Monday, September 22, 2014

Facebook: Social connections or simply envious voyeurism

LONDON: Witnessing friends’ vacations, love lives and work successes on Facebook can cause envy and trigger feelings of misery and loneliness, according to German researchers.
A study conducted by two German universities found rampant envy on Facebook, the world’s largest social network that now has over 1 billion users and has produced an unprecedented platform for social comparison.
The researchers found that one in three people felt worse after visiting the site and more dissatisfied with their lives, while people who browsed without contributing were affected the most.
“We were surprised by how many people have a negative experience from Facebook with envy leaving them feeling lonely, frustrated or angry,” researcher Hanna Krasnova from the Institute of Information Systems at Berlin’s Humboldt University told Reuters.
“From our observations some of these people will then leave Facebook or at least reduce their use of the site,” Krasnova said, adding to speculation that Facebook could be reaching saturation point in some markets.
Researchers from Humboldt University and from Darmstadt’s Technical University found vacation photos were the biggest cause of resentment with more than half of envy incidents triggered by holiday snaps on Facebook.
Social interaction was the second most common cause of envy as users could compare how many birthday greetings they received to those of their Facebook friends and how many “likes” or comments were made on photos and postings.
“Passive following triggers invidious emotions, with users mainly envying happiness of others, the way others spend their vacations and socialize,” the researchers said in the report “Envy on Facebook: A Hidden Threat to Users’ Life Satisfaction?” released Tuesday.
“The spread and ubiquitous presence of envy on Social Networking Sites is shown to undermine users’ life satisfaction,” they said.
They found people aged in their mid-30s were most likely to envy family happiness while women were more likely to envy physical attractiveness.
These feelings of envy were found to prompt some users to boast more about their achievements on the site to portray themselves in a better light.
Men were shown to post more self-promotional content to let people know about their accomplishments while women stressed their good looks and social lives.
The researchers based their findings on two studies involving 600 people with the results to be presented at a conference in Germany in February.
The first study looked at the scale, scope and nature of envy incidents triggered by Facebook and the second at how envy was linked to passive use of Facebook and life satisfaction.
The researchers said the respondents in both studies were German but they expected the findings to hold internationally as envy is a universal feeling and possibly impact Facebook usage.

Read more:
(The Daily Star :: Lebanon News :: 

