Monitor on Psychology - October 2011 - (Page 66)
HOW THE WEB IS CHANGING US
Friend or foe?
Children and teens’ overuse of social media is linked to lower grades, poor health and symptoms of potential mental health problems, new research shows.
BY JAMIE C HAMB ERLI N • Monitor staff
she checked Facebook or paused to send a text message to a friend. Students who flipped back and forth between studying and such distractions had worse grades than those who stuck to their schoolwork until they were finished, said Rosen. “Whether they checked Facebook just one time during a 15-minute observation period even predicted worse grades,” said Rosen. In another study, conducted in 2009, Rosen surveyed 1,000 parents about how much time their kids spent online, their eating habits, exercise routine, overall physical and mental health and use of other technology, such as video gaming systems. Rosen found that even when he accounted for demographics, eating habits and lack of exercise, media and technology still had a powerful effect on the children’s health. Those who used more hours of media were more unhealthy across the board, from elementary school age through high school, said Rosen. They reported more sick days, more stomach aches, more depression and worse behavior in school. “You name it, [they had] more of it,” he said. To see whether social media had a similar effect on mental
MONITOR ON PSYCHOLOGY • OCTOBER 2011
hildren whose parents don’t ask them about their online activities and don’t monitor their use of Facebook are less healthy, more narcissistic, and perform worse at school than children whose parents restrict their technology use, Larry D. Rosen, PhD, professor of psychology at California State University, Dominguez Hills, said at APA’s 2011 Annual Convention. In his research on how Facebook and other technologies affect the health and well-being of today’s youth, Rosen has found that students who use Facebook more throughout the day are more prone to mental health problems, have worse grades and tend to be sick more often than peers who use social media less frequently. “Young kids look at technology the way I look at air,” said Rosen. “It’s not just a tool to them, they sleep with it, they wake up with it, and it’s part of their world.” In one as-yet-unpublished study he conducted this year, Rosen observed the study habits of 279 middle-school, high school and university students in 15-minute blocks. Rosen recorded how long each student spent studying before he or
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Monitor on Psychology - October 2011
Monitor on Psychology - October 2011
Subtle and stunning slights
From the CEO
Live science on the showroom floor
Zimbardo re-examines his landmark study
Ready, set, mentor
Attention students and ECPs: Self-care is an ‘ethical imperative’
Suicide risk is high among war veterans in college, study finds
Psychotherapy is effective and here’s why
From toilet to tap: getting people to drink recycled water
What’s ahead for psychology practice?
A push for more accountability is changing the accreditation process
Peer, parental support prove key to fighting childhood obesity
Popular media’s message to girls
Bullying may contribute to lower test scores
A consequence of cuckoldry: More (and better) sex?
Manatees’ exquisite sense of touch may lead them into dangerous waters
Building a better tomato
How will China’s only children care for their aging parents?
‘Spice’ and ‘K2’: New drugs of abuse now on the market
Many suspects don’t understand their right to remain silent
Boosting minority achievement
Where’s the progress?
And social justice for all
Helping new Americans find their way
Segregation’s ongoing legacy
A new way to combat prejudice
Retraining the biased brain
Suppressing the ‘white bears’
How to eat better — mindlessly
Protect your aging brain
Must babies always breed marital discontent?
The danger of stimulants
Keys to making integrated care work
Is technology ruining our kids?
Facebook: Friend or foe?
The promise of Web 3.0
NIMH invests in IT enhanced interventions
PsycAdvocates work to safeguard key programs
The psychology of spending cuts
APA’s strategic plan goes live
Vote on bylaws amendments
Monitor on Psychology - October 2011