Archive for the ‘Research’ Category
Forty percent of people in a recent study said they would steer clear of someone who unfriended them on the popular social networking site. The top reason for unfriending? ‘Frequent, unimportant posts.’
“Unfriend” someone on Facebook whose posts you find annoying? A new study finds that that person may avoid you, forever.
Study author Christopher Sibona, a computer science doctoral student at the University of Colorado in Denver, says that while a lot of people use social networks as a source of entertainment, your Facebook actions “can have real world consequences.”
RELATED: USERS ‘UNFRIENDING’ FACEBOOK IN DROVES
He found that 40 percent of people surveyed said they would steer clear of anyone in real life who had unfriended them on Facebook. Another 10 percent were unsure. Women said they would avoid contact more than men.
The study, published this month by the Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, was based on 582 survey responses gathered via Twitter.
Sibona outlines the top four reasons people are unfriended on Facebook:
1. Frequent, unimportant posts
2. Polarizing posts usually about politics or religion
3. Inappropriate posts involving sexist, racist remarks
4. Being boring: drab posts about kids, food, etc.
However, being unfriended can trigger feelings of ostracism, which can have “important psychological consequences for those to whom it occurs.”
Girls send more than 220 texts a week, and 12- to 15-year-olds spend 17 hours a week on internet, research shows
The average 12- to 15-year-old has never met one in four of their “friends” on social networking websites such as Facebook, according to new research.
Telecoms and media regulator Ofcom’s annual Children and Parents: Media Use and Attitudes Report also found that teenage girls are the UK’s texting champions, sending more than 220 a week – a third more than boys.
The regulator’s latest research revealed that 12- to 15-year-olds on average spend 17 hours a week on the internet, matching TV viewing for the first time, and that potentially well over a third of three- and four-year-olds use the internet for TV and games.
More than 40% of five- to 15-year-olds who have internet access have a social networking profile, rising to 80% among 12- to 15-year-olds.
The latter age group has an average of 286 online friends and 93% of them claim they are confident they know about online safety.
Yet Ofcom’s report found that 12- to 15-year-old’s have not met an average of 25% of the friends they have made on sites such as Facebook, an average of 72 strangers per child.
“Children are not just using more media, they are also adopting some forms [of it] at a very young age,” said Claudio Pollack, consumer group director at Ofcom.
The report found that texting is most popular among 12- to 15-year-olds, who send an average of almost 200 texts a week, more than double the 91 that Ofcom’s report found last year.
Girls aged 12 to 15 are the most prolific texters, sending an average of 221 messages a week, 35% more than their male counterparts. This is more than four times the UK average of 50 texts per week.
There has been a 50% rise in smartphone ownership among this group year on year, with almost two thirds of 12- to 15-year-olds now owning one, according to Ofcom.
“Areas such as texting and smartphone ownership [among teenagers] are fast outstripping the general population,” said Pollack. “This highlights the challenge that some parents face in keeping up with their children when it comes to technology, and in understanding what they can do to protect children.”
Almost 80% of parents claim that they have rules about their children’s internet usage, although less than half have parental controls installed on their home computers.
Are people getting compulsive about their smartphones? The results of a survey released yesterday by mobile app developer Lookout suggests so.
Analyzing trends in emotions and behavior related to smartphones in its “Mobile Mindset Study,”
Lookout found that as people increasingly come to rely on their smartphones, they are increasingly checking them while in bed, in the bathroom, at the dinner table and while driving.
According to the results of the survey:
- 58% of smartphone owners said they don’t go an hour without checking their phone
- 54% of smartphone owners said they check their phones while lying in bed: before they go to sleep, after they wake up
- Nearly 4 out of 10 people (39%) check their phones while using the bathroom
Growing usage is also challenging existing etiquette, according to Lookout:
- 30% check their phones during a meal
- 24% check their phones while driving
- Nearly 1 in 10 (9%) check their phones during religious services at a house of worship
There’s even a psychological term that’s been engendered as people’s attachment to mobile phones grows to the point where extreme fear sets in if they’re without one: nomophobia.
