Here’s My Number, So Sext Me Maybe.

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Hey, guys! It’s Caroline, and as promised, my last post is on sexting. I deliberately saved sexting for last because I didn’t want my classmates and professor to make premature judgments about me for writing a blog post about sexting. In this post, I will cover the pros and cons of sexting, as well as how you can sext safely. I am happy to have finally written about it, and I hope you enjoy it as well!

Sexting is a controversial topic that is often not talked about among friends and colleagues (classmates and professors as well). It is an act that is often viewed as shameful. However, sexting is far more common than one may think. One study of 870 people ages 18-82 found that 88% of the respondents had sent or received a sext. Also, 82% said they had sent or received a sext in the last year.

So, what exactly is sexting? People often define it differently. It is most commonly defined as the exchange of sexually explicit images or texts through a form of electronic exchange. Many people just think of sexting as sending sexually explicit images, but it also includes sexually explicit messages. The texts that involve “Here is what I want to do to you… ;)” would be considered a sext. Think of it as modern day “phone sex.” Instead of talking on the phone, it is done through texting.

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Four out of five of your classmates have received a sext! A study published in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking found that 80% of undergraduates had received a sext, while 67% said they had sent a sext. On top of that, 46% of undergraduates had received a sexually suggestive image, and 64% had sent one.

Why are so many people sexting? Researchers in the previously mentioned study believe it has a lot to do with expectations, similar to how people are willing to engage in risky behaviors such as binge drinking or gambling because they think it will be fun. On the positive side, people reported that sending a sext made them feel sexy and exciting. People reported that receiving a sext made them feel admired and attractive. These positive feelings lower our inhibition and make us more willing to sext. Who doesn’t want to feel sexy and admired?

There are other theories about why people sext. A New York Times article discusses an online study conducted by psychologists where respondents were asked to report their sexting behavior as well as answer questions that measured how dominant, assertive, and in power the person strived to be. In people under the age of 27, power scores were not correlated with sexting behavior. In other words, the amount of sexting that someone did wasn’t related to how much they wanted to be in power. However, in adults over the age of 27, power and dominance was a factor in sexting. Adults who sexted may have been trying to be sexually dominant and assert their power.

As with just about everything, sexting has its pros and cons.

Psychology researchers at Drexel University conducted a study looking for potential benefits of sexting in relationships. They found that in casual relationships, sexting is linked to higher relationship satisfaction. In couples that were in long-term, committed relationships, sexting was only beneficial if it was desired by both the sender and receiver of the sext. When sexting occurred, but was unwanted, couples were more likely to have lower relationship satisfaction. Also, if you send a sext without consent, there may be legal ramifications, such as being charged with sexual harassment.

So, if you want to spice up your relationship by sending a sexy picture of yourself to your girlfriend on Snapchat, or you want to let her know what you can’t wait to do to her later, make sure she’s actually into that. If she is, it may benefit your relationship!

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Although there may be benefits to sexting, you have to take into account the potential risks. Bianca Klette, co-author of a review of sexting studies that was published in Clinical Psychology Review, points out that although you trust your boyfriend now, he may choose to spread those images and texts after a breakup to seek revenge. There are “revenge porn” websites solely dedicated to posting nude photos of an ex-partner for revenge. A survey revealed that 10 percent of ex-partners have threatened to post nude photos online for revenge, and 60 percent followed through with those threats.

Even if someone isn’t seeking revenge, sometimes people choose to forward or show their friends sexts they receive just for fun. A study done by the University of Rhode Island found that 17% of people who receive a sext forward it to at least one other person. Could the person you choose to sext be one of the people that forwards a sext to his or her friends?

The National Center for Psychological Trauma in the Netherlands has seen an increase in the need for mental health treatment for people who have been blackmailed with nude photos. Most of the victims are between the ages of 14 and 17. They frequently end up needing cognitive behavioral therapy to treat their symptoms relating to post-traumatic stress disorder. From what the center has seen, most of the time it is teenage girls getting blackmailed by their ex-boyfriends. Sometimes boys who are gay, but aren’t openly gay, end up getting blackmailed as well.

One study found that teenage depression and sexting are linked. The study was based on a survey of more than 23,000 high school students and it revealed that 13 percent of high school students who sexted also reported a suicide attempt in the past year, compared to only three percent of students who had not sexted. However, it is unclear whether sexting causes depression, or if depressed individuals are more likely to sext.

