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Three Articles on the Impact of Social Media on Youth

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TEENAGERS DELAY SLEEP TO SPEND MORE TIME ON SOCIAL MEDIA, UNIVERSITY OF ADELAIDE STUDY FINDS

(Source: Miles Kemp, THE ADVERTISER, January 13, 2014)

MORE than two in 10 Adelaide high school students delay sleep every night because of their use of electronic devices, an Adelaide University study has found.

The study, co-authored by psychologist Dr Daniel King, recorded the electronic media habits of 1287 Adelaide students aged 12 to 18 and also found that one in 10 suffered from not being able to get to sleep and one in 20 was affected by interrupted sleep. “Electronic media use was significantly negatively correlated with weekday and weekend sleep duration, as well as bedtime delay,” Dr King said.He said the study showed there was a need for greater public education about the problem – which at worst could become pathological.

“In view of the potential negative impacts of excessive media use, there is a need for the continuing development and dissemination of public health guidelines to educate young people, parents, and teachers about responsible electronic media use during adolescence,” he said. “Up-to-date data are critical for the development of an informed understanding, given that the types, availability, and functional uses of electronic media technologies are constantly evolving.” Twenty-two per cent of the adolescents reported that bedtime delay occurred every night, 29 per cent said it occurred often, 37 per cent said sometimes, and 12 per cent never. Only a small minority of the adolescents studied were getting optimal sleep, which is more than nine hours a night according to the National Sleep Foundation. Also on a nightly basis, 8 per cent recorded difficulty getting to sleep and 6 per cent reported sleep interruption.

YOUR SAY – DO ELECTRONIC DEVICES AFFECT THE WAY YOU SLEEP?

  • On weekdays, less than one in three had optimal sleep, one in three had borderline sleep – which is 8-9 hours – and more than one in three had insufficient sleep of less than eight hours. On weekend nights, 47.4 per cent got optimal sleep, 27.8 per cent were borderline and 24.5 per cent had insufficient sleep.
  • Dr King said most at risk were adolescents who fell into the category of “pathological media use”, defined as those who could not limit their use or showed “persistent and maladaptive use of electronic media, resulting in psychological and/or physical problems”.
  • “Sleep interference effects due to electronic media use were significantly more prevalent among adolescents who met clinical criteria for pathological media use,” he said.
  • “These children went to bed 35-40 minutes later because of their use.”
  • Maddi Thompson, 15, or Northgate, said she was connected to the internet via an iPhone, an iPad and laptop computer, often to connect with friends on Facebook just before going to bed, but did so in moderation.
  • “I would be connected probably a bit more than one hour a day, but not more because I really need my sleep,” she said.
  • “I do know a lot of girls who spend a lot of time on Facebook and they stay up all night. A couple of girls come to school the next day tired because they have been up all night, but not a lot.”
  • The study, published in the International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction this month, recorded 91 per cent of the students had mobile or smart phones, 89 per cent portable music players, 86 per cent laptops, 78 per cent video-gaming consoles, 71 per cent personal computers, and 37 per cent tablet devices. It also measured frequency of use of each device, function and social context of media use, and age at which devices were first used. Participants reported that they had first used the internet at the age of 8.2 years, video-games at 9.2 years, and a mobile phone at 10.9 years.

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TEXTING CAUSING PHYSICAL AND MENTAL DISORDERS IN TEENAGERS – STUDY

(Source: Stephen Fenech, HERALD SUN, JUNE 30, 2010)

A STUDY into youth communication habits has identified serious physical and mental disorders as a result of teenagers texting excessively every day. Anxiety, insecurity, depression and low self-esteem have all been identified by researchers as symptoms common among text-addicted teenagers. Figures released by Boost Mobile show text messaging has increased by 89 per cent in two years, with one teenage customer managing to send an incredible 4000 text messages over nine days.

Jennie Carroll, a technology researcher from RMIT University in Melbourne studying the effects of modern communication, said the mobile had become meshed into teenagers’ lives. “Texting is quite tribal – it is just what teenagers do with phones,” she said.Dr Carroll said her study into the effects of modern communication had found four distinct disorders – textaphrenia, textiety, post-traumatic text disorder and binge texting.

Textaphrenia is thinking you’ve heard a message come in or felt the device vibrate when it actually hasn’t. Textiety is the anxious feeling of not receiving any texts or not being able to send any. “With textaphrenia and textiety there is the feeling that ‘no one loves me, no one’s contacted me’,” Dr Carroll said. Post-traumatic text disorder is physical and mental injuries related to texting. “There are physical issues arising like walking into things while texting,” Dr Carroll said.

“There were reports from Japan of ‘repetitive thumb syndrome’ and of young people’s thumbs growing in response to too much texting, leading to ‘monster thumbs’.” Binge texting is when teens send multiple texts to feel good about themselves and try to attract responses. Confessed SMS fanatic Nicole Arnold, 34, of Sydenham, said she sent 40 texts a day and texted even while eating and at the movies. “I get told that I text too much. I have even been told off at work for it,” said Ms Arnold, who works in hospitality.

“I had to change my bill because I text so much. I now pay an extra $15 a month and get unlimited text messages. Because before my bill would be out of control. One month it was $800.” RMIT’s Dr Carroll said teens who were aware they were texting too much or that it was affecting their lives could do something about it. “Be involved in lots of things, have face-to-face contact as well as virtual contact,” she said.

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TEENAGERS ARE BECOMING TEXT ADDICTS FACING MENTAL AND PHYSICAL ISSUES

(Source: Stephen Fenech, Technology Writer; The Daily Telegraph, 30 June 2010)

AUSTRALIAN teenagers are becoming “text addicts” suffering a range of serious mental and physical disorders from depression to “repetitive thumb syndrome”.

A study into youth communication habits identified the risks teens face from texting excessively every day.

Anxiety, insecurity, depression and low self-esteem have been identified as symptoms common among text addicts.

Figures released by Boost Mobile, a reseller of the Optus network, showed text messaging had increased by 89 per cent in the last two years, with one teenage customer sending an incredible 4000 text messages over nine days.

Jennie Carroll, a technology researcher from RMIT University in Melbourne, has studied of the effects of modern communication since 2001 and said the mobile phone had become meshed into teenagers’ lives.

“Texting is quite tribal – it is just what teenagers do with phones,” she said.

Ms Carroll’s study identified four distinct disorders – textaphrenia, textiety, post-traumatic text disorder and binge texting.

Textaphrenia is thinking a message had arrived when it hadn’t, while textiety is the anxious feeling of not receiving or sending text messages.

“With textaphrenia and textiety there’s a feeling no one loves me, no one’s contacted me,” Ms Carroll said.

Post-traumatic stress disorder involved physical and mental injuries from texting.

“Like walking into things while texting and even crossing a road without realising,” Ms Carroll said.

“Young people are in a bubble doing their communication and focused on that.”

“There were reports from Japan of ‘repetitive thumb syndrome’ and thumbs growing because of texting leading to ‘Monster Thumbs’.”

Binge texting is when teens send multiple texts to feel good about themselves and try to attract responses.

“This is the reverse of the anxiety – you think you’ve been left out of the loop so you send a lot of texts and wait for responses,” Ms Carroll said.

Manly teenagers Ruth Williams, 18, and Annika Tyr-Egge, 19, are textaholics who each send between 50 and 120 text messages every day.

“I always have my phone on me – it never leaves my side,” Ms Williams said.

“Texting is how I connect to my friends. I rarely call people anymore.”

Ms Tyr-Egge admitted being a heavy texter but said that was part of being a teenager: “Texting has become part of the Gen Y culture – it’s an everyday thing that all of us do.”

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