- Lookout’s survey found that 94% of people are concerned about losing their phone
- When asked to select which feeling they best identified with when they lost their phone, 73% reported feeling “panicked” and 14% reported feeling “desperate”
“Our phones are our lifeline, from sharing photos with social networks to shopping and managing bank accounts,” said Alicia diVittorio, Lookout’s mobile safety advocate. “The findings establish that our attachment to smartphones is driving a new mobile mindset. Our behaviors, emotions and social interactions are impacted by smartphones, to the extent that they now play an important role in our value systems.”
When it comes to protecting mobile phones, Lookout has the following recommendations:
- Don’t lose it: Keep your smartphone in a zipped pocket or bag when you’re on the move and scan your area when leaving public places to make sure you don’t leave it behind
- Keep your power: Make sure you charge your battery before you leave the house or keep a charger in the car – not only will it keep your phone alive, but it will help to track it down if you misplace it
- Keep it safe: Download an app like Lookout so you can find your phone if you lose it, lock & wipe your data if it cannot be recovered and backup your personal information
Social scientists are increasingly looking at online friendships and trying to figure out if they carry the same emotional baggage that real-world friendships do. A preliminary study suggests that breaking up, even if it’s on Facebook, is hard to do.
The more you use Facebook, the more likely you are to experience “rumination and negative emotion” when someone unfriends you, according to a study published in the July 2012 edition of the scholarly journal Computers in Human Behavior. The study by Chapman University researchers Jennifer L. Bevan, Jeanette Pfyl and Brett Barclay is one of the first to look at the psychological consequences of so-called relationship termination on social networks.
Other factors that increased the pain of being unfriended included:
How close the person was to the person that had removed them from their friend list.
Whether they were able to figure out who unfriended them, as opposed to just seeing a drop in the number of active friends they had.
Who initiated the initial friend request.
The researchers also measured people’s perceptions on why they had been unfriended, asking if they felt it was because they posted too frequently on Facebook; posted polarizing views; made crude comments; if they had been unfriended for an upsetting, offline event; or because the person did not know them well.
“Intense Facebook usage may mean that users are particularly invested in their relationships with their Facebook friends and thus may respond with greater rumination and negative emotion when they lose one of these friends, which compromises how they are presenting themselves and being perceived by others online,” the researchers concluded.
When Being Unfriended Hurts Most
While the most common reason given for being unfriended was an offline event, people experienced the most negative emotion when they believed they were unfriended for Facebook-related reasons, such as posting too frequently, posting about polarizing topics or making crude comments.
People also seemed to be hurt more when they had made the initial friend request and were later unfriended by the recipient. “To some extent, being the individual who initiates the Facebook friendship – a clear, direct online act that is signified with a marker – places an individual in a less powerful position, as they must wait and see if their friend request is accepted, rejected or simply ignored. Individuals who are unfriended by someone they initially ‘friended’ may wonder why the unfriender even accepted the friend request, and such thoughts could give rise to rumination and negative emotion,” the researchers wrote.
The researchers found that people who spent more time on Facebook were most likely to be hurt when a Facebook friendship went south. That seemed to stem from the notion that those people, by spending more time on Facebook, had more invested in the online friendships.
The Parent Trap
Generally, people were most hurt when unfriended by someone they considered to be close to: family members, and current or former friends or romantic partners. To a certain extent, former romantic partners expected to be unfriended in certain circumstances.
The one differentiation from the above patterns was a user’s parents. The researchers noted “some close relational partners, such as parents, can be unwelcome Facebook friends for undergraduates… how relationships that are close offline are uniquely negotiated on [social networks] seems to be evolving.”
It may also suggest people view relationships with people they see regularly offline as different in an online context.
If you’re a digital native, you should be aware that the internet may have partially rewired your brain in such a way that when you meet people face to face, you’re less capable of figuring out what they’re thinking.
No, I’m not joking. There’s a significant amount of scientific literature on this. Compared with people who didn’t grow up using computers and the internet, you may be slower to pick up on nonverbal cues such as facial expressions, tones of voice, and body language.
That could be a liability if you want to work in a field such as consulting, financial advising, and diplomacy that requires face-to-face interactions. The trick, if you’re looking for a job in areas such as these, is to be aware of your possible shortcomings and try to compensate for them.
