Posts Tagged ‘ social media ’

Too Much Screen Time Can Decrease Kids’ Ability to Read Emotional Cues

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

Kids Who Use Technology Less Can Read Emotional Cues BetterThe amount of screen time you allow your kids can be a point of tension in many households. A new study published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior shows that increased digital use may actually affect pre-teens’ ability to read and interpret people’s nonverbal emotional and social cues.

According to The Los Angeles Times, two groups of children were given two tests, a pre- and a post-experiment test that asked them to decipher the emotions of people shown in photographs and videos. Afterwards, one group continued with their normal plugged-in lifestyle, while the other group spent five days outdoors with peers at a wilderness camp where all electronics (cellphones, televisions, and computers) were banned.

Researchers found that the kids who spent time away from technology scored better on their post-experience test, while those who didn’t scored about the same. This finding underscores the worry that many parents have about the negative impact of prolonged exposure to digital media. “Many people are looking at the benefits of digital media in education, and not many are looking at the costs,” said Patricia Greenfield, a senior author of the study from UCLA. “Decreased sensitivity to emotional cues — losing the ability to understand the emotions of other people — is one of the costs. The displacement of in-person social interaction by screen interaction seems to be reducing social skills.”

But the good news is that it only took the kids who attended camp a short amount of time improve their emotional recognition ability. And this new piece of research gives the evidence you need to get kids to turn off technology — at least for a few more hours — and interact with friends and family. “The main thing I hope people take away from this is that it is really important for children to have time for face-to-face socializing,” said Yalda Uhls, another author of the study and a Southern California regional director for Common Sense Media,

Would you ever consider asking your family to give up technology? Our Homeschool Den blogger is doing just that this week!

Setting Limits on Technology
Setting Limits on Technology
Setting Limits on Technology

Plus: If you’re hesitant about how to introduce technology to your little one, we’ll show you how with these media-minding tips.

Photo of children courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Pro-Marijuana Tweets Connecting with Kids Multiple Times Daily

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

As a growing number of states are legalizing marijuana or considering legislation to do so, pot’s public profile is on the rise–and so is its presence on Twitter and other social media sites.  A new study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research has found that a number of those tweets are reaching young people each day, with hundreds of thousands of American youth getting pro-pot messages through their Twitter feeds multiple times a day.

The study, which was conducted at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, followed a Twitter account, Weed Tweets@stillblazintho, which has 1 million followers.  Analyzing data over an 8-month period, during which time the group posted an average of 11 tweets a day, the study reported that 73 percent of the group’s followers were under age 19.

ScienceDaily has more:

“These are risky ages when young people often begin experimentation with drugs,” explained [principal investigator Patricia A.] Cavazos-Rehg, an assistant professor of psychiatry. “It’s an age when people are impressionable and when substance-use behaviors can transition into addiction. In other words, it’s a very risky time of life for people to be receiving messages like these.”

Cavazos-Rehg said it isn’t possible from this study to “connect the dots” between positive marijuana tweets and actual drug use, but she cites previous research linking substance use to messages from television and billboards. She suggested this also may apply to social media.

“Studies looking at media messages on traditional outlets like television, radio, billboards and magazines have shown that media messages can influence substance use and attitudes about substance use,” she said. “It’s likely a young person’s attitudes and behaviors may be influenced when he or she is receiving daily, ongoing messages of this sort.”

The researchers also learned that the Twitter account they tracked reached a high number of African-Americans and Hispanics compared with Caucasians. Almost 43 percent were African-American, and nearly 12 percent were Hispanic. In fact, among Hispanics, Weed Tweets ranked in the top 30 percent of all Twitter accounts followed.

“It was surprising to see that members of these minority groups were so much more likely than Caucasians to be receiving these messages,” Cavazos-Rehg said, adding that there is particular concern about African-Americans because their rates of marijuana abuse and dependence are about twice as high as the rate in Caucasians and Hispanics.

The findings point to the need for a discussion about the pro-drug messages young people receive, Cavazos-Rehg said.

Image: Tween holding a tablet, via Shutterstock

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Update: Investigators Find No Evidence in KFC Incident

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

Two investigations–one conducted by an independent company–have both failed to find any evidence to support the reported account that a 3-year-old girl and her grandmother were asked to leave a Jackson, Mississippi KFC restaurant because the girl’s scars and bandages were upsetting other customers.

