Links to Think

Links to Think: 13.01.28

January 28, 2013

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Is Facebook envy making you miserable? – An insightful article on our use of social media.

“LONDON (Reuters) – Witnessing friends’ vacations, love lives and work successes on Facebook can cause envy and trigger feelings of misery and loneliness, according to German researchers.

The researchers found that one in three people felt worse after visiting the site and more dissatisfied with their lives, while people who browsed without contributing were affected the most.”

“”The spread and ubiquitous presence of envy on Social Networking Sites is shown to undermine users’ life satisfaction.”

They found people aged in their mid-30s were most likely to envy family happiness while women were more likely to envy physical attractiveness.

These feelings of envy were found to prompt some users to boast more about their achievements on the site run by Facebook Inc. to portray themselves in a better light.

Men were shown to post more self-promotional content on Facebook to let people know about their accomplishments while women stressed their good looks and social lives.”

Watching What They Watch – Christianity Today’s Her.Meneutics article gives 9 tips for media selection for kids ages 3 to 10. I found much of this thinking similar to ours, including why we don’t find Veggie Tales a good choice for young kids. 🙂

“Especially in Christian circles, I hear plenty of pontificating on the evils of American entertainment, but as a parent, what I need most is realistic advice for the world I live in. Most of us are not going to burn our TVs. Most of us need a positive and practical model for how to raise “media wise” kids. That model should address not just the content of what we show our kids, but also the form it comes in and how it’s made. That’s why media literacy matters.”

“Pay attention to how fast the video moves. The faster the cut rate—more edits or image changes per minute—the more frenetic the video, and the more frenetic the video, the more difficulty your child will have tracking the story. Generally speaking, the younger the child, the slower the cut rate.”

“Even if your child seems to be tracking a fast-paced video, be cognizant of how it impacts her emotional state. A frenetic video with lots of visual edits and up-tempo music can rev her system the same way rock music revs your system. Conversely, a slower video will help calm her system. Keep in mind, too, that TV viewing impacts cognitive development. Some studies indicate that, even in homes that value education, excess TV exposure impairs learning in school.”

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  • Kim G January 28, 2013 at 11:36 am

    I read both of these articles last week. I definitely agree that Facebook can cause envy. I am thankful that God made me a fairly content person, but I do have to watch that I do not envy other people’s vacations or houses or _________. I have so much more than I need, and I am blessed!

    I’m curious what your family’s choices for media is for your kids. I know that my kids watch too much, and we’re trying to cut back. I also have to watch the pace of shows, especially in the evening. It’s just not easy since I haven’t had decent sleep in over three years and have a chronic undiagnosed illness now. Sometimes the only coping mechanism I have is the TV, which I hate!

    • Keren January 30, 2013 at 9:06 pm

      Yes, I totally relate, Kim! I feel like overall in life I’ve been a “contented” person. The places where envy or jealousy arises always takes me by surprise–I realize I’m not as content with certain life aspects that I thought. Areas where I struggled with years ago, don’t phase me now; at the same time, areas I’d never imagine myself struggling with leave me crushed by the envy that sometimes pops up.

      I had to laugh reading this article, because just like the author, we’ve found a show like BBC’s “Kipper” to be a healthier options than something as fast paced as Veggie Tales or Sesame Street. We try to make movies only in our van for longs trips (we have a DVD player), but in difficult times we also use it at home–like you mentioned–during sickness, etc… We have Amazon Prime, and some of the shows we’ve found slower paced are Kipper, Little Bear, Mister Rogers Neighborhood and Caillou (like Kristen mentioned). Obviously, this changes as our family grows and changes. We’ve also watched some of the Families of the World movies as a family night option or other random documentaries (Planet Earth, Babies). And in our van, we also have some of the Leap Frog Alphabet series.

      This summer we were quite healthy, but while I was still pregnant/right after Justus was born, we let our girls watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (YouTube). So, on occasion this summer, we started letting them watch an episode on Saturday mornings. But…we found that this was too overstimulating for them and usually caused for meltdowns at some point shortly afterwards.