Research on the brain’s response to electronic media is fascinating, and not a little disturbing. On the plus side, it suggests that digital natives have higher baseline activity in the part of the brain governing short-term memory, the sorting of complex information, and the integration of sensations and thoughts — so, in certain respects, computers make you smarter. As if to underline that point, IQ scores are on the increase in the United States as the number of digital natives rises, and people’s ability to multitask without errors is improving.
But other research suggests that excessive, long-term exposure to electronic environments is reconfiguring young people’s neural networks and possibly diminishing their ability to develop empathy, interpersonal relations, and nonverbal communication skills. One study indicates that because there’s only so much time in the day, face-to-face interaction time drops by nearly 30 minutes for every hour a person spends on a computer. With more time devoted to computers and less to in-person interactions, young people may be understimulating and underdeveloping the neural pathways necessary for honing social skills. Another study shows that after long periods of time on the internet, digital natives display poor eye contact and a reluctance to interact socially.
Are digital natives really lacking the interpersonal skills necessary for certain types of jobs? An executive of a U.S. wealth-management firm told me that after the financial collapse in 2008, some of the bright young advisers were communicating with wiped-out clients via emails that said, essentially, “Sorry, we can’t help you.” Those who did meet with clients had little time for them and gave the impression that they weren’t interested in hearing clients’ stories. They seemed unable to empathize. So the firm let these employees go, replacing them with older advisers who were willing to sit down, look clients in the eye, and discuss matters face to face. That’s just one anecdote, but it resonates with HR executives I’ve spoken to in a variety of businesses that rely on building trust with customers.
So if you’re a digital native and you’re looking for a position in a field that requires human interaction, you’ve got your work cut out for you, and the first hurdle is landing the job. A few points to consider:
- Your interviewer may be specifically looking for evidence that you’re willing to make eye contact. Engage the interviewer — show a lively interest. This may not come easily.
- The interviewer also may be looking for evidence of your ability to pick up on nonverbal cues. Watch for and react to shifts in tone of voice or body language. One study suggests that 55% of person-to-person communication is nonverbal.
- Make clear that you understand the importance of face-to-face meetings and that you’re willing to sit down with people. If an interviewer or a questionnaire asks how you’d contact someone in a potentially fraught situation, don’t assume that email is the correct answer.
And once you get the job? That’s a whole other subject. Some researchers say the neurological changes wrought by computer use are reversible; others disagree. Even if they’re not, digital natives can train themselves to recognize the limitations of email and Facebook and choose face-to-face meetings if appropriate. They can also continually remind themselves that they may be a bit lacking in the ability to pick up on nonverbal cues — and that they need to make a special effort to pay attention.
(CNN) — FaceTime, the Apple video-chat application, is not a replacement for real human interaction, especially for children, according to a new study.
Tween girls who spend much of their waking hours switching frantically between YouTube, Facebook, television and text messaging are more likely to develop social problems, says a Stanford University study published in a scientific journal on Wednesday.
Young girls who spend the most time multitasking between various digital devices, communicating online or watching video are the least likely to develop normal social tendencies, according to the survey of 3,461 American girls aged 8 to 12 who volunteered responses.
The study only included girls who responded to a survey in Discovery Girls magazine, but results should apply to boys, too, Clifford Nass, a Stanford professor of communications who worked on the study, said in a phone interview. Boys’ emotional development is more difficult to analyze because male social development varies widely and over a longer time period, he said.
“No one had ever looked at this, which really shocked us,” Nass said. “Kids have to learn about emotion, and the way they do that, really, is by paying attention to other people. They have to really look them in the eye.”
The antidote for this hyper-digital phenomenon is for children to spend plenty of time interacting face-to-face with people, the study found. Tweens in the study who regularly talked in person with friends and family were less likely to display social problems, according to the findings in the publication Developmental Psychology.
“If you eschew face-to-face communication, you don’t learn critical things that you have to learn,” Nass said. “You have to learn social skills. You have to learn about emotion.”
The Stanford researchers were not able to determine a magic number of hours that children should spend conversing per week, Nass said. Social skills are typically only learned when children are engaged and making eye contact, rather than fiddling with an iPod during a conversation, he said.
FaceTime and Skype are not replacements for actual face time because other studies have found that people tend to multitask while on video calls, Nass said.
