Jacob Hutchinson 15/12/17 Social Media SociologySocial media was initially created to offer a place for communication to occur over the internet. Instead, it has become a sea of cyberbullying, catfishing, and issues with body image. Over time, it has become more addictive than alcohol and cigarettes (Fox). I chose this topic mainly because of the control it has on our society. If you are sitting in a restaurant and look around, you will find a groups of people all on their phone. They are not conversing with the people in front of them. I use social media as my own news outlet and for the ease of communication. If I did not have social media, I would have never heard about the Libyan Slave Trade or Net Neutrality since the news does not cover those topics. Overall, social media has grown enormously over the past decade. Social media can negatively affect our society by allowing us to compare ourselves to other people on the internet. It is supposed to help each other connect. Instead, it is influencing poor mental health on young adults and teenagers. In the past, bullying occurred at school and stopped when the child went home. However, that is no longer the case. Bullying continues over the internet, which is called Cyberbullying. Teenagers can no longer escape bullying. Catfishing has also became a prominent issue with online dating. Anyone can post information that is not true to themselves. Online dating has allowed for serial killers, sexual predators, and other criminals to have an easier opportunity to catch their victims. Body Image plays a role in social media because it allows us to compare ourselves to other people around the world. Eating disorders like Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa all are influenced by social media and the looking glass self theory. When I was gathering my research, I was expecting to find different results based off of specific experiences that other people have gone through. I researched topics on cyberbullying, catfishing, body image, indirect communication, stalking, and more. Many sources link that social media can cause depression, cyberbullying, obesity, internet addiction, and sleep deprivation (Ramasubbu). Social media can directly impact body image. Body Image is the subjective picture of one’s own physical appearance established by self-observation and by noting the reactions of others. Psychologists have stated that there is a link between social media and the fact that more teenagers have more body image concerns, dieting, body surveillance, a drive for thinness, and self-objectification. In my research, I found that 34.5% of people have experienced body issues after using social media. With the usage of apps like FaceTune, we are able to cover our pimples, whiten our teeth, and even airbrush by a single swipe of a finger (Simmons).Cyberbullying is the process of using the internet to send text or images intended to hurt or embarrass someone (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services). Cyber Harassment is the same as Cyberbullying. However, the only difference is the age of the victim and perpetrator. As long as a minor, under 18 years of age, is involved, the legal definition states that it is Cyberbullying. Pew research has found that 39% of teenagers have experienced cyberbullying, while 15% were disturbed by having private messages posted online. The National Council on Crime Prevention found that three out of four victims of cyberbullying have traced the identities of the perpetrators. Only 23% of victims have reported that they have been bullied by someone they do not know (Ramasubbu). I sent a survey to a sample of 58 people and I found that 36% reported that they have been a victim of cyberbullying. Studies reported that 58% of teenagers said that they were upset or embarrassed because a friend posted a private photo of them (Rohampton). There are many laws and organizations that try to prevent cyberbullying because it has became a very common issue in this decade.A famous cyberbullying case that I researched was Amanda Todd’s story. She was born in British Columbia, Canada in 1996. She was only in 7th grade when she was asked to flash her breasts to an unknown stranger on a chat room. A year later, the same man contacted her on Facebook and asked her to “put on a show” for him. He threatened to release the picture to all of her family and friends if she did not comply. Her peers started to bully and tease her for what she did. She became severely depressed, she developed anxiety, and she began to use drugs and alcohol. She kept changing schools. However, the bullying kept following her and therapy did not seem to help her situation. In September 2012, she released her story onto YouTube before committing suicide a month later. According to BBC, a middle-aged man was arrested in the Netherlands and was charged in a connection with Amanda’s suicide (The Unforgettable Amanda Todd Story). An example of a cyberbullying case that I have personally witnessed ended up happening on Twitter. Laurat Krasniqi, or Lati, is a Swedish-Albanian transgender girl, who only wants to produce covers of popular songs on her account. Her peers found her covers and began to bully her severely. She was sent to foster care, where she was physically, mentally, and sexually abused. She eventually had to quit school because of the severe bullying. She constantly gets bullied by people she doesn’t even know on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and even Snapchat. She gets called a numerous amount of names like tranny, ugly, psychotic, fake, and a ton of other names. She is told that she can’t sing and that she deserves to die on a daily basis. I messaged her through direct messages to find out information about her story and we became friends through social media. Teenagers are becoming experts in hiding their activities from their parents. We have the ability to create “finstas”, or fake Instagram accounts, for their closest friends. They are able to post whatever they want without their parents finding out. Studies show that 30% of teenagers said that their parents know nothing about their social media activities (Homayoun). In my research, 19% said that their parents have no idea about their social media accounts. Parents play a necessary role in their children’s social media activities. They typically tend to monitor any cyberbullying, inappropriate images, etc. If you do not have parent involvement, teenagers can easily hide their feelings. If parents do not track their child’s social media activities, it can lead to several important issues like self-harm, cyberbullying, and more.Catfishing is a slang term for the act of someone who pretends to be someone they’re not using a source of social media to create false identities to pursue online relationships. Catfishing is not just used for relationships. It can be used by teenagers that have self esteem issues and people that are jealous of their peers or they want revenge. Catfish: The TV Show first premiered on November 12th, 2012. It is currently on the sixth season. It takes submissions and investigates catfish cases all across the country. The television show was created based off of a documentary of Yaniv Schulman’s catfish story. After analyzing a statistical analysis of Catfish: The TV Show, 73% of people have used photos of someone else online. 