Celebrity sexting scandals gone public have become so common that nobody is even surprised by them anymore. Tiger Woods, Vanessa Hudgens, Miley Cyrus, Kanye West, and Pete Wentz are celebrities that have been caught in scandals, just to name a few. If it can happen to them, it can also happen to you. Fortunately for you, it probably wouldn’t be as public as a full-blown sexting scandal.

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You may be thinking to yourself, “So, if there are these supposed benefits to sexting, but also a bunch of risks, can I still sext safely?” The Washington Post posted an article titled “A guide to safe sexting: How to send nude photos without ruining your life, career, and reputation.” One of the easiest things you can do is NEVER INCLUDE YOUR FACE IN THE PHOTO. Sure, the guy you just sent that photo may question if it’s really you in the photo, but you don’t have to prove anything to him. If you’re sending photos to someone who you have already been nude in front of in person, that won’t be a problem. He should just be delighted he has a nude photo of you, even if your face isn’t shown.

If you want to be really careful, the article describes ways to make sure the photo you send has no ties to your phone or computer.

If you currently sext, make sure you do it with the possible consequences in mind, and do what you can to minimize your risk of being exposed, blackmailed, or humiliated in the future. If you are thinking about adding sexting to your current relationship to mix things up, make sure your partner is interested in sexting as well.

I hope my blog posts informed you about Tinder, why you should delete an ex on Facebook, Facebook affairs, and sexting! Now go forth and swipe right.

-Caroline

 

 

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Tis’ the Season to be Single

Hello world! It’s Jesse again here with my latest and final blog. I must say that it has been a real treat writing these blogs for you and I do hope you have found as much joy reading them as I have found writing them. Now, back to the topic at hand.

The holiday season is fast underway with people scrambling to make holiday plans with their close friends, family, and significant others. Commercials are displaying those perfect little gifts to buy your loved ones to make them melt (Get it? Because it’s time winter and there shall be snow). Love is in the air and everybody seems to be getting their perfect happily ever after…except for me. Yes, Jesse is sadly single once again over this holiday season. I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that being single over the holidays is probably one of the worst things on the planet…next to the plague of course. So what is it about this holiday season that drives all of us so crazy with the need to be in a relationship you might ask? The answer is actually quite simple.untitled

With constant images of happy laughing couples being shoved in our faces and every kiss beginning with Kay, it’s easy to see how one may get that sad and alone feeling over the holidays. Media has twisted the holiday season into having some crazy meaning that you MUST spend your holiday with that special lover or you are clearly a no-life. Fortunately, the holiday blues are nothing to fret over because it is perfectly normal to feel like a loser over the holiday season. An article on Daily Mail talks about new research from the USC’S Marshall School has revealed that reminding consumers of relationships they don’t have reduces their sense of deservingness and triggers them to restrict their own indulgent consumption. So, those happy couples that we see in ads receiving that perfect gift from each other on Christmas morning is supposed to make me feel happy and get me in the holiday spirit? I think not.

The Huffington Post talks about how many single people tend to treat their “condition” as if it’s a disease or defect and one should be ashamed of it. Therefore, if you are single, please stay indoors and save the rest of us the torture of possibly catching the “single” bug. Yes people, single is in the air and you could catch it too.

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According to the Huffington Post, 45 percent of the adult population (104 million people) are single. Almost half of the adult population is single, but you still never see commercials geared toward the single adult. Instead, all of them are designed to sell to the happy couple. An article on The Frisky stated that retail companies believe that when people feel envious of others, they will turn to retail therapy to make themselves feel better driving profits through the roof. Unfortunately, I don’t think they understand that I shall not be buying their stuff when all of it is geared towards couples. Never have I thought to myself “Yes, I think I just might go buy myself that fancy diamond ring and propose to myself.” Not once has this ever crossed my mind. The only thing the holiday season makes me want to do is crawl in a hole and resurface when the chaos has finished, or for a more specific date…February 15th.

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Now, I’m not just saying that one specific holiday is bad. The whole string of them are bad, with the exclusion of Thanksgiving. That one doesn’t really affect my feelings of being sad and alone. Christmas, New Year’s, and Valentine’s Day are downright terrible for the single person. Around Christmas you get to see all of the happy couples buying each other gifts and surprising them with that special gift they wanted. On New Year’s if you don’t have someone to kiss when the ball drops there is clearly something wrong with you and you may have to resort to more desperate measures. Lastly, Valentine’s Day is probably the worst holiday of them all because it is specifically geared toward happy couples. No attention whatsoever is given to the people who are single. So of course I’m going to be jealous when I see someone on Facebook getting that four foot stuffed teddy bear that I wanted. All of these holidays are geared toward sharing your time with that special someone.

