Tag Archives: Blog 5

Positive Versus Negative Effects of Social Media on Children and Adolescents

Social media has now been around long enough for us to see the effects it can have on not only us, but our children. Are those effects positive? Are they negative? Let’s discuss the two opposing views.

Five aspects of social media use:

  1. Few restrictions on expression
  2. Easily share information
  3. Support one another (“Likes”)
  4. Various forms of expression
  5. Socialize in an alternative setting

Positive Effects

According to Angela Barnes and Christine Laird from an article about the effects of social media on children, there are many ways that social media can be used in both positive and negative ways. Regarding the positive aspects, Barnes and Laird state that social media opens the doors for creativity, interactive learning, and the ability to connect with others who share common interests. They continue this idea by stating that social networking can help students connect, as face-to-face interaction may seem more daunting at a younger age.

Negative Effects

On the opposing side, Barnes and Laird state that social media may also have negative effects on children and adolescence. The first negative effect that is mentioned is its impact on mental health. They state that “the level of effect, according to research, seems to go up as teens’ use goes up. Their level of contentment can decrease, and their likelihood of getting into trouble or being depressed can increase” (Rideout, 2010). Another concerning aspect mentioned is the issue of cyberbullying. With many different forms of social media, come many different ways young adults are allowed to oppress and intimidate those who are perceived as more vulnerable. The difference between bullying and cyberbullying is the fact that children, adolescents and even adults are the victims of not only negative comments from peers face-to-face, but from a whole network of complete strangers online.

The use of social media is a powerful thing. We have found that it holds both positive and negative effects, so the most important thing you can do is to pay attention to your child’s level of usage and keep open communication about what they experience online.

Why aren’t more people talking about cults?

I remember a while back I read about a cult called NXIVM that operated at a pyramid scheme, but was basically a sex cult that was exposed for manipulating women into getting branded. I was like “Whoa! This is a thing?” and then I realized that of course its a thing, and the only reason we aren’t hearing more about cults right now is because cults don’t want to be exposed for what they are to the public.


I am definitely just a person who is fascinated by the mystery of the cult. I played a video game last year called Far Cry 5 that was based on a red neck cult taking over rural Montana, and I watch basically any documentary or television show about cults that I come across.

The most recent documentary on a cult I saw was about a cult I have always been fascinated by called the Bhagwan Shree Rashneesh. The documentary was called Wild Wild Country, and they basically did take over a rural city in Oregon, and eventually their practices lead to violence, and ultimately the poisoning of 700 people by contaminating the local water system with Salmonella.

Many people think that cults are a thing of the past, simply because the extreme cult groups of the 70’s-90’s have crumbled from within, with a few ultimately leading to criminal convictions or mass suicide.

We still clearly live alongside cults, but they have gotten better at hiding their intentions. Many say (myself included) that Scientology is a cult, and clearly we just found out about NXIVM and the brainwashing and manipulation of many young women who were branded with their logo.

To learn more about cults of old and new, read this list of podcasts about cults.


Is Social Media Bullshit?


In my next three blogs, I’ll focus on the current and future state of social media, especially its connection to marketing, public relations, and society. I hope to shed some wisdom on the subject from my perspective as a professional in the media and non-profit industries, while referencing our class readings.

In the wake of the recent Parkland school shooting, social media has been used as a critical tool by all sides to politicize and capitalize on the event. However, it is the youth who have been outmaneuvering and outdoing their adult counterparts on social media during this movement.

For example, when Donald Trump, Jr. “liked” two news article that pushed the notion that a few vocal Parkland students were hired actors, one of the students reached out to Melania Trump – who has a White House initiative to stop cyber-bullying – to ask:

Screen Shot 2018-03-16 at 4.51.26 PM

A “like” on Twitter by Donald Trump Jr. can have a enormous effect because he has over 2 million followers, who will inevitably perpetuate the false news. The result of the youth strategically, and naturally, pushing back through social media has resulted in Melania Trump supporting the youth and a recent meeting with one of the Parkland survivors.

This is a good example of the effectiveness of social media as a public relations and social engagement tool. But on the other side of the coin is the equally adept, but terrifying, use of social media to motivate and activate the Parkland school shooter, as well as others who have come before him. (I’m intentionally omitting the Parkland shooter’s name as to not bring him more attention, which was part of his motivation.) The Parkland school shooter and others have used social media to promote their twisted agenda, to learn how to kill effectively and efficiently, and to gain support for their actions.

So is social media bullshit?

I feel that B. J. Mendelson’s book “Social Media is Bullshit” is a misleading title. It’s not that social media is bullshit, it’s that certain individuals are bullshit and they use tools to further their horrible agendas. The book’s author, B. J. Mendelson, asserts, “All marketers, professional or amateur, are full of crap.” This statement and too many others in his book are expressed absolutes and hyperbolical.toolbelt

I’ve been working in the media industry for the past 20 years and the non-profit industry for nearly the past 10 years. Since my background and experiences are more rooted in traditional media (Film, TV, radio, print, etc.), I can see the evolution from previous forms of media to today’s, with the evolution of technology.

