children helping others, renovations at art museums, historical figures revisited, and at the end we get 60 peaceful seconds of nature, our favorite segment.

Not this morning. Not even 10 minutes into our Sunday morning haven, Margaret Brennan from Face the Nation chimed in that Trump was going to tell us that we killed ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Okay, she told us, can we get back to the heartwarming stories?

Instead, Trump gets on TV and tells the nation about his great success of killing Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. I turn off the TV because his face incites a panic attack. I later read his account of the leader being chased into a tunnel by dogs with three of his children, ignited his vest, and he was whimpering, screaming, and crying (Whitehouse.gov, 2019). That was such a violent picture to broadcast on a Sunday morning (anytime, really). Cultivation theory says that TV is our main socialization agent (Gruman, 2017). So where before we could hear President Obama talk about the death of Osama Bin Laden with respect and reverence, is it that Trump has been so “successful” at engaging his core base by giving raunchy accounts of situations? Personally, it incites fear in me because I’m not sure how ISIS will react to his remarks and he does not seem fit to respond in a way that will actually help the United States.

From our text, we read that as males are exposed to more and more violent content, there is a higher likelihood of violent behavior (Gruman, 2017). Looking at this presidency, we have seen an uptick in hate-related violence. According to Rushin & Edwards, counties who voted for Trump with the widest margins in the elections have experienced the largest increases in reported hate crimes (2018). They also saw on a time series analysis that there was a significant surge in hate crimes since the election, which has been dubbed The Trump Effect (2018). An article in the Washington Post remarked that counties that hosted a Trump rally had a 226% increase in hate crimes (2019). The article also included that the New Zealand shooter called Trump a “renewed symbol of white identity” which had to stem from Trump’s rhetoric.

What is coming across our TV screens matters, as it is showing what is socially acceptable behavior. Years past, we could count on our presidents to have class and decorum. We did not need to worry about the president inciting violence and describing raids in gruesome detail. A good friend of mine said that she makes her grandchildren leave the room whenever Trump comes on TV because she doesn’t know what he is going to say. It is amazing that we have come to a point where people are uncomfortable allowing their children to be exposed to our president.

We kept checking back to CBS every 10 minutes or so but Trump was still tooting his own horn for the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. We didn’t get our heart warming stories while snuggled in bed with our warm beverages and puppies. We missed a tribute to Prince that we were really excited about. Instead, we got up and started our week with a little anger in our hearts.

Ayal Feinberg, R. B. (2019, August 6). Analysis | Counties that hosted a 2016 Trump rally saw a 226 percent increase in hate crimes. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/03/22/trumps-rhetoric-does-inspire-more-hate-crimes/.

Gruman, J. A., Schneider, F. W., & Coutts, L. (2017). Applied social psychology: understanding and addressing social and practical problems. Los Angeles ; London ; New Dehli ; Singapore ; Washington DC ; Melbourne: SAGE.

Remarks by President Trump on the Death of ISIS Leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. (2019, October 27). Retrieved from https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/remarks-president-trump-death-isis-leader-abu-bakr-al-baghdadi/.

Rushin, S., & Edwards, G. S. (2018). The Effect of President Trumps Election on Hate Crimes. SSRN Electronic Journal. doi: 10.2139/ssrn.3102652

Oct 19

Social Media and Terrorism

In light of the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, it feels fitting to analyze how social media has facilitated the radicalization process as well as potential intervention strategies.  Before getting to the fun part, it’s important to identify the radicalization process. Due to the complex nature of radicalization and variations of the definition “terrorist” there are many variations of the radicalization process. For the sake of this blog, the radicalization process shared will be simplified for the sake of provoking discussion.

According to Leistedt (2016) there must first be certain risk factors within the individual’s personality, background, or shared experiences or goals. Most group-extremism relies heavily on group-think and collectivist ideals to persuade individuals to adopt extremist values. These ‘persuasion techniques can occur face-to-face or through some form of media (Leistedt, 2016). If radicalization is successful, the individual will then carry out specific acts for the sake of ‘the cause’.

One of the most effective radicalization methods is through social media platforms. The use of social media platforms is relatively low-risk for the terrorist organization while simultaneously allowing for mass dissemination.

Now, it should be noted that this mass dissemination occurs primarily in regions where there is little to no government regulations over the internet or the freedom of speech is protected on the internet. How many individuals have been radicalized by Al’qaeda in China? How many Russians were radicalized by ISIS? What do both of these countries have in common between them? Both Russia and China censor content on the internet. While the number of people who have acted upon their radicalization is up for speculation (Duchatel, 2019), even the hypothetical numbers are still significantly less than their Western allies. As such, a possible intervention strategy could be regulation limiting the freedom of speech pertaining to the spread and radicalization of terrorist ideology.

Many countries that exhibit Western idealism and the freedom of speech will not cater to the possibility of limiting the freedom of speech. However, short of providing better education to mitigate the risk of radicalization, social media will continue to be the most effective, primary tool utilized by terrorist organizations for recruitment purposes.



Duchatel, M. (2019, January 25). China’s Foreign Fighters Problem. Retrieved October 27, 2019, from https://warontherocks.com/2019/01/chinas-foreign-fighters-problem/.