Nass is a self-described technologist of 25 years, who has worked as a consultant with many major electronics firms, including Google and Microsoft. He said the findings disturbed him.
A few years ago, Nass worked on a study about how multitasking affects adults. He found that heavy multitaskers experience cognitive issues, such as difficulty focusing and remembering things. They were actually worse at juggling various activities, a skill crucial to many people’s work lives, than those who spent less time multitasking, Nass said.
Media use, face-to-face communication, media multitasking, and social well-being among 8- to 12-year-old girls.
As young people spend more time on computers, smartphones and other devices, researchers are asking how all that screen time and multitasking affects children’s and teenagers’ ability to focus and learn — even drive cars.
A study from Stanford University, published Wednesday, wrestles with a new question: How is technology affecting their happiness and emotional development?
The answer, in the peer-reviewed study of the online habits of girls ages 8 to 12, is that those who say they spend considerable amounts of time using multimedia describe themselves in ways that suggest they are less happy and less socially comfortable than peers who say they spend less time on screens.
The research raises as many questions as it seeks to answer, as the scientists readily acknowledge. That is because the research was based on an online survey taken by more than 3,400 girls, a sample that may well not be representative of the larger population and, because the responses are self-reported, are not subject to follow-up or verification by the researchers.
Among the crucial questions that the researchers were not able to answer is whether the heavy use of media was the cause for the relative unhappiness or whether girls who are less happy to begin with are drawn to heavy use of media, in effect retreating to a virtual world.
But the researchers hypothesize that heavy use of media is a contributing factor to the social challenges of girls.
The reason, say the researchers, is that on a basic, even primitive level, girls need to experience the full pantheon of communication that comes from face-to-face contact, such as learning to read body language, and subtle facial and verbal cues.
“Humans are built to notice these cues — the quavering in your voice, perspiration, body posture, raise of an eyebrow, a faint smile or frown,” said Clifford Nass, a Stanford professor of communication who led the study. Social media, he added, leaves the conversation two-dimensional. “If I’m not with you face to face, I don’t get these things. Or, if I’m face to face with you and I’m also texting, I’m not going to notice them.”
The peer-reviewed study appeared Wednesday in Developmental Psychology, a journal published by the American Psychological Association, as part of a series of articles on interactive technology and human development. There is no analogous study about how screen time affects boys.
The fact that the study was based on an online survey gave pause to some academics. While they said the paper raised good questions, they also expressed concern about giving it too much weight, given that the researchers were not able to follow up with the survey subjects to get important context, including their family circumstances, income or ethnicity.
Moreover, the limitations of the online survey did not even allow the researchers to verify the ages of the girls.
Lyn Mikel Brown, an education professor at Colby College who studies girls’ behavior, cautioned against reading too much into the research because so little is known about the survey subjects.
It may well be, she said, that girls who seek out online relationships are girls who otherwise might not feel social at all.
“Finding like-minded people online and issues they can relate to and work on with others can be incredibly important,” she said.
But she also said the research should provoke further study about the connection between time spent online and social development, and should provoke conversations in families.
“The clear message is also how important it is for parents to create opportunities for girls to unplug, to live a balanced life, and increase quality face-to-face time with the people important to them,” Ms. Mikel Brown said.
Patricia Greenfield, a distinguished professor of psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles, who edited the article, said that that even though the authors did not find that Internet use causes unhappiness among girls, the correlation that the authors did find was very significant.
The research was based on an online survey of about 80 questions answered by 3,461 girls whom the scientists found by advertising in Discovery Girls magazine. The researchers found that the average amount of media use by the girls surveyed was 6.9 hours per day, a figure that included reading as well as screen time. The average amount of time spent in face-to-face social settings was 2.1 hours, a figure that did not include classroom time.
Some parents of girls who are heavy Internet users said the research addressed questions that they had been concerned about.
Lucy Gray, 45, who lives in Chicago and helps schools integrate technology, said her daughter, Julia, 13, has for several years been a heavy consumer of media — she watches movies on her laptop, has an iPad, iPhone and a Nintendo DS portable game machine. Ms. Gray said that Julia can have trouble picking up on subtle social cues in face-to-face interactions, but she is not ready to blame her daughter’s heavy use of technology.
In fact, she said, she thinks that, on the whole, the technology has helped her daughter navigate the world socially.
