A lot of research has been done in to digital media and problematic usage. Apart from all the amazing things that digital and social media can do, perhaps there is a limit and once this is exceeded problems start to arise. Some problems are minor and down to personal preference, other problems are slightly more serious and potentially health hazardous (Raising Children Network 2013).
Digital media could be affecting our relationships more than we realise. Dinner time was once classed as ‘family time’ and now it seems acceptable to have our phones with us whilst we are eating. We find ourselves not paying attention to the things that are going on around us because we are so absorbed in our digital media world. We begin to prioritise responding to texts or other social media over essentials such as sleep, studies or workloads.
Is digital media causing increased loneliness? Are we in fact isolating ourselves and hiding behind our online personas? We have all these friends online, but many people are finding it increasingly difficult when placed in a real life social situation. Ironically many people often go to online to seek to avoid loneliness but is all this online activity potentially making us become detached from reality and ultimately less competent. Are we now shaping our behaviour on social media simply just to get a response… (Pilkington 2013).
Could using social media from such a young age be affecting the personality of teens? Those who tend to use social media excessively can be linked to show neuroticism personality traits. This means they can tend to be anxious, temperamental and irritable (Penderson 2015). When teenagers reach the age of 17 they are able to learn to drive. Any kind of distraction when driving can be dangerous. Using any digital media whist driving is dangerous because it’s taking your attention away from the road. In 2011, 13% of drivers ages 18-20 who were in involved in a car accident admitted to using their mobile at the time of the crash (Marino 2012).
Text messaging makes a crash up to 23x more likey to happen!
Another example of where digital media can be influencing teenagers negativly is when it comes to things such as body image and self esteem. If teenage girls are repeatedly seeing ‘thin’ body types and beauty messages on the internet, it is likely to have a direct impact on their body image and dieting behaviour (Raising Children Network 2013).
A problem taking its toll is teenagers taking mobile phones to bed. As well as lack of sleep and insomnia it can also be related to other health problems such as hypo-vigilance. Studies show that the longer a teen spends on a digital divide throughout the day before bed the worse quality sleep they are likely to have. “A study of teenagers found that those who used a computer in the hour before bedtime were nearly three times as likely to get less than five hours sleep” (Knapton 2015).
KNAPTON, S., 2015. Banish smartphones and computers from bedroom to get a good sleep, says scientists. [online]. Telegraph Media Group Limited 2015. Available from: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/science-news/11384714/Banish-smartphones-and-computers-from-bedroom-to-get-a-good-sleep-say-scientists.html [Accessed 30 April 2015].
MARINO, K., 2012. DWI: Driving while intexticated- Infographic. [online]. 1997-2015 QuinStreet Inc. Available from: http://www.onlineschools.com/in-focus/driving-while-intexticated [Accessed 29 April 2015].
PENDERSON, S., 2015. Why use social media? Part 1, BS1288. [PowerPoint presentation]. Why use social media? Part 1. Digital Media Platforms and Practices. The Robert Gordon University, Department of Communication, Marketing and Media, room FOM 224, 20 February.
PILKINGTON, A., 2013. Is social media making us lonely? What would Proust say? [online]. 28 August 2013. Available from: http://www.pracademy.co.uk/2013/08/28/is-social-media-making-us-lonely-what-would-proust-say/ [Accessed 29 April 2015].
RAISING CHILDREN NETWORK., 2013. Teenagers and mobile phones. [online]. 2006-2015 Raising Children Network (Australia) Limited. Available from: http://raisingchildren.net.au/articles/mobile_phones_teenagers.html [Accessed 29 April 2015].