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The lounge Relax, take a break from photo and camera talk - have a chat about something else for a change. Just keep it clean and polite!

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Old 11th January 2018
KeithL KeithL is offline
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Social media and mental health

I hope this won't be too controversial! At least it shouldn't be party political, although there are bound to be some who see it that way.

You may have seen in the news after Christmas about the young lady from my region who sadly committed suicide recently. We don't know why she did it, but it did set me thinking about the high incidence these days of young people suffering mental health problems.

I wrote an article about it for the political magazine that I contribute to; and also talked with my daughter, who has first-hand experience of this phenomenon, about it. We know that, in Norfolk and Suffolk, there have been problems with mental health care provision for several years now, and that must, logically, be exacerbated by the closure of Mundesley Hospital. The latter, privately run, was contracted by NHS to provide 27 beds and community care for mental health patients. It was closed as "inadequate"; it can't surely be more inadequate than closed and nonfunctioning! NSFT has received a 20% cut in funding,and one can be forgiven for thinking that this has something to do with the Mundesley closure.

However, one of the factors that I discussed with my daughter is social media. Youngsters now are obsessed with it; they expose all of their life to the world, and, as I understand it, are desperate to accumulate "likes". If they don't, they become quite often depressed and anxious. One person that my daughter spoke about bought an odd pet to gain likes; when it failed to garner enough, after three months, she got rid of it, and is now looking for something else more exotic. Is that not bizarre? Another factor is manipulation of the pictures they post, especially on Facebook, to try to make themselves look more attractive; if they happen to meet, and see a very different reality, that can lead to trolling, and more self-imposed stress - a stress that can lead to self-loathing and worse.

I see, since, that two of Apple's shareholders have written to the Apple board to express their concern about this very subject, a most unusual thing to do.

I think we have created a terrible monster in our midst. The young lady in question was a second year, bright, student, popular, should have had a great future. What a dreadful waste as well as an awful tragedy that she should take her own life. Now, I'm NOT saying that social media was the cause in her case; but it is known to be a factor - a big factor - in the burgeoning issue of teenage and young adult mental health issues in general. Until recently, it wasn't even necessary for colleges to offer student support services; at least that is apparently now required of colleges, and not before time.

But, this issue is obviously going to become quite a blight, and a costly one, on our young people in the future; and worse, if nothing is done to address it, it will only get worse, at a time when we need to nurture them to improve their, and our country's chances in the harsh world of the 21st century. Governments have sat on their hands for a long time over mental health, but I don't believe that they can afford to any more.

I'm interested to ask what you, fellow forum members, think about this issue.
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Old 11th January 2018
IPWheatley IPWheatley is offline
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Re: Social media and mental health

It is my opinion that subjects like this have no place on a forum that is supposedly a meeting place for all people who enjoy photography and especially all things Olympus. Out of respect for this young girls family who are having to come to terms with their tragic loss I feel that this thread should be terminated forthwith. What do other members think, regards, IW.
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Old 11th January 2018
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Re: Social media and mental health

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Originally Posted by IPWheatley View Post
It is my opinion that subjects like this have no place on a forum that is supposedly a meeting place for all people who enjoy photography and especially all things Olympus. Out of respect for this young girls family who are having to come to terms with their tragic loss I feel that this thread should be terminated forthwith. What do other members think, regards, IW.
The Lounge is precisely intended for this type of topic, when members feel the need to discuss something not photography related. As always, participation is optional and there are plenty of photography specific boards on the forum for members who wish to stay focussed on their hobby. If they don't like the Lounge they need never be troubled by it. However, I agree that it would indeed be unfortunate if the girl's family became aware of this thread and any political points that are bound to be made in the ensuing discussion. I believe the effects of social media on the young in particular is a very serious issue but, rather like the atomic bomb, we can't dis-invent it.
That's all I have to say on the matter, but I have the feeling that I may have to watch this one carefully.
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Old 11th January 2018
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Re: Social media and mental health

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Originally Posted by Zuiko View Post
The Lounge is precisely intended for this type of topic, when members feel the need to discuss something not photography related. As always, participation is optional and there are plenty of photography specific boards on the forum for members who wish to stay focussed on their hobby. If they don't like the Lounge they need never be troubled by it. However, I agree that it would indeed be unfortunate if the girl's family became aware of this thread and any political points that are bound to be made in the ensuing discussion. I believe the effects of social media on the young in particular is a very serious issue but, rather like the atomic bomb, we can't dis-invent it.
That's all I have to say on the matter, but I have the feeling that I may have to watch this one carefully.
I agree with your sentiment John. It is a difficult issue. BUT I made it clear (I hope) that the event that I referred to triggered my thoughts on it, and in NO WAY do I suggest it had anything to do with that event. Social media - the internet generally - has advanced in ways that have probably taken us all by surprise; it's a very recent phenomenon that has exploded into society. We didn't have social media in my day, or that of many forum members, I'm sure; and who among us would have expected it to become so obsessional with youngsters in the way that it has? It imposes stress on today's youngsters that we probably can't really imagine, and worse, that stress is self-imposed and self reinforcing. Personally, I find it deeply concerning, but I'm not at all sure how we manage the situation that has evolved, and where it will go in the future.