Voyeurism and Facebook

By: Cassandra Willyard
Several years ago, my mom decided to move from Grand Forks, North Dakota — a city of 50,000 — to Lakota, North Dakota — a town of about 700 people. She had grown up in small towns and had no desire to return to one. But Lakota happened to be the midway point between her job in Grand Forks and my stepfather’s new job in Minnewaukan. So my mom began house hunting.
At one house, the owner was watching television. But the show didn’t look like a regular television program. It seemed almost like a home video. My mom asked the woman what she was watching. She replied, “Oh, that’s the camera down on Main Street.” Lakota, North Dakota, has a video camera planted at one end of Main Street. The footage from that camera ends up on TV, allowing residents to get a real-time, birds-eye view of the town’s tiny business district. No lie.
Why on earth would anyone want to watch what’s happening on Main Street? Because we are natural-born voyeurs. Given the opportunity to peer into others lives, most of us will grab the binoculars rather than closing the shades.
Facebook, like Lakota’s Main Street camera, encourages our voyeuristic tendencies. “People can peruse the profiles of various users, read about other users’ interests, read their friends’ comments on their walls or view their friends. People can even scroll through a user’s photo albums and see all of the pictures that that user has uploaded of themselves and all of the pictures that other users have uploaded with that user in it. Profiles can link to other, sometimes more personal, Web sites about the user. Some profiles link to other photo albums or to online journals,” wrote Brett Bumgarner in a 2007 study. Dozens of my Facebook “friends” are high school classmates I haven’t spoken to since graduation. I friended them to be polite. But that doesn’t explain why I read their status updates and flip through pictures of their kids’ little league games. Facebook has turned me into a busybody. I am the homeowner watching the Main Street camera channel.
Of course, the voyeurs wouldn’t congregate if there weren’t something to see. Bumgarner puts it this way: “Voyeurism wouldn’t be possible without the existence of exhibitionism, or self–disclosure.” Facebook makes sharing incredibly easy. Almost too easy. And too much sharing can backfire. We have all heard stories about people who have been fired for something they posted on Facebook.
The average Facebook user has 130 “friends,” and it seems a safe bet that not all of those “friendships” are close relationships. My Facebook friend group, for example, is an eclectic mix of actual friends, relatives, casual acquaintances, ex-boyfriends, other science writers, Peace Corps buddies, former classmates, and editors. Given the diversity of that group, I have three options when it comes to sharing: 1. Post only G-rated information/photos that I don’t mind sharing with anyone and everyone. 2. Adopt a devil-may-care attitude and share whatever I want without worrying who will see it. 3. Or divide my diverse list into different groups so that I can selectively share.
I mostly practice option one. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg would like to see everyone embrace the second option. “Our mission at Facebook is to help make the world more open and connected,” he wrote in an open letter last year.
Smitha Ballyamanda, a woman I profiled in the June issue of IEEE Spectrum, has chosen the third option. She has grouped her nearly 500 friends according to an elaborate hierarchy. Her frenemies are in a group called Zero Trust along with her traditional older relatives. They have the least access to her profile. Her best friends are in a group called the Inner Circle. They can see anything Ballyamanda posts. The bulk of Ballyamanda’s “friends” reside in a group called The Paparazzi. The group includes people like “my best friend from second grade or someone I met through a friend,” Ballyamanda told me. The Paparazzi can see more than Zero Trust, but far less than the Inner Circle. “They’re looking at [my page] just for entertainment purposes,” she said. Ballyamanda devised this system after a stalker hacked into her email and Facebook accounts and hijacked them. The incident left her exceedingly wary, but she didn’t want to forgo Facebook altogether. So she came up with a way to have her cake and eat it too — sort of.
But how many people would be willing to develop a hierarchy like Ballyamanda’s? Not everyone shares her privacy concerns. When I asked my 22-year-old cousin for her mailing address, she posted it on my Facebook wall, where all my “friends” could see it. I sent her a private message reminding her that she might want to be careful with her personal information. But she didn’t share my concern. “The only people who can see what I write on your wall is you, your friends, me and my friends, so it doesn’t really bother me,” she wrote back. Another college-age cousin has posted dozens of drinking pictures. In some she is visibly drunk. And I recently learned from my news feed that a classmate I haven’t spoken with in years is devastated to find that she can’t have children. Did she mean to tell me that, or did she simply post without thinking?
So it seems Zuckerberg’s wish for more openness may be coming true. But instead of feeling more connected, I feel alarmed. What happens when my beer-chugging cousin starts looking for jobs? Sure, she can take the pictures down—all 500 of them—but Facebook keeps them archived, no doubt. And with Facebook’s new facial recognition software, her name could be forever tied to those wild college nights. Then again, maybe I’m being overly cautious. I can never decide whether I’m being prudent or a prude.

