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Do I need to put down my smartphone?

Tue May 22, 2018, 11:43 AM
By now a lot of us have seen articles claiming that smartphone use = depression and loneliness, particularly in teenagers. Personally, my parents moved us before I started high school. Having a smartphone would've made it way easier to stay in touch with my middle school friends.

So am I wrong, or...?

In the words of Candice Odgers, "more than 90% of US adolescents are online daily, and much of their time is spent connecting with friends and family whom they share their offline lives with."

This doesn't seem like a bad thing to me. Especially with a full plate of activities and no car, you might not have another chance to catch up with your friends/family. Not that spending all day on a phone is good—there's some research into the reinforcement of reward/addiction pathways that bothers me enough to have deleted the Twitter app—but it's not unequivocally making you a less complete person, either.

I recommend reading the full article, but if you're not able to do so:

Key takeaways from 'Smartphones are bad for some teens, not all'


It's not all bad news
  • In general, teens are doing better on metrics like pregnancy, violence, alcohol abuse, and smoking. :highfive:

What about increases in teenage depression/anxiety?
  • Yes, there have been significant increases in reported mental health problems (suicide and depression)
    • but it's not clear that these problems result from being online more:

    • Surveys in the 1990s and early 2000s showed that teens who were online more also reported depression/anxiety more
      • but we went from 14% adult Internet access in 1995 to 90% of US adolescents being online daily, so we'd expect a way bigger jump in depression/anxiety if it was all because of the Internet

Results of social media use + mental wellness studies are a mixed bag
  • 2017 study of 120,000+ UK adolescents
    • "Moderate" use doesn't affect mental health
    • "High" use slightly associates with worse mental health

  • 2009 long-term study of 1,300+ children
    • Kids 6-12 who have more friends use more social media aged 12-18
    • Still have good offline friendships

  • Online communication can help after being excluded from social events


The Internet can also
 boost real relationships and interactions, however....

Social media might make existing problems worse
  • Less wealthy kids have worse outcomes than the well-off

If you're
  • Being bullied
  • Getting into fights
  • Having trouble concentrating

These things can be amplified by spending more time on social media

Finally, we need to pay attention to how what we post online is used by onsite algorithms and corporate/academic researchers


What does this mean for me?


Being happier after using social media doesn't mean you're wrong or weird. Social media really can boost friendships and social connections.

But!

  • If you have existing problems, pay attention to what happens when you use a lot of social media. If things are worse, consider adjusting what you do when you're online.

  • What are you doing online? Lurking may be less likely to boost your health than actively improving/making friendships.

  • We've been talking about mental health—physical health matters too. Needless to say, spending all day 5" from a screen isn't good for your body. I have a full time desk job so I take frequent breaks and work out 5-6 days a week.

  • Addiction to social media isn't well defined, but if you're constantly waiting on reactions to your social media posts, or you feel anxious or sad when people don't react to your posts, that's not the best thing.


As always, your thoughts welcome

:peace:


STOP trivializing mental illness!!

Sat Oct 28, 2017, 2:25 PM

Halloween-related exploitation has got to stop.


I am almost never on DA anymore; I sign in to support a few friends, and that's it. But with all the Halloween festivities going around, I keep seeing something that's really bothering me, so, fuck it, I'm going to tell you about it. (And please note this blog is targeted at NO ONE in particular.)

We, as a DA community, must stop using mental illness as a way to entertain ourselves on Halloween (and at any time, for that matter).


Let's differentiate between TALKING about mental illness and EXPLOITING mental illness.

I understand that many of us, myself included, have addressed suicidality or some mood disorder at some point in our work. Exploring the darker nature of ourselves and the fragility of humanity is one thing. But, when you glorify mental illness, reveling in the "insane" for how "scary" and "murderous" they are, you are propagating a stereotype that is actually HARMFUL to people who live with mental illness.

Why is it harmful to promote stigma?


"Stigma" refers to a stereotype, reputation, or label people get just because they live with mental illness and happens independently of their own actions. It is very difficult to live in a world where most people (1) are afraid you are going to "snap" and possibly hurt them, (2) think of you as less capable than they are, (3) don't trust you, (4) don't make any attempt to understand you because you are "weird" and "different," and (5) say horrible things about you, using words like "crazy," "unhinged," "unstable," and "insane" loosely to refer to people who live with your condition. 

These are the people I advocate for on a daily basis, the people I dedicate my life and career to helping-- and they are the people you are hurting with your cheap jokes and Halloween gimmicks.

How does YOUR contributing to stigma hurt people living with mental illness? Here's how:

1. Stigma is often internalized. That means, when you treat them with ridicule, fear, disdain, or some other harmful vibe (even if you never interact with them directly), people will internalize that and feel the same shame, fear, and disdain toward themselves. If society tells us we're bad, we assume we're bad. Can you imagine going through life thinking you are meaningless because that's what your brain disease tells you, only to have that negative thought validated by society?

