Tagarchief: social media

Social media, a social isolation

This has probably happened to you too often: you are telling one of your most intriguing stories to someone but suddenly, this person’s phone gets a notification. That is not a big problem of course, but when the person takes his phone out to check it, losing all interest in anything you say, it will drive you nuts. Another example: When you are in an important meeting and then someone’s phone starts to ring… Is that funny Facebook photo more important? Really!? Smartphones are an amazing invention, but they can be very annoying. People tend to replace their social interaction in the real world with their phones. They annoy others with their devices and also themselves because using a phone a lot has serious consequences. So, we should really watch out in what way we use our devices, how we use them and what effect it has on ourselves and others.

First, a little health disclaimer: while there is no direct proof that RF-fields emitted by electric devices causes Cancer, there is great possibility that the emission does increase the chances. The high frequency of cell phone use can have negative effects on our stress levels. The constant ringing, vibrating alerts, and reminders can put a cell phone user on edge. Using electric devices a lot also causes changes in brain activity. This means lower reaction speed, changes in sleep patterns (which often results in less sleep or less good sleep) and a few other negative effects.

“In a study conducted at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, researchers examined if there is a direct link between the psychosocial aspects of cell phone use and mental health symptoms in young adults. The participants of the study included 20 to 24-year-olds who responded to a questionnaire, in addition to a one-year follow-up. Researchers found high mobile phone use was associated with stress and sleep disturbances for women, whereas high mobile phone use was associated with sleep disturbances and symptoms of depression for men.” (Source: Medical Daily)

Another issue is that your phone can contain more disease-prone germs than those found on a toilet seat. Faecal matter can easily be transferred by cell phones from one person to another.

“In a study conducted at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Queen Mary, University of London, researchers sampled 390 cell phones and hands to measure for levels of bacteria. The results of the study showed that 92 percent of the cell phones sampled had bacteria on them — 82 percent of hands had bacteria — and 16 percent of cell phones and hands had E. Coli.” (Source: Medical Daily)

And if that wasn’t enough: “Long periods of cell phone use cause you to arch your neck and hold your body in a strange posture. This can lead to back pain,” (Source: HealthCentral)

I am sorry for saying that this health disclaimer would be ‘little’. So I’ll move on, after this last point:

Staring at your mobile device can cause problems in your vision later in life. According to The Vision Council, more than 70 percent of the American citizens don’t know or are in denial that they are susceptible to digital eye strain.

Secondly, affection to others. The presence of a cell phone, while two or more people are talking face-to-face, can generate negative feelings toward the person who has his or her device visible.

“In two studies conducted at the University of Essex in the United Kingdom, researchers studied the effects of a mobile device during a nose-to-nose conversation. In the first study, 37 pairs of strangers were asked to spend 10 minutes talking to each other about an interesting event that happened in their lives within the past month. Half of the participants were seated in a secluded area with a mobile device present on a desk nearby whereas the other half remained without a cell phone. The results of the study showed that those who had a mobile device nearby were perceived less positive by the stranger, compared to the other participants without a cell phone present.” (Source: Medical Daily)

Your phone is a big distraction. This both has effects on you and on others. Notifications can impair our concentration, even being short in duration they cause enough of a distraction to affect your ability to focus on a given task, decreasing your performance by prompting task-irrelevant thoughts and mind-wandering. And when you are late with your work, others will get annoyed by it as well. The distraction can also be a very dangerous in some specific situations, like driving for instance, a simple notification can cause really serious accidents and even take lives. For a deeper dive into this subject, you can click here.

The social life of people is also moving from reality into social media. People are getting more disconnected to the real world, they put their phones ahead of human interaction, it’s getting harder to see people talking to each other in public places, they’re always too busy with their mobile devices, checking notifications, sending messages or just sharing a new video. Technology brings many benefits to our modern society, but when it reaches a certain point it starts being harmful, time-consuming, counterproductive and even dangerous.

To prevent you from hurting yourself, you should stop using your devices so much. Kick off from your addictions. Search possibilities to do something else than fiddling around with your phone. Start a talk with a stranger, go play a board game with your family, find a new hobby, go sporting, go swimming, skiing, golfing, anything! Just leave your phone at home. And hey, if you don’t use your device that often, you’ll have more battery left at the end of the day!

