Twitteren een gevaar?

Nieuws | de redactie
21 april 2009 | Zijn twitteren en hyven slecht voor een mens? Amerikaans onderzoek laat zien dat zowel studieresultaten als emotionele stabiliteit onder druk komen bij een teveel aan ‘social networking’ en tweets. Zelfs de grote denker Manuel Castells bemoeit zich met de discussie daarover.

In Ohio werd de impact van de Amerikaanse ‘Hyves’, Facebook, op studenten onderzocht. “College students who use Facebook spend less time studying and have lower grade point averages than students who have not signed up for the social networking website, according to a pilot study at one university. However, more than three-quarters of Facebook users claimed that their use of the social networking site didn’t interfere with their studies.”

“We can’t say that use of Facebook leads to lower grades and less studying – but we did find a relationship there,” said Aryn Karpinski, co-author of the study and a doctoral student in education at Ohio State University. “There’s a disconnect between students’ claim that Facebook use doesn’t impact their studies, and our finding showing they had lower grades and spent less time studying.” Facebook users in the study had GPAs between 3.0 and 3.5, while non-users had GPAs between 3.5 and 4.0. In addition, users said they averaged one to five hours a week studying, while non-users studied 11 to 15 hours per week.

In San Diego aan USC werd de impact van intensief mediagebruik als het twitteren onderzocht. “Rapid-fire TV news bulletins or getting updates via social-networking tools such as Twitter could numb our sense of morality and make us indifferent to human suffering,” scientists say.

“New findings show that the streams of information provided by social networking sites are too fast for the brain’s ‘moral compass’ to process and could harm young people’s emotional development. If things are happening too fast, you may not ever fully experience emotions about other people’s psychological states and that would have implications for your morality,” said researcher Mary Helen Immordino-Yang.

“Brain scans showed humans can process and respond very quickly to signs of physical pain in others, but took longer to show admiration or compassion. For some kinds of thought, especially moral decision-making about other people’s social and psychological situations, we need to allow for adequate time and refection,” said Immordio-Yang.

She said the study raises questions about the emotional cost, particularly for young people, of heavy reliance on a torrent of news snippets delivered via TV and online feeds such as Twitter. USC sociologist Manuel Castells said the study raised more concerns over fast-moving TV than the online environment. “In a media culture in which violence and suffering becomes an endless show, be it in fiction or in infotainment, indifference to the vision of human suffering gradually sets in.”

Critici reageren scherp op dit onderzoek, want, zo melden zij, ‘ the study’s methodology had absolutely nothing to do with Twitter. Rather, it focused on how volunteers responded to stories meant to stimulate admiration (for a virtue or skill) versus compassion (for physical or social pain). According to brain scans, the subjects responded instantly to people in physical pain, but took 6 to 8 seconds to respond to virtue or social pain.’

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