I think another issue with it is that it is hugely profitable, yet its companies pay little tax; the consequences of their businesses are potentially a huge cost to the country - and not just in money terms. I question whether they care, while their profits roll in. We can't put the genie back in the bottle; but what can or should we do? Surely, we can't do nothing?

(Incidentally, would you prefer me to edit out the reference I made?)
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Old 11th January 2018
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Re: Social media and mental health

I don't think the OP said anything about the specifics of the Gorleston suicide that were either insensitive or anything more than were no doubt published in the mainstream media (I personally was unaware though). However, the jump to a social media link is clearly total speculation and I don't think it really should be used as the intro to the topic.

As regards the issue of social media's impact on mental health of people (and young people in particular), I'm personally persuaded that it is indeed a badly negative influence. And I say this as the father of two teenagers, one of whom is a 15 year old girl who definitely exhibits some of the ascribed effects. I'd love to see it uninvented, but that isn't going to happen. We just need to do more research, bring the risks to the public's eye and educate to minimise the impact.

And before we get all superior, we should remember that forums (fora) like this are in themselves a form of social media.

I totally agree about the ethics of the companies involved too. It stinks.
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Old 11th January 2018
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Re: Social media and mental health

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Originally Posted by pdk42 View Post
I
And before we get all superior, we should remember that forums (fora) like this are in themselves a form of social media.

I totally agree about the ethics of the companies involved too. It stinks.
One big difference, though, Paul: this form of social media is moderated. And I don't think we show photos of ourselves that have been digitally enhanced in order to seek likes.

I have removed almost all info about the suicide. It was an event that, well, really got to me. I've seen more and more problems being reported in the press with young people, and many ascribed to social media. And then the Apple shareholders - major ones - writing to express their concern, blaming Apple for the iPhone's role in it.
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Old 11th January 2018
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Re: Social media and mental health

May I posit something that I had intended to keep back for now. The issue that social media = internet.

A friend lent me John Naughton's Gutenberg to Zuckerberg, an interesting and pertinent read. He made the point strongly that the intentions at the start were to have a completely non-commercial unrestricted internet; that idea was as antiquated as the dodo by 2000. Now we have a highly commercial internet culture; a culture that bombards all of us incessantly with unwanted junk.

For instance, go looking on a website, and you will have to let it install cookies. Whatever you enter, or box you tick, many websites will surreptitiously grab as much info about you as they can; and they will use it. You start getting spam. And it proliferates, from companies that you've never heard of. You have the nightmare of keep having to unsubscribe - but it only rarely gives more than temporary relief.

So it is with campaign websites. I received an email form Greenpeace, and I thought, that's a good cause, I'll sign their petition. BIG mistake! I was soon bombarded with petition requests from a myriad of campaign groups from cats' homes to tampon tax. Then the requests for donations started to pour in. I happened to support 38 Degrees. They kept asking for donations, now by direct debit. I said no, but gave a one off small donation. They still bombarded me. I sent an email, eventually, saying, you keep this up, and I unsubscribe. They did, so I unsubscribed. Guess what? I'm STILL bombarded by them - and with donation requests. This deluge of spam must be so much greater when you are on the likes of Facebook or Twitter; and it's bloody stressful! Who needs the stress? And - in this context - to a teenager already stressing about their likes and attractiveness, getting depressed, etc., could all this rubbish coming over the net every day send a vulnerable few over the edge? I think it could. It's bad enough for me and many of you, as mature and experienced adults; but it is so much worse for an anxious youngster.