The findings follow a media tidal wave that began with social media-fed outrage over the story that little Victoria Wilcher, who had survived a brutal attack by three pit bull dogs, had been humiliated and refused service in this way.  Then, after KFC’s corporate headquarters had pledged to pay $30,000 toward Victoria’s ongoing medical care, word surfaced that the story could not be corroborated and may have been a hoax.  This week, the Jackson franchise where the incident allegedly took place announced it was conducting both internal and independent investigations to establish what actually happened.

More from CNN on the investigators’ findings:

But Tuesday, KFC said it conducted two investigations, including one by an independent investigator, and neither revealed any proof that the scenario described to reporters and on social media actually occurred, KFC spokesman Rick Maynard said in a statement e-mailed to CNN.

The same day, the Victoria’s Victories page appeared to have been removed from Facebook. Shortly before it was taken down, this posting appeared: “I promise its not a hoax, I never thought any of this would blow up the way it has. … Please do not believe untrue media. I have personally watched this family go without to provide for Victoria. They have not and would not do anything to hurt Victoria in any way.”

After the family’s account became public, donations poured into the family’s fund-raising effort at www.gofundme.com. At the time, KFC left an apology on the Facebook page and pledged to donate $30,000 for Victoria’s treatment.

On Tuesday, the CEO of GoFundMe, Brad Damphousse, said in a statement that the fund-raising webpage was suspending the campaign and offering to refund donations.

“In lieu of the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the ‘Victoria’s Victories’ online fundraising effort, GoFundMe has temporarily suspended the campaign until the full truth is made clear,” the statement said.

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KFC Incident with Scarred Girl Under Investigation as Possible Hoax

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

The Jackson, Mississippi Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) restaurant at the center of a social media maelstrom after an employee reportedly asked a 3-year-old girl with drastic scars to leave the restaurant has apparently hired independent investigators to look into whether the alleged incident in fact took place.

Victoria Wilcher’s severe scars come from an attack she suffered a few months ago, apparently perpetrated by three pit bull dogs that belonged to her grandfather.  She was at the restaurant with her grandmother following a doctor’s appointment that is part of the girl’s ongoing care.  The family posted to its Facebook page that an employee stopped them and asked them to leave, saying that the scars and bandages were upsetting other customers.  After word of the incident went viral across social media outlets, the company apologized to the family, and spokesman Rick Maynard pledged that KFC would donate $30,000 toward Victoria’s medical bills.

Now the Jackson restaurant, which is a franchised business, has hired its own investigators because it says it can’t readily verify that that the incident took place as reported.  More from The Associated Press:

KFC spokesman Rick Maynard said the company is concerned that the Jackson restaurant’s internal investigation couldn’t verify the incident. An outside investigator will conduct an independent investigation, Maynard said.

KFC’s commitment of $30,000 to help with the child’s medical bills will not be affected by the investigation’s outcome, Maynard said.

….

Allegations that the child was asked to leave the restaurant were made earlier this month on the Facebook site Victoria’s Victories, which has followed the child’s recovery from the attack. KFC posted an apology the next morning and asked for more details about what happened.

Teri Rials Bates, the child’s aunt, runs the Victoria’s Victories Facebook page.

“I promise it’s not a hoax, I never thought any of this would blow up the way it has,” a post said. “I have personally watched this family go without to provide for Victoria. They have not and would not do anything to hurt Victoria in any way.”

 

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Fast Food Companies Using Social Media to Reach Young Customers

Thursday, November 7th, 2013

Fast food restaurant chains have slowed down televised advertisements, but they are ramping up efforts to market to younger customers by using social media outlets, according to a new study by the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity.  More from Time.com:

The researchers studied 18 of the top fast food chains in the U.S. and documented the changes in the nutritional quality of the food they served, as well as their marketing campaigns to kids and teens on TV and online.

Since 2010, kids between the ages of 6 to 11 saw 10% fewer TV ads for fast foods, and more of these ads included healthier meals, such as fruit snacks and salads.

But the positive trend also hid some less encouraging news. While the youngest kids were seeing fewer TV ads, older kids and teens still saw about three to five fast food advertisements on television every day. Appeals to teens on social media also surged, and while children saw more advertisements for healthier fast food options, these made up only a quarter of the fast food ads viewed by these kids, and only 1% of kids’ meals at these chains met healthy nutritional standards.

The results highlight the challenge that families face in improving children’s diets, as such enticements to consume high calorie, high fat meals continue to surround them. A recent study published in the journal PLOS One reported, for example, that fast food ads targeting kids were more likely to include toys and giveaways, which are a nearly irresistible draw for younger kids. And research suggests that these types of marketing campaigns seed lasting emotional connections to brands, making children more likely to continue eating at fast food chains and take their own families there as adults.

Image: Girl using a tablet, via Shutterstock
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