Regretting that time I posted to Doritos’ Facebook page

By Guest Author AJ Schock, adrianne.schock found on wsu.edu

I am certain that everyone has posted something online that they regret. Statistics have shown that 11-46% of adolescents have reported experiencing online regret after sharing content on the Internet.

In the article about online regret, Dhir et al. focused on two main research topics. First, they examined the relationship between Social Networking Sites’ (SNS) brand participation, technology accessibility, and the regret experience and problematic use of Facebook. The second involved the relative influence of SNS’ brand participation, technology accessibility, and the problematic use of Facebook in predicting regrettable online experiences.

In four different cities in Northern India, 804 adolescent (aged 13 to 14 years old) Facebook users were given a pencil-and-paper survey in class on four separate concepts:

  1. Online regret: Did the student feel sad after spending an immense amount of time on Facebook? Was their schoolwork affected by their time spent on Facebook? The students’ answers were measured on a 5-point scale with ‘1’ being strongly disagree and ‘5’ being strongly agree
  2. SNS brand participation: Did the student feel that by participating in discussions on Facebook, brand pages gave them a sense of belonging to said brands? The students’ answers were measured on a 5-point scale with ‘1’ being strongly disagree and ‘5’ being strongly agree.
  3. Technology accessibility: Students reported how they accessed Facebook by answering whether or not they owned a cell phone, had a mobile Internet connection and an Internet connection at home. This measure also dealt with the frequency and excessive use of Facebook.
  4. Problematic Facebook use: Students reported their self-reflections of their own problematic Facebook use, their teachers, parents, and friends’ thoughts about the student’s problematic Facebook use, and conflicts with their parents and friends due to their problematic Facebook use. The students’ answers were measured as unproblematic, low problem level, medium problem level, and high problem level.

Dhir and colleagues found that students with and without home and mobile Internet had the same amount of regrettable online experiences while students with cell phones experienced higher online regret than those without. They determined adolescent brand participation results in online regret. The authors suggested that a possible reason for this is that adolescents are currently captivated with popular brands.  An internal need exists for adolescents to connect with these brands by following the brands on Facebook or participating in a discussion on these pages.

Why would research on brands and regrettable online experiences be important? Branded pages on Facebook face two major problems: retaining existing members and initiating the active participation of community members. Regrettable online experiences lead to brand switching and the termination of services. Managers and administrators of these branded pages should explore different ideas to provide their community members with ways to actively participate without experiencing online regret. Active participation would lead to better ways to retrieve feedback and opinions from users while minimizing the regrettable experience.

Dhir, A., Kaur, P., Chen, S., & Lonka, K. (2016). Understanding online regret experience in Facebook use – Effects of brand participation, accessibility & problematic use. Computers in Human Behavior, 59, 420-430. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2016.02.040

The importance of security in young teenage boys and girls

classphoto courtesy of ctsnowBy Guest Author Samantha Krause

I have often seen other people who do not have close relationships with their peers as weird, or just not sociable. However, it seems having a close relationship with my parents has strengthened my own, personal ability to have stronger relationships with my friends than others. We often do not think about how a person’s relationships at home can affect other relationships and aspects of that person.

In a survey of 223 sixth graders (109 girls) Dwyer and colleagues assessed their attachment, ability to adapt socially, and friendship quality off three basic tests in which they took in pairs:

  • Security Scale: the amount of security the child feels based on their own relationships with their parents at home.
  • Attributions and Coping Questionnaire: giving something/someone (in this case, the child’s friends) a reason for acting the way they do, and then deciding how to deal with the given situation.
  • Friendship Quality Questionnaire: evaluating the relationships the child shares with his/her close friends.

The results indicate that children with higher levels of security at home with their mother and father likely felt higher levels of security within their relationships with friends. Having high levels of security in the home also improved the reported self-esteem and self-confidence in a child, enabling them to be stronger individuals later in life.  If they had a low level of security, they reported feeling sad and had a harder time building and sustaining lasting, strong relationships. Lower levels of security often lead to a greater chance that the child would develop negative coping strategies, such as revenge, emotional responses, and avoidance all together.