The monster that we have created has many tentacles, and they are insidious and unrelenting. And I think this is perhaps the real question that I am asking, and about how we deal with it.
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Old 11th January 2018
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Re: Social media and mental health

Due to life situations I have had bad mental health issues over the last six years and this media site is one of the things to help me. I had strangers who accepted me and communicated with me with no blame. This happened in a way I could dip in and out were I felt for once to be in control of my life. I had withdrawn from all the groups and activities I was involved with and found myself looking forward to logging on to this site not just for help with camera use etc but just for contact with other non judgmental human beings. Sometimes the only contact I had for days was fellow Olympus enthusiasts. At times would sit for hours just watching the posts.
I had times I wanted to end it all, I was at my worst around the time of the OMD ME1 launch and a person on this site did me a great favour with an invitation which helped turn things round. Up to now he knew nothing about what he has done. Thanks you know who you are.
I met people in person I did not really know at the NEC who welcomed me and still contact me and I consider good friends; others from all over the world who are in regular communication. I am one of the ones whom internet media sites have saved but I too worry about the way this media affects human beings of all ages. Peer group pressure and the speed at which things can happen which you almost immediately have lost control off cause all sorts of horrible things to happen in ways people never consider. This is all without taking into account those people whose idea of fun without thinking of the horrid outcomes which can lead to unimaginable consequences is what worries most people who only hear of the bad thing that happen which I am sure vastly outweigh the good.
A big thank you to you all, I can say I am on the way to recovery and people on here have paid a big part in that recovery.

Ed

It has taken a lot to post this but I feel it needed to be said.

Sent from my LG-H870 using Tapatalk
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Old 11th January 2018
KeithL KeithL is offline
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Re: Social media and mental health

The difference in many cases is that there is spam, and there are "legitimate" marketing emails. Much depends where they originate, and under how many aliases the company operates.

I always use my machine in private browsing mode, and it as far as practicable hides my computer from the net; but as you say, there are many instances where you have to give out your email address. Once out there, you don't know who gets their sticky fingers on it. I know that my details (not including bank) were hacked from Adobe's website in 2013. That made quite a difference!

But social media providers such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc give an unprecedented ease of opportunity to spread anything desired to an unprecedented number of recipients. Twenty years back, a list of 15 recipients was large; today it could be 1.5 billion at the push of a virtual button. It costs nothing to do it, and that is its weakness as well as its strength.

Back in the late 80s/early 90s, I along with a number of other people, worked for a boss whose idea of fun was to psychologically undermine his subordinates, if he could find any weakness to exploit. One consequence was my line manager attempting suicide; and of course, it affected all of us who knew him. The only thing that boss cared about was best described as keeping it quiet. Today, perhaps as well, things are much more open; yet often those most vulnerable to e.g. trolling hide what is being done to them, and perhaps don't seek help. As I said, it becomes self-imposed stress, and therefore a vicious circle. How do you break the vicious circle?

The internet has become a wonderful servant, but a frighteningly dangerous master when misused.
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Old 11th January 2018
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Re: Social media and mental health

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I think i may have mentioned this in a previous thread some time ago but it is a prime example of how Social Media has affected the young.

Two teenage girls found themselves stranded on rocks having been cut off by the rising incoming tide. They had a smart phone but instead of calling the 999 Emergency Services they posted details of their predicament on Facebook. These 2 girls were in very serious danger of being drowned and by some miracle, their post on FB was picked up by someone who then alerted the Emergency Services and the 2 girls were subsequently rescued.

Whilst this story had a happy ending and some would claim FB was responsible for the outcome, if the post hadn't been picked up by anyone, it could have had a very different result with the loss of 2 young girls lives.

I totally fail to understand why anyone in such imminent danger would resort to FB, but this is indicative of the way social media has worked it's way into the lives and ways of thinking of our young people. There have been other similar instances more recently so this is by no means an isolated case.

I'm thinking of wearing a badge which states: If found unconscious please contact 999 NOT Facebook

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Old 13th January 2018
KeithL KeithL is offline
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Re: Social media and mental health

There's a very pertinent cartoon in Today's Mirror: Mandy. A girl friend is telling Mandy how she has manipulated her picture on Facebook. In the final frame, Mandy asks, "Yes, but what are you going to do when you happen to meet, and they discover you don't have Kelly Brook's body?"
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Old 15th January 2018
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Re: Social media and mental health

As I see it there are two separate problems with social media.

Firstly it is addictive, and is designed to be so. Otherwise why would Facebook notify users every single time they get a 'Like'?

The fact is that Facebook makes its money by maximising the number of people using its platform, which is why they are so slow to remove offensive and objectionable material whilst it is being viewed by thousands of users.

In addition to any direct mental health issues, I am personally aware of several youngsters whose education has suffered as a result of this addiction, and who in turn seem to have suffered mental health issues. There also seems to be a problem of short attention span caused by the constant 'zub zub' of teenager's phones telling them that they have a message or that somebody has 'liked' their post.