2. Stigma makes it difficult to seek care because you are afraid you'll be judged or get a "label." If everyone thinks people who hear voices are maniacal killers, for example, I am NOT about to go get a label that says I'm a maniacal killer! And so I may go without treatment, which makes me even sicker. I may lose my job, my health, my family, my friends, etc. because of untreated mental illness. Painting people with psychosis as maniacal killers in our little Halloween haunted houses, art groups, etc., creates a stigma that can prevent care-seeking.

3. Stigma isolates people. What's ironic about that is that AT LEAST 1 out of every 4 of us (25% or more) will have mental illness at some point during our lives. 

4. Hey, does any of this sound like harassment or even bullying? Except it's not necessarily done to the person, but rather ABOUT the person or even about the environment itself.


Oh no, she didn't!

DA is supposed to be a relatively safe space, and yet these groups and actions are allowed. I mean, why not, if extreme sexual content is allowed, right? But porn extreme sexual content doesn't SYSTEMATICALLY harm a single, VULNERABLE group of DA SUBSCRIBERS (actually, it harms young users, but at least they have the mature content filter). By targeting, either on purpose or coincidence, a specific group of vulnerable people--those who live with mental illnesses--these "communities" and "artists" are marginalizing us. Would you marginalize racial minorities? Religious minorities? Sexual minorities? No-- that's against DA policy. So why is it OK to do so to people living with mental illness?

So, dark art? Fine. I LOVE dark art. Art that challenges the psyche? Love it. BRING IT! And I get that we have a right to freedom of expression. For some people, creating art and imagery, or writing content, that depicts what it's like to be in the hell we call mental illness is freeing and cathartic. I am totally down with this, and this expression is welcome at mental-health

My problem arises when people glorify "insanity" or paint people with mental illness as creatures to be feared and loathed. I wouldn't paint a Black man as fearful and murderous. I would never paint a Muslim as fearful and murderous. And would you ever paint something derogatory about someone who uses a wheelchair?? Why would you do that to someone with mental health challenges? It's a biological fucking condition, like cancer or diabetes.

EDIT: Also, research from mentalhealth.gov and The National Institute of Mental Health shows that people with mental health conditions are more likely to hurt themselves than they are to hurt you. Moreover, even when people are psychotic, by a vast majority, people with mental illness are more likely to be violent toward themselves than to be violent toward others. They are more likely to be VICTIMS of violence than to commit acts of violence. (thank you, neurotype!)

I'm not being super sensitive. I'm no snowflake. I'm not saying that I "can't be made uncomfortable." It's not about being made uncomfortable. It's not even about being politically correct. It's about people having basic human rights.

So, just stop. Dark art, fine. Sharing experiences, fine. Raising awareness, fine. Using mental illness for entertainment value? SO NOT OKAY. 

Have a fun and RESPONSIBLE Halloween. Remember that Halloween-HQ has a game going on, and it doesn't involve "crazy" or "insane" people. :P :pumpkin:


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:iconjhaspar:
jhaspar Featured By Owner Mar 22, 2017
Wow, what a wonderful group on dA!
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:iconmhairigood:
mhairigood Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2017
I'm so happy to see an active group that focuses on mental health.
All the other ones seem dead. Tis rather sad.. :saddummy:
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:iconaeirmid:
Aeirmid Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2017   Digital Artist
We're trying to be active. A couple of the most vocal members have kind-of moved on (myself included) but we are trying to keep the group alive. :)  Glad you're here.... feel free to jump in and participate!
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:iconcookiesharkarts:
CookieSharkArts Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks for accepting me. I was hoping it would be OK to contribute a project to the group. I have been working on. Positive Pals are some cute drawings I have done to promote self care and positive towards those that have mental health issues. I would like to share them as I make more. Let me know if thats OK and if so which folder should I out them in. 

cookiesharkarts.deviantart.com…
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:iconaeirmid:
Aeirmid Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2016   Digital Artist
Sorry for the slow reply. We would love for you to contribute! The Happiness and Positivity folder would be perfect! Thank you. Please just don't send more than maybe 3-4 at a time.
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
You can submit to this folder :) mental-health.deviantart.com/g…

We try not to flood watchers with posts so a few at a time would be best.
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:iconcookiesharkarts:
CookieSharkArts Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
Ok Cool thank you!
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:iconjessimariephotograph:
jessimariephotograph Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2016  Hobbyist Photographer
Thank you for accepting my request!
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:iconkirstenandhercamera:
KirstenAndHerCamera Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2016  Hobbyist Photographer
thankyou for accepting me :D
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:iconaeirmid:
Aeirmid Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2016   Digital Artist
Welcome!!
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