Leistedt, S. J. (2016). On the Radicalization Process. Journal of Forensic Sciences61(6). doi: https://doi-org.ezaccess.libraries.psu.edu/10.1111/1556-4029.13170

Oct 19

Social Media Kills

While the title of this is a little dramatic, it’s still a good concept to consider, does social media kill our mental well-being? From personal experience, social media can be an endless pit of scrolling through cute cat videos to seeing hatred in the world showcased by news articles. It can be a roller-coaster of emotions and it all happens in seconds as we continue to scroll from one story to the next. Social media provides us a way to view and keep in contact with our closest friends and relatives but it also allows you to see your high-school arch-nemesis who just got a new job at a company that you have been dying to work for. You can also see some of your classmates that were able to get into a master’s degree program that you weren’t selected for. All of this leads to feelings of defeat, depression, and ultimately the feeling of not being good enough as you continue to compare your life to someone that you might not even know or have close contact with.

We all know that the more friends you have on your social media, the fewer friends you probably have in real life. Socializing in physical real-world settings is no longer the best way to get in contact with someone that you haven’t spoken to in a while. We are all drawn into the convenience of sending a short 140 character text to someone to indicate that we “stay in touch”. Part of this could be due to the nature of the world in which we live in. As the cost of living rises, we are expected to rise our income with it. Instead of spending time at home or socializing, we are taking every opportunity to earn overtime and to show our “workaholic” ethic to get the next promotion and be seen as a team player by our manager. Therefore we aren’t interested in having coffee with a friend because we could network and grab coffee with someone that might further assist us with our career. This is the sad reality of the current world and the primary reason for encouraging this online life.


Walton, A. G. (2017, October 3). 6 Ways Social Media Affects Our Mental Health. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2017/06/30/a-run-down-of-social-medias-effects-on-our-mental-health/#1ac4f3c62e5a.

Oct 19

Erasing Myself From Social Media

Sixth grade was the beginning of my social media journey. All of my friends started creating MySpace and AIM accounts, so I joined in on the action. Seventh and eighth grade turned to MySpace and Facebook, freshman year was Facebook and Instagram, sophomore year was Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter, then junior year Vine was added to the mix. By my senior year of high school, everyone had an account on Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and Vine. We were obsessing over social media and it consumed the majority of our lives. These platforms negatively affect our happiness and well-being, while adding stress to our daily lives (Brooks, 2015). Social media grew increasingly toxic as more began basing their peer’s worth on how many followers and likes they received and what they posted. It felt as though each account added a ten-pound weight to our ankles, but we would willingly carry it around despite knowing how difficult it was dragging this extra baggage. The pressure social media created grew worse as time elapsed hoping to gain more followers and likes than our friends, spending hours trying to take the perfect picture to post, and exhausting every second of our free time checking and updating each account. Towards the end of my senior year, I found myself completely engulfed by social media and noticed my head was down staring at my phone more often than not.

My mentality shifted as I entered my first year of college. I noticed everyone (including myself) watching their favorite bands and DJs at live concerts or events through phone screens because they were recording, posting every second of a party on Snapchat, and eyes constantly glued to their phones instead of experiencing life right in front of them. It seemed a little strange to me why we could not put our phones down and enjoy what we were doing with the people we were with. This is when I began limiting my social media time and deleted my first app, Twitter. I felt a sense of relief after ridding myself from Twitter because it was where most of the drama was often created and even enhanced, which is why I deleted it first.

As the years passed by, the unpleasant side of social media intensified due to more drama, of course, between my peers. Some examples of the drama were related to someone would see a post showing their friends at a party and get upset because they were not invited, relationships would crumble because their significant other was seen on Snapchat with their ex or someone they did not like, and jealousy would arise from not getting enough likes compared to others. It is very difficult to keep our lives private now because people are always posting pictures and videos without our discretion (Wang, Min, & Han, 2015). This can also lead to an increased risk of distrust in others because the majority of the time we are unaware of what is being posted (Wan et al., 2015).

I have always been more reserved and preferred to keep my whereabouts with only who I am with and share my personal life with whom I choose, but social media prevented this many times. Around the age of 21 (I am 23 now), I could not handle the negative effects anymore and slowly turned my back to my accounts. I deleted Facebook and Instagram, then the following year I finally deleted my last account which was Snapchat. Suddenly the curiosity and thoughts about what others were doing or what they thought of me dissipated and relief poured over me. The weight I was carrying around diminished and I could not be happier. Some of my friends even followed in my footsteps and deleted a couple of their accounts as well. After deleting their accounts they proceeded to tell me they are more at ease now and I am so grateful that my decision motivated them to do the same.


Brooks, S. (2015). Does personal social media usage affect efficiency and well-being? Computers in Human Behavior, 46, 26-37. https://doi-org.ezaccess.libraries.psu.edu/10.1016/j.chb.2014.12.053

Wang, Y., Min, Q., & Han, S. (2015). Understanding the effects of trust and risk on individual behavior toward social media platforms: A meta-analysis of the empirical evidence. Computers in Human Behavior, 56, 34-44. https://doi-org.ezaccess.libraries.psu.edu/10.1016/j.chb.2015.11.011

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