Why Facebook Breeds Voyeurism

by Ari Herzog
Rachel Jonat recently shared why she quit Facebook, extracting in part:
I want more from my friends than status updates. I want to give my friends more than status updates. If this person isn’t significant enough in my life for a birthday phone call or visit or even a personal email, why do I want to stay on top of where they are vacationing and that they got a new puppy. I’d rather give up the 189 Facebook friends, the majority of whom I don’t have or want the phone number of, and focus on the people near and dear to me.
Emailing Rachel and seeking information she didn’t share in that guest article on Courtney Carver’s blog, I wanted to know more details why she quit Facebook, a phenomenon Jorgen Sundberg attributes to early adopters losing faithin the social networking site’s multiple changes over the years and finding increased value networking on LinkedIn and Twitter.
Rachel replied that she joined Facebook in 2006 as a convert from MySpace. She spent several hours a day on the site, reading updates from so-called friends and sharing her own updates. She was wasting time and she knew it. She had enough. Admitting Facebook is great for establishing connections between friends and family, Rachel also observed herself using the website “as a crutch to be a bad friend,” elaborating:
Because I saw status updates and pictures of friends I felt like I had connected with them. I hadn’t. Instead of calling people or seeing people I just watched them on Facebook. That’s not a friendship; that’s voyeurism.
Stephen Chukumba identifies with her belief, for he wrote last year that he considers Facebook a medium for three types of people:
1. people who write updates and share information
2. people who don’t write anything or share infrequently
3. people who watch everyone else Facebooking
Focusing on the third typology, the voyeur, he expands:
So that girl that couldn’t stand you in college because she thought that you thought that you were all that, now knows that you’re no longer as cute as you used to be (cause she’s trolled pictures of you in Facebook) and silently rejoices – and then tries to friend you (cause she’s hot now – and wants you to know it). Even if she never actually tries to friend you, she can sit, eating Bon Bons, taking pleasure in every ‘It’s complicated’ post you publish, relishing personal trials and travails.
What’s so disturbing about it, is that you’ll never know your whole life is under the scrutiny of crazies. Most people probably don’t put that much thought into what they post or publish, because they feel like it’s among friends.
But in this age of reality TV, TMZ and YouTube, every personal gaffe is potentially fodder for the masses.
Rachel didn’t want the masses to know her every move but moreover she didn’t care to know theirs. She wrote me that she deliberated for a week and posted a status update on her Facebook wall with her phone number and email address, and left that update there for three days. She told her friends she wanted to see them more in person than online.
Maybe you can identify with Rachel’s feelings. I can.
And now, in the weeks since she quit?
Life is still being lived even though I’m not on Facebook. I’m seeing people in person more, the people that I actually had phone numbers for – not the Facebook friends that I hadn’t seen in five years and wouldn’t think to invite over for dinner. I’m using Skype to see and talk to friends out of town and writing some long overdue emails. It feels good.
If inspired to learn more about Rachel, she writes a blog about minimalism and tweets as @RachelJonat.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Facebook Trap

One of my young friend disappeared from facebook...
Oh well, I wonder what was going on as I always liked to watch his photographs: he travels a lot and loves to take picture in all those countries he visits. So I called him and asked him what happen to his facebook account?

He terminated it! As he felt becoming totally addicted to it, he decided that he was better for him to stop it completely. He explained to me that he was feeling like an alcoholic feels with alcohol, he could not control his desire to watch and read more and more, his FB friends were posting more and more every days and he realized the amount of time he was spending hooked on his computer or even on his smartphone. He realized that life was not, at least for him, reading and watching what other people were doing as they were doing it and that he wanted to take more time to actually live his own life in the real world instead of following their life via the virtual one.

I found his experience interesting and listen to other people experience with Facebook. Why do they get hooked or why do they escape the addiction?

Let's face it, many facebooker are hooked on their smartphone enjoying sharing many moments of their day, including what they just ate or cooked or how beautiful the sunset is tonight. Many are posting pictures of their children so their friends and family can share the joy of seeing the little ones growing up, and this is true, we are sincerely enjoying those.

There are also those who are networking, speaking about themselves and their work, showing off how "good" they are doing or which "new friend" they made, what great party they just attended...

And in the teenage world, those posts can get nasty, teenager tend to use social network to gossip and in so, hurting the feeling of their target... oh well, we all read about cyber-bullying isn't it?

Adult are bullying and gossiping too but in a different way. First they accept anyone who want to be friend with them, even those they do not appreciate in real life and those they do not even know, for them what is important is to have a lot of "friends". Then, they start to post information that seems totally casual but are hurtful for certain. It could be the office's party where one coworker was not aware of (not invited), it could be the get away week-end of a few girlfriends while one of them was totally left out, it could be a mom posting the picture of a birthday's party or a sleep-over where one of her kid's friend was not invited, or the picture of a friend's husband in a pretty good company (not his wife for sure)... In all those post, only the target understand and get hurt, and those type of behavior are encouraged by some TV shows or movies, like "Revenge" on ABC feeds on gossip and bullying, manipulation and destruction.