“She’d be missing out on an opportunity if she wasn’t connected.” Ms. Gray said.
At the same time, Ms. Gray said, she worries that her daughter, who is using Facebook more, is playing out her social life online sometimes without the benefits of the full emotional range that comes from face-to-face interaction.
“It’s a double-edged sword,” Ms. Gray said of the social implications of social media.
Lena Garzarelli, 13, an eighth grader in Asheville, N.C., who spends as much as two hours each day on Facebook, video chatting with friends and using other multimedia, said that the technology, on the whole, has helped enrich her social life. But she said that she felt it could be a poor substitute for face-to-face interaction.
She has had instances, she said, of serious miscommunication because her real meaning was lost in text-based communications.
When people converse online, she said, they “may not understand how I feel because they can’t see the emotion in my face and can’t hear my voice.”
Growing up with the Internet gives today’s children a very unique view on the way the world works — one that is vastly different from that of older generations.
These kids, the ‘digital natives,” are raised with modern technology deeply embedded into their lives, and form a natural understanding of its benefits. This deeply rooted acceptance gives kids a unique perspective on how technology can be further used to make our lives easier, and helps researchers predict future needs for innovation.
What can we learn from the digital natives?
We asked this question back in September, and it’s one that research firm Latitude sought to answer with its KIDS – Kids Innovation Discovery Series initiative. Now, Latitude is back to find out how technology, specifically robotics, can be used to inspire new opportunities for learning and creativity.
Latitude’s Robots @ School study, which was conducted this month, asked kids across the world to illustrate and write a story that answers this question: “What would happen if robots were a part of your everyday life — at school and beyond?”
The results provide a compelling look on how youngsters feel about modern technology, and most importantly, reveals that tech has a huge potential for blurring the lines between learning and play. Steve Mushkin, founder and president of Latitude explains:
Education and learning are moving, at least in many children’s eyes, beyond acts of knowledge transmission toward acts of exploration and creation.”
With children so easy to embrace robotics, it’s clear that there’s a ton of potential for integrating intelligent technologies into learning environments. Besides, the idea of “exploring and creating” sounds a heck of a lot better than answering true/false questions out of a booklet. Clearly there are tons of new and interesting ways to learn, and technology is, in many ways, responsible for this.
Taking a deeper look at the stories the children created, the survey found that unlike many adults who see technology as separate from humanness, it seems that “kids tend to think of technology as fundamentally human: as a social companion that can entertain, motivate, and empower them in various contexts.”
While this dreamy perspective is partially the result of childhood imagination (something kids from any generation can have), it is clear that kids are eagerly anticipating new ways that tech can enhance their lives.
Sure, it’s easy to dismiss how children look forward to the future and dream without inhibitions, but that’s exactly what some of the greatest innovators of our time have done. Children don’t just react, they imagine, and that’s why this study can’t be overlooked.
The new 2012 ChildWise Monitor survey takes a look at how children ages five to 16 years in the UK use technology and finds that despite unprecedented access to virtual worlds, children still prefer to communicate face to face.
It is the top communication channel for children talking about something serious (53%), for having a private conversation (43%, compared with 13% for phone and 11% for text), and for talking about last night’s TV (33%, compared with 21% for social networking sites, 16% for texting).
However, mobile phones are still increasingly important in the lives of this age group especially kids ages 11 and up.
Six out of 10 children ages seven to 16 have a mobile phone that can access the internet (61%), increasing to three in four among 11- to 16-year-olds (77%).
The survey’s results also support the popularity of eReaders especially among younger children and boys. Almost one in 10 five- to 16-year-olds now have an eReader (9%), highest among younger boys (14% of boys aged 5-10 years).
Reading every day is still a hard sell for children as only a minority of children read for pleasure every day (30% read books every day, 15% read magazines), but most read on occasion.
Seventy-eight percent of five- to 16-year-olds read books at all, and more than one in four read books or magazines for an hour a day or more (28%). Two thirds of nine- to 16-year-olds read online (69%) – reviews, stories, news, blogs and books.
For the survey, 2,770 children ages five to 16 years were interviewed via 108 schools across the UK during fall 2011. Full survey results can be found in the annual ChildWise Monitor Report 2011-12.