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Teenagers highly active on Social Media more prone to Suicide risk!

Community with its intense pressure to succeed, coupled with narrowly defined ideals about what youths should be, can perpetuate teenage suicide clusters

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Image used for representational purpose. Image source: wikimedia Commons

New York, Sept 10, 2016: Being socially connected has become a must for the teens today! The homogeneous culture and intense degree of social connectedness of a community can contribute to teenage suicide as well as thwart prevention efforts, says a study contradicting popular notions about being socially connected.

“The findings highlights the downside to social connectedness, something that is usually touted as a key tool for suicide prevention,” said Anna S. Mueller, Assistant Professor at the University of Chicago in Illinois, US.

Community with its intense pressure to succeed, coupled with narrowly defined ideas about what youths should be, can perpetuate teenage suicide clusters, in which a series of suicides happen around the same time and in close proximity.

Fears of not living up to such ideals combined with the ease with which private information became public, due to social connectedness, leave teenagers and their parents unwilling to seek help for mental health problems.

Despite having social connections within the community, such conditions rendered youths who were already struggling particularly vulnerable to suicide, the researchers explained.

“Our study also helps explain why some schools with intense academic pressure have problems with suicide while others do not. It’s not just the pressure, but a combination of certain community factors that can make asking for help even harder,” Mueller added.

The study demonstrated how community needs to be considered when assessing vulnerabilities, and why prevention organisations should no longer view social connectedness exclusively as a positive force in measuring suicide risk.

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For the study, the team focussed on a single community, in which 19 students or recent graduates of the local high school had committed suicide between 2000 and 2015. Their field research included interviews and focus groups involving a total of 110 people.

The initiative to create various programmes to help students divert perceived failure and development of academic pressure were keenly recommended, the researchers said, in the paper published in the journal American Sociological Review. (IANS)

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Collective Attention Span Among People Decreases Rapidly as of 24/7 News Availability

"As a next step, it would be interesting to look into how this affects individuals, since the observed developments may have negative implications for an individual's ability to evaluate the information they consume," said researchers. 

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"Since the available amount of attention remains more or less the same, the result is that people are more rapidly made aware of something happening and lose interest more quickly. However, the study does not address attention span on the level of the individual person," Lehmann noted. Pixabay

People are losing their collective attention span rapidly owing to the ‘fear of missing out’ (FOMO), staying up-to-date on social media and breaking news coming at them 24/7 via various platforms, a team of European scientists has warned.

The study with first empirical evidence in the journal Nature Communications has found that our collective attention span is indeed narrowing and that this effect occurs not only on social media but also across diverse domains, including books, web searches and movie popularity.

FOMO is social anxiety characterised by “a desire to stay continually connected with what others are doing”.

“It seems the allocated attention in our collective minds has a certain size, but the cultural items competing for that attention have become densely packed. “This would support the claim that it has indeed become difficult to stay up-to-date on the news cycle, for example,” said Professor Sune Lehmann from Technical University of Denmark (DTU).

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The study with first empirical evidence in the journal Nature Communications has found that our collective attention span is indeed narrowing and that this effect occurs not only on social media but also across diverse domains, including books, web searches and movie popularity. Pixabay

To reach this conclusion, the scientists studied Twitter data from 2013 to 2016, books from Google Books going back 100 years, movie ticket sales going back 40 years, and citations of scientific publications from the last 25 years.

In addition, they gathered data from Google Trends (2010-2018), Reddit (2010-2015) and Wikipedia (2012-2017).

When looking into the global daily top 50 hashtags on Twitter, scientists found that peaks became increasingly steep and frequent. In 2013, a hashtag stayed in the top 50 for around 17.5 hours and gradually decreased to 11.9 hours in 2016.

The trend is mirrored in other domains, online and offline as well.

“Since the available amount of attention remains more or less the same, the result is that people are more rapidly made aware of something happening and lose interest more quickly. However, the study does not address attention span on the level of the individual person,” Lehmann noted.

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To reach this conclusion, the scientists studied Twitter data from 2013 to 2016, books from Google Books going back 100 years, movie ticket sales going back 40 years, and citations of scientific publications from the last 25 years. 
Pixabay

The study was conducted by a team of European scientists from Technische Universitat Berlin, Max Planck Institute for Human Development, University College Cork and DTU.

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“As a next step, it would be interesting to look into how this affects individuals, since the observed developments may have negative implications for an individual’s ability to evaluate the information they consume,” said researchers.

Acceleration increases, for example, the pressure on journalists’ ability to keep up with an ever-changing news landscape. “We hope more research in this direction will inform the way we design new communication systems,” the team said. (IANS)