So, parents should try to create a positive chemistry in the house and raise their children in such a way that they feel a strong security in their relationships with their mother and father. Mother’s and the father’s should have individual relationships with their children. Since boys and girls react differently to each relationship, the importance of having a strong relationship and security with both parents individually is crucial. The stronger these relationships are the more likely the child will thrive in their other relationships as they get older. S/he will have a more balanced social life, as well as a healthy psychological well-being.

Dwyer, K., Fredstrom, B., Rubin, K., Booth-LaForce, C., Rose-Krasnor, L., Burgess, K. (2010). Attachment, social information processing, and friendship quality of early adolescent girls and boys. Journal of Social & Personal Relationships, 27, 91-116.

Are Teens Hiding Behind The Screen?

By Guest Author Jonathan Nielsen

picture of doll sitting in empty stadium“R U 4 real?” The use of phrases like this demonstrate how technology has managed to merge itself with the social life of teenagers in the form of instant messaging, text messaging and social networking sites such as Facebook. A little observation will tell anyone that a large percentage of a teen’s time is spent texting on his or her phone or chatting online. With so much time devoted to these activities, researchers want to know if there are any side effects.

Pierce set out to examine the effects that teen usage of these technologies might have on their social life. She conducted a study that sought to determine if there was a relationship between recent social technologies and shyness among teenagers. In the study, 280 teenagers answered survey questions regarding how much time they spend on socially interactive technologies such as text messaging, instant messaging, and social networking sites. In addition to finding out how much time teenagers spent on these technologies, the survey also asked questions regarding each teen’s feelings toward face-to-face communication.

The results revealed a clear connection between social introversion and the socially interactive technologies. Those who disliked personal communication were more likely to use socially interactive technologies. This suggests that these new technologies are providing shy individuals with a comfortable means of communication, while replacing any opportunities that these individuals may have had to get over their timidity by practicing face-to-face communication. Lastly, the author concludes that since these technologies are relatively new, society has yet to discover all of the possible consequences.

With the results of this study in mind, it is crucial for teens to evaluate their personal use of these technologies. Do they substitute personal time with friends for time on Facebook? Do they text their friends more than they call them? Are they using these technologies as a way to avoid their social anxieties? As foreign as these problems may be to parents and teachers, the answers to these questions are important to a teen’s future success in life. Face-to-face communication is vital in the workplace, and many teenagers may not be properly developing the necessary interpersonal skills; therefore, these questions must not be avoided. All of this is to say that teenagers must come to realize that they are an experimental generation– No other generation has grown up using these social technologies, and the consequences of these technologies are poorly known.

Pierce, T. (2009). Social anxiety and technology: Face-to-face communication versus technological communication among teens. Computers in Human Behavior, 25, 1367-1372.

Texting While Driving as a Pre-Meditated Act

Texting while driving image of a road From DQMountaingirlAs any Oprah watcher can tell you, texting while driving is a problem. We can make it illegal (it is in a majority of States), but that doesn’t necessarily eliminate what to many still seems like an innocuous act. A coinciding approach involves looking at the reasons people engage in the behavior, and engaging motivations by starting with intentions. Nemme and White took this approach, a variation of the Theory of Planned Behavior, in their study of 17-24 year-old Australian students.

They looked at five factors that contributed to intention to text while driving:

  1. Attitude towards texting
  2. Subjective norm, or the person’s perceptions about how others feel about texting while driving
  3. Past behavior
  4. Group Norm, or if the people they know read or send text messages while driving
  5. Moral Norm, or if the person feels it is a right or wrong action

Following the theory of planned behavior, these factors lead to intention, which then leads to behavior (measured a week later as both sending and receiving texts). Perceived behavioral control, or how much control the person feels she/he has over his/her behaviors, also influences both intention and behavior.

They found that 1) attitude predicted intentions to send and read, 2) subjective norm and perceived behavior control predicted sending but not reading, 4) past behavior is the strongest predictor of intentions and behavior, and 4) adding group norms and moral norms (an addition to the Theory of Planned Behavior) strengthened the model they posited in the paper.

Ultimately, one of the best ways to deter people involves stressing that driving while texting is a shameful behavior, and that your friends do not do it, nor do they approve of it. Think of how you never thought a thing of one-time-only usage bags for your groceries, until you realized you were one of the only people who didn’t bring their own. Others retain a large hold on our behaviors even though we would like to think we left this behind long-ago in high school.