Similar to the past, it’s not that media, or even social media, is “bullshit”. Media is simply a tool. As with all tools, it can be used for good and it can also be used for bad. Take a hammer for instance. A hammer is a useful tool when building something. However, in the wrong hands, it could also be used as a weapon to kill someone. Again, the same instrument is merely a tool.


Battling Parkinson’s Disease with Grace was Ali’s Greatest Fight

With the recent passing of Muhammed Ali, I don’t really think about his boxing career. Instead, I think about his strength and grace as he battled Parkinson’s. He was such a strong man whose life changed forever by a progressively debilitating disease.

Another strong man touched by Parkinson’s is my father. I have seen firsthand how the disease effects a person’s quality of life. Like many people, I associated Parkinson’s with the severe tremors that actor Michael J. Fox suffers from. When my father was diagnosed five years ago with the disease, he never experienced tremors, so I thought the doctor got the diagnosis wrong.


Movement symptoms of Parkinson’s

My dad was an avid walker. He walked a couple miles each morning around my parents’ neighborhood. Everyone knew the social Irishman. After a couple of falls on his walks, which he contributed to the uneven pavement, he changed his routine to walking indoors. He met up with his friends at HarMar—a regular place for walkers. Not long after, he noticed that his legs were always feeling stiff and that his paced was slowing down. I thought he simply needed to do more stretches.

However, my mom noticed that dad’s gait was changing from regular steps to more of a shuffle. He finally went to the doctor when the pain in his legs became unbearable. Originally, the doctor sent him to physical therapy, but it only provided temporary relief. Next, they gave him cortisone shots to relief the pain. Again, the benefits didn’t last long. Eventually, they sent my dad to see a neurologist. The diagnosis came back as Rigidity Parkinson’s Disease. Our family had never heard of that form of the disease. We now know that the four main motor symptoms of Parkinson’s are:

  • Tremors
  • Slowness of movement
  • Stiffness, and
  • Trouble with balance

There is no cure for Parkinson’s. However, there are medications that can provide mild relief from the symptoms. The National Parkinson’s Foundation is a great resource for families to learn about the disease and find support.

It’s hard to see all of things that Parkinson’s is taking away from my dad. But, like Muhammed Ali he is fighting it with strength and grace.

Don’t Settle for Less; Settle for Less Money

I would assume that many of you have had an internship, have an internship currently, or will have an internship in the future. I fall into the “have an internship currently” category. Personally, at this point in my life, I am happier than I’ve ever been. Coming into this summer, there has been a definite shift in me and I think I’ve figured out why.

At the end of April, I quit my job that I had held for a year and was not fond of at all. I was working at a small medical device company as a Quality Coordinator. This sounds fine, right? Well, no, that’s not right—I was never really trained in because, when they hired me, I was the only employee in the quality department. Having no experience in this field (which the company fully knew in the interview), I seemed to be hired to scrounge around and figure it out. I was up to the challenge, but alarmed that there was no training or development offered to me. I was so disgruntled everyday because no one gave—pardon my French—two shits about me being there and not having any experience. I basically ended up sitting around all day trying to teach myself, which was a little complicated because regulatory/quality work is not always (or ever) a piece of cake.

That job had to come to an end, but I wanted to stick it out for at least a year so it wouldn’t look bad on my résumé. In March, I had the opportunity to reconnect with an old friend I hadn’t seen in probably five years. We caught each other up on our lives and he told me about a business he started (with someone else I know!) called Shema.

Shema is a benefit corporation and ethical clothing manufacturer that is working to alleviate poverty and empower women who have previously been enslaved and/or trafficked. Their goal is to plant 25 sewing co-ops in S.E. Asia in the next 5 years that will employ these vulnerable women so that they do not have to return to selling themselves (as many rescued survivors do). These sewing co-ops are not a means to an end, but rather a springboard into the future, whether that be education or other job opportunities.

The reason I’m telling you all of this is because I was offered an internship at Shema in March! After learning more about the opportunity, there was no way I couldn’t jump on it! So, here I am now: I’m their social media/communication intern this summer. I quit my decently paying job for an unpaid internship (with some criticism from family and friends). So, why did I do it?

I felt that Shema was where I was supposed to be. The job description consists of everything I’ve had recurring thoughts about wanting to do or wanting to learn in the past 8 months (i.e. social media, writing, photography, videography, etc.) There is plenty of opportunity for all of these things. However, the bigger reason I wanted to do this internship was because I wanted to do something that I found meaning in and that would impact the world around me. I was feeling extremely burnt out at my other job because I wasn’t utilizing my strengths and I wasn’t excited about their mission/company.

With sacrificing my income, I am happier than ever because I’m doing something that is life-giving (to me); I am not settling at my other job anymore just because it paid the bills. Now, I understand that this can be a lot more complicated for other people—it definitely was complicated for me too, but I encourage you to understand your strengths and your weaknesses and focus on strengthening your strengths! Maybe this is in regard to work or major at school or whatever it may be, but I’m telling you: do something that is challenging (strengthen your strengths) but not suffocating (like my other job was because I was trying to exercise my weaknesses).

In the words of Ramon Pastrano (ImpactLives CEO and strengths-based leadership trainer), “There is no such thing as a well-rounded person, but rather strong people that make a well-rounded team.”