A new study of almost 500 college-age students has found that the heaviest users of social media routinely had personalities that tended to enjoy hurting and denigrating others.
A fascinating study of 472 university students tracked their usage on two top platforms for 18-to-24-year olds: Snapchat (2.64 hours per day) and Facebook (2.28 hours per day). Researchers found that users displaying addictive behavior were also more likely to be motivated to be cruel and callous and to use others for personal gain.
“Our results demonstrate that individuals who have a greater preference for these types of rewards display greater problematic use of both platforms,” write the researchers, who note that these traits are also associated with narcissism and psychopathy and have previously been correlated with addictive internet use. They write that social media sites unwittingly “cater to people who seek rewards from being cruel, such as through cyberbullying or various aggressive online behaviors.”
Not only does this study confirm the general behavior of the bulk of all Twitter users, which has become a cesspool of slander, character assassination, and hate, it also describes the behavior of the many trolls one routinely sees commenting on websites (including Behind the Black). Too often such anonymous individuals show up throwing out comments whose only purpose is to either disagree, argue, or insult others. It requires on my part a lot of monitoring to keep such childish behavior off of this website, and this study helps to explain why it happens.
The study also provides some guidance on what adults should be doing to prevent this behavior in their children. It is a bad thing to let young children play on social media endlessly. Their use of computers and smart phones must be monitored, and their use must be disciplined, to teach children to think independently from the social media trends that can easily overwhelm them
Hat tip Ace of Spades.
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