Nemme, H. E., & White, K. M. (2010). Texting while driving: Psychosocial influences on young people’s texting intentions and behavior. Accident Analysis and Prevention, 42, 1257-1265.

More Evidence that Online Communication Leads to Feelings of Closeness to Others

By Guest Author Hannah A.

Once again, one of the primal questions of how people relate on the Internet–is the presence of Internet communication helping or harming their relationships? In this case, we look at teenagers and pre-teenagers.

794 Dutch adolescents, between the ages of 10-16, were given a series of questionnaires within their school classrooms.  The research conducted by Valkenburg and Peter focused upon three main points:

  • How Internet communication affects closeness to friends
  • How the users perceive the breadth and depth of the communication
  • How loneliness and social anxiety could alter the results

Teenagers use Internet to help relationships by Frerieke; Internet relationships; teenagers Their research leaned toward the hypothesis that most adolescents use the Internet to become closer with the friends that they already have, as opposed to using it to talk to strangers.  They found that, in addition, adolescents feel closer to their friends when they talk to them on the Internet, showing that this communication only helps strengthen the relationships in all age groups that were tested.

In regards to how much breadth and depth can be reached through online communication, 30% of the sampled group thought that online communication can be more effective for self disclosure and sharing private information than offline discussions.

Lastly, this study supported the rich-get-richer hypothesis, in that it showed most adolescents who pursue online communication are generally not lonely or socially anxious. Rather, doing so enhances existing relationships or promotes new ones.

The evidence here suggests that the Internet is not having a negative effect on the lives or development of adolescents in this generation, at least in terms feelings of connectedness to others.  For parents, this means not worrying if that if your child talks with their friends online, this can indicate anti-social behavior.  They are disconnected from the real world, but rather are enhancing their relationships.  For adolescents, this study indicates that reliance should not be solely on the internet, but on the symbiosis that can be achieved with existing friendships and those online.

Valkenburg. P.M., & Peter, J. (2007). Preadolescents’ and Adolescents’ Online Communication and Their Closeness to Friends. Developmental Psychology, 43, , 267-277.

How and Why Students Use Instant Messaging

By Guest Author Carolyn Borsch

Ding: You have 12 billion messages. Well, maybe not, but that’s how many instant messages (IMs) get sent each day, worldwide, among 510 million users.

Quan-Haase examined a wide-range of studies involving North American college and middle/high school students regarding their instant messaging habits, with whom they use IM to communicate, and the effects of IM on their social and academic life. Quan-Haase made the following baseline observations:

  • High use abounds across the board.
  • Speed, availability of information, and support for multiple conversations and multitasking attract students to this form of communication.
  • IM is used to form and maintain communities and social ties, minimizes the gap felt between long distance communicators (like friends back home), and increase closeness– sense of psychological connection between two people.
  • IM is informal, and convenient to send messages not phone call worthy.
  • Certain features help maintain and promote students’ identity.
  • IM is used to stay in touch with classmates, friends, family members, and to meet new people. However, it is used more frequently to talk with friends on campus than friends back home.
  • In-person meetings are still important, even though they take place less often.
  • There is an increase in the use of IM by faculty and staff at universities. Professors hold virtual office hours and use IM to connect students with libraries for reference help.

On the plus side, IM provides a new environment for collaboration with peers, professors, librarians, technicians, and other experts. It also correlates with greater numbers of social ties (something that more recent studies continue to indicate). However, possible negative effects include 1) the diminished quality of a student’s writing- very few professors actually think that writing quality has declined since the introduction of the internet, 2)  multitasking leading to less attention on homework and studying, interfering with a student’s focus, and 3) students find it difficult to ignore an IM.

Capturing and measuring IM use can be difficult, as many different levels of engagement exist.  Quan-Haase suggests measuring IM use by initially measuring overall time logged in, measuring time spent screening IM users, time spent reading/writing IM messages, time spent checking the IM buddy list, and time spent on administrative tasks like updating profile information.

Quan-Haase, A. (2008). Instant Messaging on campus: Use and integration in university students’ everyday communication. The Information Society, 24, 105-115.