Another temptation of Facebook: Voyeurism! This one can become addictive too. Exactly like the neighbor buying a telescope to spy on people around him, or like those old people in small villages in Europe who sit most of the day on the bench in the center square to see what is happening and what others are doing. The same way, some facebooker just want to know what their "friends" are doing, they want to be informed at all time even if none of those of their information are of their concern.

So I told my young friend that as much as I miss seeing his beautiful pictures, I totally understood his choice. Personally I did open a facebook page because one of my friend refused to post picture of her son anywhere else :-) She is a really close friend of mine and I really enjoy seeing her little one growing up. It actually happens that another on of my close friend do exactly like her and here again I do enjoy seeing pictures of her 4 girls so my facebook account is useful.  But I do not have much friend on it, only a few who, like those two, are mostly using it to give news from time to time.

I would not want to let Facebook or any other social network pollute my life or the one of my children. We already have so little free time to enjoy, I would not like to see them wasted it in the virtual world.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

social media affecting our children

It is interesting to thing for a moment about the consequence of the use of technology on our brain and even more on our children's brain. Technology fascinate our children even more as us, parents, are using it intensively. Internet is a magnificent tools, it is undeniable, it is a source of knowledge where our children, as us. can find mostly all the answer to their question. it is a great help for research but...Hank Pellissier wrote an interesting article about how social media can potentially influence our children, here are some part of it:

Social network sadness?

A 2012 University of Belgrade study of 160 high school students determined that “online social networking is related to depression,” — but that additional research would be needed to determine whether or not Facebook is triggering depression.
This finding was echoed by a 2013 University of Michigan study in which researchers report the more time participants spent on Facebook, “the more their life satisfaction levels declined over time." The study noted that this negative effect didn't happen from interacting with others in real life. On the surface, Facebook is an invaluable resource for fulfilling the basic human need for social connection. Rather than enhancing well-being, however, these findings suggest that Facebook may undermine it.

International cyberbully

A 2012 poll conducted by The Global Research Company Ipsosshowed even higher numbers: 12 percent of parents around the world reported that their child has been cyberbullied and 26 percent reported knowing a child in their community who has experienced cyberbullying. Of those, a majority (60 percent) said the harassment occurred on social networking sites like Facebook.

Risky behavior

A study published May 2014 in the Journal of Adolescent Healthstudied 1,563 tenth graders from five Southern California high schools to determine how much social media use affects adolescent risk behaviors like smoking, drinking, and doing drugs. The researchers’ conclusions were disturbing. They warn: “Exposure to risky online content had a direct impact on adolescents' risk behaviors… friends' online behaviors should be considered a viable source of peer influence.”

Parenting in the age of technology

Are there any simple rules for monitoring a child’s technology — whether it means video gamestabletscell phonesTV or social media? Unfortunately, there's still so much we don't know about the long-term effects of technology on the brain. But since technology isn't going anywhere, parents need to think carefully about the role it plays in our children's lives. "Every child is different, so it is difficult to draw hard-and-fast rules, but I think wise parents go for less tech use rather than more," concludes psychologist Jane Healy, author of, Failure to Connect.
In the end, it’s vital to remember that your kids are watching you. The old adage “Do as I say, not as I do” just doesn’t work when it comes to technology. If your face is pasted to an electronic screen most of the time, your impressionable offspring will consider that normal — and do the same. Shut off all gizmos regularly and enjoy face-to-face conversation. Take your children outside, without digital toys, and enjoy the wind, sunshine, trees, and flowers. Growing brains need the kind of nourishment that technology — no matter how sophisticated and bewitching — can never supply.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

another video game under the radar: Clash of Clan

Let's look at the popular online game Clah od Clan and ask ourselves some question before letting our children get exposed to it...