      All that to say, we’ve had seasons of watching more and seasons of watching little to none. Totally understand that families will at times need to use it to get through rough patches (which for some people is a long time), but I think just being aware of the effect it does have helps, as well as being on the lookout that are age inappropriate–more than just content-wise. For us, it tends to make one of our girls really grumpy–even the slower paced shows! 🙂

  • Kristen January 29, 2013 at 9:34 pm

    Both great articles! I had to laugh at the first one because this is at least the 3rd time I’ve been within days of opening a FB account (just in that last “do I really want to do this?” stage) when I’ve come across some article or anecdote like this one. 😀

    You know that, sadly, I can speak from experience both to being in desperate straits where I felt like I “needed” to have my kids watch more media than I ever dreamed and also to the negative affects it has. Recently we’ve cut out almost all video-watching and it’s made a difference in their play and sleep. I am thankful for Caillou and Little Bear though for those occasions when we do need a slow-paced, warm and charming view. 😉

    Thanks for sharing! I’m happy whenever I see “Links to Think” pop up in my reader. 🙂

    • Keren January 30, 2013 at 9:08 pm

      I even think Facebook has evolved as it’s come of age. Sometimes, it’s just a big rant platform, and other times it’s a great way to stay connected, or share pictures of family activities. 🙂

      Yes, Caillou and Little Bear are actually great imagination-feeders in our house. (Though, again, too much or too often is also a grumpiness-feeder!)

  • Johanna Hanson January 30, 2013 at 9:02 pm

    My kids watch very little, but these are basically how we’ve made decisions too. Someone told me that they didn’t like Thomas because they found it too boring. I thought, “that’s exactly why I don’t mind it!” It is slow pace and simple.
    I think the advice to listen to the audio without watching is a great one. I hadn’t really pinpointed that, but that is what I think I do…I’ll pay more attention to that now.

    • Keren January 30, 2013 at 9:20 pm

      Definitely on the boring aspect! 🙂 We haven’t seen much of Thomas–mostly because it’s not as available how we access “shows.” I do wish there were a more “boring” Bible program or history of the world program that we could use in place of even the others. But all the Bible programs geared for younger age (other than some song DVDs) are way to crazy even for me.

      (Rabbit trail warning.) I know people who are comfortable with allowing their children to watch shows like Narnia or LOTR even in primary school ages and below. Some of these children have read the books previously, and others have not. But I think the principle of just listening to the audio applies in reverse, too (although it wasn’t mentioned here): just because they have read the story via audio or book form, does not mean they are ready to actually “see” what these scenes look like. There is a huge difference between hearing or reading stories and allowing your mind to form mental images of what such drama and violence might look like and actually seeing the drama or violence depicted (same thing with Bible stories at certain ages). Of course, the book Simplicity Parenting addresses the effects of young children watching such emotionally heavy programming.

      • Johanna Hanson February 2, 2013 at 9:01 am

        Oh, yes! I agree! We have friends as well that let their very young children watch The Hobbit, LOTR, etc.. I think it is too high stimulation. I agree with you, it isn’t a question of there being good or bad things in the movie, but the over-stimulation. (Also, it doesn’t help with increasing their attention spans… because while they can sit for a 2 hour movie the constant change of scenes is actually not requiring attention span of any great length). I am working really hard to increase my son’s attention span–full length movies do not help.)

        S.W.Bauer also points out in The Well-Trained Mind (which has been about 4yrs since I’ve read so…) that it is good to let kids imagine their own characters for awhile. They’ll get the movie rendition soon enough, but it is nice to let them imagine in their own way when they read or are read to.

        We lose the power of imagination when they watch the movie first or so close to the reading that they haven’t had time to imagine in their heads what they think the characters were like based on the descriptions. They don’t need to listen as well or read as well because the story description doesn’t matter as they already have the movie characters in their minds.
        (Which I realize has nothing to do with over-stimulation so I’m veering off topic, but that is yet another reason why I don’t want my kids watching them too soon. I want them to enjoy the characters in their heads and imaginations first)

        • Keren February 6, 2013 at 4:32 pm

          Well, I enjoy these off-topic discussions. Hehe. 😉

          Yes, I agree about the attention span, aspect, too. And that’s also why someone whose had a regular diet of fast-changing scenes will not care for something slower paced.

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