So don’t get stuck on your screen, as it will cause health issues like high stress, bad memory, bad night rest, bad mood and more. Don’t refrain yourself from real social interaction, you will miss so many opportunities. Maybe you won’t even notice it if your true one walks by because you were playing candy crush… It is time to turn off your phone or at least turn of the notifications. Forget about it and have fun!

 

Sources:

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/effects-mobile-technology-our-society-leonardo-jines

http://www.medicaldaily.com/5-reasons-why-cellphones-are-bad-your-health-247624

http://www.healthcentral.com/slideshow/7-surprising-causes-of-back-pain

 

Author: Rick van de Sande – Freaders

Online privacy invasion

Last Monday, a program called “De Grote Privacy Test” (the big privacy test) was broadcasted on Dutch television (www.NPO.nl). The program researches if the participants and the people at home know the risks of the invasion of privacy and online criminality. It reveals a lot about how much information is gathered about you and what is done with it. This is a big social problem. The producers want as much information as they can from the people who use their products so they can use it for their own purposes (and services). The users, of course, want to use the product but definitely don’t want an invasion of privacy!

It all starts when you buy or download a product: The Terms and Conditions. The never-ending list of vague text that everyone accepts without even looking at it. The Producers know this. It enables them to do almost everything, the customers will always agree because they don’t want to read the long lists. It enables them to use your camera, microphone, see all of your unprotected information and sometimes even download things! This brings insecurity and invasion of privacy.

The terms and conditions of iTunes are as long as the book: “Je hebt wél iets te verbergen” which has 264 pages!

Besides checking boxes and agreeing with terms and conditions, there are several other ways in which information from electronic devices can be ‘stolen’. For example: in the program “De Grote Privacy Test” a hacker, called Wouter Slotboom, showed a router he had bought. Everyone who connected to the WI-FI of this router got tracked and all the information gathered and used in those devices was from then available for him. He could see Instagram pictures, chats, web searches and even passwords!

The invention of social media worsened the situation enormously. A lot of things are shared and so, a lot of things can be found. Even things you delete can be copied or recovered.

The information that sites, apps, programs and other services or products gather can be used for advertisement, recommendations, predicting things and more. This sounds great, but when google tells me the traffic information on my route to school while I never searched for it, I get scared. How does it know that? What more does it know? I can’t tell this exactly, but it is sure that services like google know more than they probably should. All of this information could easily be misused. Think of this: someone has seen your information. He or she knows what phone you have and wants it. He knows when and how you drive to school in the morning. Easy catch, I would say.

I know you probably aren’t going to read the terms and conditions and you probably aren’t going to disagree with them either. So here 4 simple things that you can do to prevent some of these privacy invasions.

  • Using ad Blocker: Besides stopping ads from popping up on your screen, it also stops a lot of cookies and unwanted trackers from gathering and using your information.
  • When you use Google Chrome, you can enable ‘Incognito modus’. This will erase everything you do on the internet when you don’t use it anymore. This does not include photos, comments or other similar things you post but things like cookies, browsing history etc.
  • Watch out with what you do on the internet: be cautious with what you write, post and do online. Also: have a look at your privacy settings on your browser and social media.
  • Try searching safe alternatives for your social media. For example, Signal. It does the same as WhatsApp but it is privacy friendlier. Why leave WhatsApp? Well, it was bought by Facebook, which means that a lot of information can be used, just as on Facebook. (related article: “Facebook sued for invading users’ privacy” at http://www.Yahoo.com)

In conclusion, the internet knows a lot about you. Often too much. The upcoming of social media has greatly reduced privacy and your information is easily being misused or even being hacked! Terms and conditions are too long and are often misapplicated. They include all kinds of ways in which to collect personal data. This data is used or sold to other companies while it isn’t necessary for the service to work. In the 21st century, privacy seems to have disappeared. But we have to protect it, since it is not only a constitutional right but also a very big factor in our lives.

Author: Rick van de Sande