Clash of Clans is a strategy game where players can construct and expand one's village, unlock successively more powerful warriors and defensesraid and pillage resources from other villages, create and join Clans and much, much more. A multiplayer game, Clash of Clans allows players to build their community, train troops, and attack other players to earn gold and elixir while building their own defenses to protect against attackers. Players can also use the chat feature to communicate with others and join clans to aid each other.

So already, this is a game of war, I get it. You build, you attack and you get attacked.

Paula Marner wants parents to be careful with "free" gaming apps for their kids.
The Canadian mother's warning comes after she discovered that her twin 7-year-old boys charged $3,000 worth of in-app purchases while playing Clash of Clans on her iPad, according to CBC News.
Marner thought it would be fine to let her boys use the app. What she didn't know was that even though Clash of Clans was free to download, players could make in-app purchases.
Clash of Clans Revenue at $654,000 Per Day, Third Best Performing Freemium Title Worldwide
You may also want to read what this teacher say about her experience with the game:
You may also wnat to read how this video game can be a great opportunity for pedophile:
and how about cyberbullying:
Over all, I would personally recommend to have a good conversation with any kid playing or wanting to play that game. First about the value that this game carry, are they positive value?
it is important that the child stay aware:
  • In app purchases are tempting and can lead to pestering (or a big bill if in-app purchases aren’t switched off in parental controls)
  • Addictive structure (bearing in mind, the debate about “computer/gaming addiction” rages on)
  • Global Chat allows contact with strangers; predators have been reported to use the site
  • harassment/bullying  that can emerge at school between students who share a clan, etc
  • Exposure to swearing and nastiness in global chat and clan chat (there is a filter, but itdoesn’t appear to be effective)
  • Emotional arousal

Monday, May 19, 2014

Is there a TV in your child's room?

Research shows having a boob tube in your kiddo's bedroom can be far more damaging than we ever knew.

By Jessica Kelmon
The average person will watch nine years of TV. Nine. Years.
And it starts early. The average American youth spends roughly 900 hours in school each year — and about 1,200 hours a year watching TV. (To do the math: 1,200 hours is 150 school days.)
Not cringing yet? In one study, kids ages 4 to 6 were asked whether they'd like to spend time with their dad or watch TV — 54 percent of them picked pixels over pops.
The stats, compiled by Statistic Brain and culled from a Neilsen survey are an unsettling reminder of the monumental space TV takes up in our children's lives.
Along with these sobering stats, there's an abundance of additional research that shows a link between having a TV in a child's room and their health and academic success. Spoiler alert: it's not good news.

Do most children have a TV in their room?

An estimated 71 percent of American kids ages 8 to 18 have a TV in their room. One study found 70 percent of third graders had bedside boob tubes. My childhood self is envious: as a kid, I campaigned relentlessly — and unsuccessfully — for a TV in my room. (I did, however, wrangle a red plastic lips phone.) And yet both of my brothers got in-room TVs. My partner also grew up with a TV in his room. All three boys were gamers — and I think these personal TVs were really strategies for getting Duck Hunt and Donkey Kong (and their infernal electronic beeping) out of the living rooms.
Turns out, this scenario may be pretty typical — the boys getting TVs, that is. A longitudinal survey out of Dartmouth — a telephone survey of 6,522 boys and girls ages 10 to 14 — asked specifically whether kids had TVs in their bedroom. In the first survey in 2003, 59 percent of kids had TVs in their room. The TV-havers were predominantly boys, minorities, and children in families of lower socioeconomic status.
Here's the really bad news: researchers followed the kids and their parents two and four years later and discovered a TV in your bedroom is linked with both being overweight and continuing to gain weight. Two years in, kids with TVs in their rooms reported higher BMIs. After two more years, their BMIs had grown again. What's particularly noteworthy is that obesity isn't linked isn't to the hours of TV being watched. It's to the presence of the TV in their room.
Why? The study authors speculate that these kids see more junk food TV ads or have their sleep patterns disrupted by the light TV emits. Certainly, having a TV in a child's bedroom sets kids up to be sedentary and isolated — choosing, day after day and hour after hour, to be alone and immobile — an unhealthy way of life for any child. A private television's connection to childhood obesity, the researchers observed, suggests that removing TVs from kids' rooms may be "an important step in our nation's fight against child obesity."