69% of people have used someone else’s name as their own. 64% of catfishers are female and 24% have assumed the role of the opposite gender (Peterson). In my own research, I found that 12% of 58 people have been a victim of catfishing. Although, I found that most of the people in my sample did not know what catfishing was. A somewhat famous catfishing story that I have came across was based off of the television show. The story that I have used was that of Antwane and Tony. Antwane connected with Tony on a phone chat line that charged $2.99 per minute. In their three years of dating, Tony has been hesitant about sharing any personal information, such as photos of himself, his last name, where he lives, his phone number, and any other details. The only thing that Antwane knew about Tony was that he was buff and tall. A reverse phone number search found three addresses in Cincinnati and a mugshot of a guy named Anthony Thomas. After not having any success, Antwane’s cousin, Carmen, admitted to being Tony. Carmen stated that she catfished Antwane because he called her “fat Kelly Price” in front of a ton of people at a get together. In my experiment, I used myself as the test subject. I decided to go a week without social media and record how I felt at the end of each day. I started the test on Sunday, November 27th, 2017 and ended the test on Friday, December 1st, 2017. On Sunday, I deleted my social media applications that included Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. Before I deleted my accounts, I told a friend to take care of my Snapchat streaks. A streak is a system that records how many days you consistently sent a picture to someone (Wiesnet). It is a major thing for teenagers nowadays. I told my friends that the best way to keep in contact would be through text messages. On Monday, I found that I kept constantly checking my phone for notifications. I had to distract myself from the urge of downloading the applications. I was looking for stuff to do and stumbled upon a book. I read the entire book in a sitting. I guess you could say that I was unfathomably bored. On Tuesday, I mainly helped my family put up Christmas decorations. It took most of the evening because we had to go through a ton of boxes.Throughout the rest of the week, It got somewhat easier each day. I went and met up with my friends at the mall on Wednesday. It was rather difficult that they were on social media when we were hanging out. I could not check my Snapchat stories, Instagram posts, or Twitter moments. On Thursday, I spent the evening cleaning around the house trying to distract myself from social media. I found a picture with my friend from an elementary school field trip. I was going to send the picture to the friend before I realized that I could not because of the fact that I am doing this experiment. On Friday, It was finally the end of my experiment. I downloaded my social media applications and had missed a bunch of posts from my friends. I got on Twitter and I found out that I had missed a new Beyoncé song while I was doing my experiment. I told my friend that was taking care of my streaks that I am officially done with the test. I found that my sleep pattern significantly improved over the past week. It was a relief not having to go through a ton of notifications in the morning. Overall, I take my access to social media for granted and that I should appreciate it more than I used to in the past. Social media has an importance influence on our society. It can control our living situations, federal institutions, and entertainment businesses. Works CitedBlaszczak-Boxe, Agata. “Social Media Use in Teens Linked to Poor Sleep, Anxiety.”LiveScience, Purch, 11 Sept. 2015, www.livescience.com/52148-social-media-teen-sleep-anxiety.html. Dean, Michelle. “The Story of Amanda Todd.” The New Yorker, The New Yorker, 18 June 2017, www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/the-story-of-amanda-todd.Ehmke, Rachel. “How Using Social Media Affects Teenagers.” Child Mind Institute, www.childmind.org/article/how-using-social-media-affects-teenagers/. Fox, Kara. “Instagram Worst App for Young People’s Mental Health.” CNN, Cable News Network, 19 May 2017, www.cnn.com/2017/05/19/health/instagram-worst-social-network-app-young-people-mental-health/index.html.Homayoun, Ana. “The Secret Social Media Lives of Teenagers.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 7 June 2017, www.nytimes.com/2017/06/07/well/family/the-secret-social-media-lives-of-teenagers.html?mcubz=3. Peterson, Hayley. “‘Catfishing:’ The Phenomenon of Internet Scammers Who Fabricate Online Identities and Entire Social Circles to Trick People into Romantic Relationships.”Daily Mail Online, Associated Newspapers, 17 Jan. 2013, www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2264053/Catfishing-The-phenomenon-Internet-scammers-fabricate-online-identities-entire-social-circles-trick-people-romantic-relationships.html. Ramasubbu, Suren. “Influence of Social Media on Teenagers.” The Huffington Post, TheHuffingtonPost.com, 26 May 2015, www.huffingtonpost.com/suren-ramasubbu/influence-of-social-media-on-teenagers_b_7427740.html. Ramasubbu, Suren. “Privacy and Teens in Social Media.” The Huffington Post, TheHuffingtonPost.com, 3 Mar. 2017, www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/privacy-and-teens-in-social-media_us_58b92d56e4b0fa65b844b1de. Rohampton, Jimmy. “Millennials, Here’s How Social Media Impacts Your Relationships.”Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 4 May 2017, www.forbes.com/sites/jimmyrohampton/2017/05/03/millennials-heres-how-social-media-impacts-your-relationships/#e6ae93279228. Simmons, Rachel. “How Social Media Is a Toxic Mirror.” Time, Time, 19 Aug. 2016, www.time.com/4459153/social-media-body-image/. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “What Is Cyberbullying.” StopBullying.gov, 18 Sept. 2017, www.stopbullying.gov/cyberbullying/what-is-it/index.html. Wiesnet, Natalie. “Snapchat Emojis – Those Hearts and Smiley Faces – EXPLAINED.”Information Space, 18 Nov. 2016, ischool.syr.edu/infospace/2015/08/21/snapchat-emojis-those-hearts-and-smiley-faces-explained/.