The second problem is that few people post about their real lives online as in most cases that would be fairly boring. Instead they tend to post edited highlights that they want others to see and 'Like', and in some cases to make others envious. As a result some people, especially 'less popular' teenagers and young adults, are prone to feel inadequate because they feel their ordinary lives will never live up to the extraordinary (and carefully cultivated) lives of their more popular peers.

I am no Apple Acolyte but I don't see how Apple can be singled out and blamed for this phenomenon. Apple simply made Facebook and other apps available on a convenient mobile platform that was much more attractive and convenient than texting. Plenty of other manufacturers followed Apple's lead.

With regard to this forum and social media, there is little comparison in my view. Facebook users expect a response within seconds, or minutes at most, and may become depressed if their posts are ignored. Responses on this forum are much slower, and are sometimes received weeks or even months later. Furthermore, it is almost impossible to find old posts on Facebook, which is perhaps why the same monotonous drivel is repeated time and time again.
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Old 15th January 2018
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Re: Social media and mental health

Hear, hear, Nigel.
I see reasons why Apple was singled out:
1. Apple shareholders, not Google or Nokia.

2. More importantly, the iPhone is part of the "image" that has been sold to the gullible or receptive. It's an excellent phone; it was the first true smartphone. But above all, it was and still is, "the phone to have". If many teenagers don't have one, they feel inadequate, just as if they don't have enough "likes" or "friends", and they see it as part of the key to doing so. In a sense, you can't blame Apple, or indeed, Facebook, for exploiting the phenomenon; and once the genie is out of the bottle, you can't get him in again, can you?

So far as Facebook, and Twitter et al are concerned, my cousin's view is "tax them till the pips squeak" and use the money to fund proper mental health services. I can't in all honestly fall out with that view; but it's bolting the stable door after a whole herd of horses have gone. But i can't think of a better alternative that would actually work.

So far as this forum goes, as with Facebook, no-one has to go onto it. More importantly, no-one is exploiting vulnerable young people in order to make a mountain of money from this forum, unlike Facebook etc.. Perhaps that is the point that makes FB etc so pernicious.

It really is a dreadfully difficult problem to combat, and maybe the only solution is that parents are the ones who need to be educated and motivated enough to do so. But God alone knows how!

Incidentally, the iPhone has a secondary issue in this regard: its cost. Parents who can't afford it still give in and strive to somehow do so, in order that their little darlings aren't allowed to feel deprived, whereas, in fact, their children are more deprived by getting one - deprived of normal growing up, and probably a decent future, in many cases. Used to be like this with branded trainers, didn't it?
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Old 15th January 2018
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Re: Social media and mental health

I think the problem is wider than just social media. (Rant warning!) The relentless stream of advertising that bombards us continuously from web sites, TV, commercial radio, billboards etc demanding that we continuously buy stuff and "upgrade to the latest". I cannot listen to commercial radio and seldom watch live commercial television because of the incessant and banal adverts, and some web sites are virtually unusable without an ad-blocker. I even came across a petrol station that had advertising screens on the pumps blasting out more of this inane drivel, needless to say I didn't return unless I absolutely had to, and when I did I found they had been switched off. Presumably I'm not the only one! Young people are constantly bombarded with this stuff, it can't be doing them any good.

I do have an iPhone but it's secondhand, and I do use Facebook but with an ad-blocker set to max . At least with magazines and newspapers it's easy to ignore the ads, and thank goodness for the BBC - though even then the endlessly repeated trailers get annoying!
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Old 15th January 2018
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Re: Social media and mental health

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I think the problem is wider than just social media. (Rant warning!) The relentless stream of advertising that bombards us continuously from web sites, TV, commercial radio, billboards etc demanding that we continuously buy stuff and "upgrade to the latest". I cannot listen to commercial radio and seldom watch live commercial television because of the incessant and banal adverts, and some web sites are virtually unusable without an ad-blocker. I even came across a petrol station that had advertising screens on the pumps blasting out more of this inane drivel, needless to say I didn't return unless I absolutely had to, and when I did I found they had been switched off. Presumably I'm not the only one! Young people are constantly bombarded with this stuff, it can't be doing them any good.

I do have an iPhone but it's secondhand, and I do use Facebook but with an ad-blocker set to max . At least with magazines and newspapers it's easy to ignore the ads, and thank goodness for the BBC - though even then the endlessly repeated trailers get annoying!
And have you noticed how the adverts on TV have expanded in ratio compared to the programme? Some channels it's about 7 minutes programme to 5 minutes adverts at peak times. Totally destroys your enjoyment.

I have a Facebook account, but used it just once, and that was enough. They bombarded me for at least two years afterwards, trying to get me to get back on there and acquire "friends". No thank you!
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