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W. wrote his article basically to express his concern over the increasing impact of the social networks on human behavior. He studied the use of various social networks such as MySpace, Twitter and Face-book. W. noted that the sites that were once used exclusively among the collage students had evolved very first to become a common phenomena. This is what inspired him to write his article “Are Social Networks Messing with Your Head”. According to W., social networks present a worldwide largest social interaction experiment because of the millions of users it attracts each day.
To W., internet has always provided a loose forum enabling those who are like minded to congregate and share their experiences. His is concerned that the social networks are quickly replacing interpersonal interaction. He observed that face-to-face interaction would soon be faced out. This is because of the easy alternative means of communication presented by the social networks.W. observed that the networks had made communication to be more consistent and vigorous than ever before.
According to him, social networks have changed people’s perception on the internet. He noted that the initial trend where it was common to see people withdraw to solitary places whenever they wanted to use the internet is no longer the case. Internet is revolutionizing the concept of human nature and that of their identity. According toW., social networks can also lessen loneliness and boost self-esteem of their users. In his article, he discussed the changes that have taken place in people’s understanding of the concept of loneliness. According to him people no longer perceive loneliness as being physically isolated from the rest. Instead, it is understood as a deep distress common among people who feel that their social relationships are losing meanings. He meant that today the standard of every relationship is measured in terms of how often the parties interact online. The questions being asked is therefore whether it is true that the more social contacts one has the grater the chances of finding rewarding relationships.
Disalvo (2010) also described social networking as “a boon for people who need a boost to their self-esteem.” He explained that by enhancing the development of new relationships while improving the quality of the existing ones, the social networks are without doubt helping to build self-esteem among the adolescent users. W. also sees the social networks as a “boon” to the narcissists. According to his research, narcissists take pride in collecting social contacts irrespective of how well the relationships are established. This is also supported by David as he explains the impact of peer-pressure on behavior.
Environmental Influences on Behavior
The book “Exploring Psychology Eighth Edition in Modules” is written by David Myers. In module its module nine, David discussed how the environment in which we live can shape who we are. The module comes after module eight in which David had used various studies to demonstrate the role played by genetics in behavioral formation and change. He uses these studies to compare the impact of genetics and that of the environment on behaviors.
In module nine, W. concentrated on the influence of the environment on behavior. In his concept of environment, he included the impact of the family, the prenatal environment, children’s early experience, peers influence and culture on behavior. According to W. the influence of the environment begins as early as before a child is born. Research has shown more similarities in behavior among the twins who shared a placenta than those who do not. He therefore pointed to the possibility of parental influences on psychological development even before birth.
W. explained that in the early days of a child, the development of the brain is affected by their experiences. According to him, such experiences are also connected to the child’s improvements in music, language and arts. Of great influence is the parent’s socializing role. W. noted that during these critical stages of behavior formation, the parents act as sole role models to the young ones. Another behavioral determinant he discussed is the peer influence. Children just like adults seek to fit among their peers by conforming. Peer pressure greatly influences the way teens and young adults learn to coexist and gain popularity.
According to W., the influence of culture is neither steady nor uniform because humans have the ability to evolve culture. He described the concept of culture as composing of behaviors, ideas, attitudes, values and traditions shared by a group of people. W. noted that it is the difference in the various aspects of culture such as norms and rules that influence people’s behavior. A culture may nurture individualistic or collective identity. This has a great influence on the future personality of the child. Finally, David explained that cultures also have different descriptions of gender roles. According to Him, this influences the way in which members of any culture form connections.
Lesson Learned and Important Questions
The questions asked are therefore whether we are born with our differences or we acquire them from our environment. In a way, I find the two authors agreeing on the effect of the environment on our behavior.W. explained the way in which social interaction is quickly replacing face to face interaction and taking over other factors to influence the behavior of its users. On his side,W. explained that culture has a great influence in our behavior because it is neither steady nor uniform. Disalvo expounded on this point noting the high rate in which social networks have evolved from being used secretly to a mass tool.
The two authors also seem to agree on the impact of peers on behavior.W. noted that social networks allow its users to establish and nurture their relationships with their peers and this in turn influences their behavior. The view is supported by David who also noted that peer pressure greatly influences the way teens and young adults learn to coexist and gain popularity. Studies have shown that networking and associated blogging has become one of the most popular online activity. Today people spend most of their free time with the social network sites than the duration they spend in direct interactions. This explains why the hereditary factors and earlier socialization agents like the family and the school are quickly loosing their relevance in influencing behavior.
Disalvo just like David noted the way in which the change in behavior is greatly influencing the perceptions people have on certain concepts. For example, Disalvo (2010) explained our perception of ourselves, how we feel about ourselves and how we act towards one another has so much been influenced by the social influenced by these networks. The young people today describe the concept of being lonely in the context of how frequent they interact with their friends online.
Finally, the instant gratification that people are getting from social networks has helped them redirect the energies that they would have used in deviant behaviors. According to D., people who prefer online interaction over face-to-face interaction can also use internet to alter their moods and boost their self-esteem. In conclusion, the impact of the environment on our behavior can not be matched with that of the hereditary factors.
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