Social Media: Relationship Enhancer or Nah?

Throughout the years my experiences with social media have changed quite a bit. In the beginning I used AIM and chatted with several of my friends. Then I created a profile on Facebook in the 8th grade, which was heavily monitored by my father. Soon after that, I got a MySpace account, which was also monitored by my dad. Now I use Twitter, Facebook, Vine, Instagram, and Snapchat on the daily. No matter what platform I use now or have used in the past, they all have one thing in common, they take up time. At school, before, after, and in between classes I’m constantly on social media sites on my phone, which I use through Apps. It’s honestly pathetic how much I’m on them. 

Due to the loss of valuable time, I’ve taken vacations from social media sites and cut back on how much I’m on my phone. One year I think I took a 4 month break from Facebook. Although it helped me occupy my time in other/better ways, I kept thinking about how many notifications I was going to have. I would spend some of the time I wasn’t physically on Facebook, thinking about Facebook. It was ridiculous. 

When it comes to connecting to people through this medium, I don’t think its very effective. Sure, I like some of my cousin’s pictures and post old pictures of me and my high school friends every Thursday, but other than that I don’t feel like my relationships are made stronger through this type of media. I get to see how other’s lives are going, or at least how they’re portrayed, but I don’t really feel like I’m improving or tending to relationships of those I can’t be with. I definitely don’t use social media to meet new people. I just have friends that I’ve met in the real world. Therefore, I have a multitude of “friends”/relationships, but they don’t compare to the quality of real life friends and family. 

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The way people use social media makes it shallow and can be used for the wrong reasons, such as cyberbullying. One way to make these online platforms more positively integrated is through making children in schools aware of the harmful effects of online harassment which were clearly demonstrated in the excerpt from the article. Also, instead of just scrolling and scrolling through pages, or stalking ex boyfriends, people could start to use this medium for more rewarding reasons, such as only getting on to talk to an old friend or distant family member. I feel like all of these sites have become superficial and a way for people to mask who they really are and portray themselves as who they want to be. There’s really no way to ensure that social media will only be used to enhance interpersonal communication. It’s developed into more of a popularity contest with people, especially teens, counting their likes/retweets/comments. Overall, social media can be used as a tool to connect with others, which was the original purpose for them. It just depends on how you decide to utilize these websites with great networking potential.

The Impact of Video Games

In today’s society video games are becoming more and more popular due to the App form of gaming on mobile devices. From what I can tell, a lot more people are involving themselves in the gaming world through their phones and even social networking sites, such as Facebook. My boyfriend’s mom doesn’t play video games on their Playstation, although her sons do. Instead, she uses her computer to access Facebook games, such as Candy Crush. I’ve played this game myself and had to delete the app because it was so addicting. I ended up dreaming about matching up the candies. It was pathetic. When analyzing these types of apps, there are similarities and differences to video games that require controllers and a system. For instance, both can become addictive and time consuming. My brother loves his Wii. He would play for hours into the night and not go to bed until 4:00 or 5:00 because he was trying to beat a level. The same can go for these apps. Potentially then can harm your health, but if they are constricted to only a certain amount of time per week/day, they aren’t really all that bad. One major difference in the two mediums of game playing is the desensitizing issue. I feel like mobile app games are not as detailed or realistic. They simply pass the time, whereas gaming system games can seem lifelike and can be detrimental to the mental health of the players. For example, my boyfriends little brother plays inappropriate games on a daily basis, where he kills people. Like stated in the book, the majority of game players are well out of their teens, which is who most people are concerned about. I’m not saying that he’s going to actually go do that in the real world, but I do think it desensitizes him. It also makes him lazy. He never wants to actually go outside and do something because the virtual world is so much cooler. In general, whether video games are on your phone or in your house, they make our society waste valuable time and hurt our health in many ways such as physical inactivity. 

Yet again, the media dependency theory goes hand in hand with another type of media, video games. The dependency relationship is asymmetrical. People depend on video games for a multitude of reasons: to pass the time, to fulfill their hobby, to have something to do with friends. The media companies don’t depend on their customers to play every single day, whereas the consumer could depend on the games and their systems on a daily basis. One way in which you could argue that the relationship is almost symmetrical, is if you incorporate the fact that the gaming system company depends on consumers to buy the newest systems and latests games that go with them. With mobile apps that are free have a one-way form of dependency involving the players, not the makers. But, apps that cost something are codependent. Again, the company needs the consumers to purchase the app and the consumer needs the app to fulfill whatever gaming need they may have. No matter the type of system, solitary play and social play come into action in the context of this theory. Not only do people play for their own entertainment, but they also use this form of media as a focus for social interaction. There are phone games that require multiple players, such as the app called Heads Up. The instructions have you place the phone, which is showing a word, on your forehead, while your teammates give you clues to try and make you say the word. Overall, the media dependency theory is directly relevant to the use of video games no matter the format.