The hidden TV in your child's room

Older studies reveal more troubling TV trends. Kids with TVs in their rooms read less, score lower on tests in school, tend to have sleep issues, and may be more likely to smoke in adolescence.
Before parents who've never permitted a big glowing blue box, LCD, or flat screen into their child's sanctuary congratulate themselves for standing firm, consider this: tablet ownership in families with young kids has exploded. In 2011, 8 percent of all families had iPads; in 2013, that figure was 40 percent, according to Common Sense Media. What's more, as of 2013, 75 percent of children 8 years old and younger have access to a smartphone or a tablet. All of these findings add up to the fact that it's never been easier — TV or no TV — for children to be transfixed by endless hours of videos on YouTube, TV shows on Hulu, and movies on Netflix from the comfort of their rooms.
What will be the outcome for this screen-saturated generation? Stay tuned.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Minecraft is not real, tell your kids!

I got very upset as I was reading my child magazine named Science and life, when I read a 4 pages article about Minecraft. Even if it was under the label "video games" it still looked a lot like a commercial. Unhappily it was not presented like a commercial :-(

It was a few paragraphs under the subject Minecraft on a science mood. Each paragraph had a specific subject and include link to the game.

For example, the first paragraph which is the easiest to analyse for any one knowing music and playing a musical instrument, even if one is a beginner, so, the first paragraph is about composing music! It tells you how wonderful minecraft is as it allow the player to compose even if he is the dummies ever in music. Using some musical bloc you may compose, for example by clicking 3 times on it you produce a B and if you click 11 times it would be a F!
I guess it is the Morse code for music?

Then it tells you how wonderful it would be to reunite IN minecraft with you fellow "new type of musician" and make a band!
Honestly? anyone who learn a little about music would react to this.
So the naive kid will go for it and believe that he is living a wonderful experience, being at last able to play music?

And the article goes on: another subject is explore geophysics with minecraft, and then it is about quantum physic...

And this is supposed to be an article!!!
So I had to explain to my child that this was not an article! that if it was, the journalist would have done a research and expose more than one point of view. For example, the journalist would have interview a musician or a quantum physician to have is view on the subject: a good way to confront virtuality and reality.

I totally dislike minecraft, and the situation with it remind me about the baby Einstein video issue. At that time, Disney was trying to convince parents that those video were good for their babies, that they will make them more intelligent like Einstein. It was a success for a while, many parents felt for it and believed all of this. Well, I guess it was also convenient to believe as they were feeling comfortable that way putting their baby in front of the screen...

Anyway, after a long battle of parents, doctors and researchers proving that not only it was not making their baby smarter but it was actually bad for them, the whole baby Einstein period went away.

Now it is minecraft with all those preteen getting addicted to it and I guess many parents falling for it as well because... it is also convenient isn't it?

Kids stay for hours busy on their computer and parents can be free to do whatever they want instead of entertaining them, driving around, or sharing some precious time with them.
Well, not all the parents are feeling that way, you may want to read what some parents are saying about the game:

Monday, March 03, 2014

Your Baby Can’t Read (and that’s just fine)

in 2011, CCFC filed a complaint with the FTC against the makers of Your Baby Can Read for falsely advertising that their infant video series taught reading. That complaint led to a landmark decision by the FTC against Your Baby Can Read. Now, a new study validates our complaint. Researchers found no difference in the reading skills of babies who used Your Baby Can Read and babies who didn't. In fact, babies can't learn to read. We hope these results will be a relief to parents pressured by marketers to push infants toward reading (and screens). They should also be a relief to babies who are now free to play, explore, and have fun with the adults who love them—activities proven promote learning in those important early years! You can read more about the study here