Now, what should we do about being single over this stretch you might ask? Embrace it! Realize that it is totally okay to be single over the holidays and you are not defective by being single. There are so many things to be happy for over the holiday season that you actually don’t need to worry about possibly dying alone…kidding. Here are my 5 helpful tips to avoid being sad over the holidays and turn that frown upside down.

  1. You don’t have to blow your money on useless gifts for people. Just think of all the extra time and money you will save by not making yourself go out and buy gifts upon gifts for someone trying to make sure they are totally happy. Even though people may say, “Oh get me anything, I’m not picky.” Never fall for this. It is a trap! Everyone is picky about their gifts, it’s just human nature. An article on the Huffington Post talks about the average amount one must spend on their significant other over the holiday season. For people who have dated for 2.5 years, the average amount one spends is $92.50 with an expected increase of $21 per year of the relationship. After 5 years of dating, the average amount spent jumps up to $200. Lastly, after spending 10 years together, couples spent around $300 on each other. Mr. Single over here doesn’t have to worry about that.154863-I-Just-Saved-A-Bunch-Of-Money-This-Holiday-Season-By-Switching-To-Single
  2.  Spend the money on yourself! Go ahead and buy that completely stupid gift you’ve been wanting because you deserve it for putting up with all that happy couple nonsense. All of that money you will save by not trying to impress a lover can be spent on something that will actually focus on making you happy. Don’t worry about appeasing someone else.
  3.  Mistletoe? Yes, you can kiss whoever you want throughout the holiday season without angering that old ball and chain. Get a little too drunk at the holiday Christmas party and kiss your best friends’ cousin… who cares! You’re a free and independent man/woman and you can do whatever you wish. So, go swap spit with that random person eyeballing you from the corner.tumblr_lt7170TiLR1r113vf
  4.  No awkward Christmas photos with your boyfriend or girlfriend’s family. Who wouldn’t want to avoid standing awkwardly surrounded by a whole family of people you can’t even remember the names to and take a photo? Fortunately, you get to avoid all of this because you are single. Instead, you can take that awkward family photo with your own family as you ponder whether or not you are actually related to these people.
  5.  Lastly, and my personal favorite, is the joy of sitting at home doing the old Netflix and chill by yourself. No pressure of dressing up to impress someone and their family. No stress of having to bring a “homemade” desert you just bought ten minutes ago from Walmart to your family gatherings. All you need to worry about is placing yourself in front of your TV and make sure you know where the remote is. Also, Netflix has no commercials meaning that you’ll get to skip all of those terrible holiday ads that makes you feel so sad in the first place.
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If you are one of the many people joining me in being single over the holiday season, please do me a favor and enjoy it. Get out and do things that you enjoy and maybe even volunteer to help others. This article on Psych Central lists numerous things you can do to help you cope with the loneliness over the holiday season. Life is stressful enough as it is without having to worry about finding that special someone. This holiday season, you can find me curled up in a blanket by myself loving every second of it.

Farewell,

Jesse

Slaying the Long Distance Dragon

Hey all it’s Sarah! Welcome back to Robotic Relationshipz! Today is a sad day as this will be my last post. I hope you’ve enjoyed keeping up with the team, myself, Courtney, Jesse, and Caroline. It has been a real pleasure writing for you! With that said, I have a little story for you…

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Once upon a time there was a young princess named Samantha who lived in a far away land called Alexandria. Samantha finished her schooling, and traveled to a cold and dreary kingdom called Moorhead to further her education. During her stay in Moorhead the girl met lots of friends and enjoyed freezing her butt off every day walking to class. Although she was having the time of her life, something was missing. Then one day she found it… Samantha was visiting with friends when a handsome young man walked into the room. He introduced himself as Prince Connor. The two started seeing each other and fell in love. Though this may seem like a happily ever after moment, the two would face hardships in the future… The long distance dragon!

What is this terrifying thing called a long distance relationship (LDR)?

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An LDR is when two people are in a relationship, yet they live further apart and don’t get to see each other very often. This can be hard on your relationship if you don’t know how to fight the distance. Good thing for Samantha and Connor we live in the day and age where cell phones are glued to our hands and a video chat is just a click away.

Why would anyone want to be in an LDR?

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Surprisingly there are 14 million couples who say that they are in an LDR.  How many of these relationships are like the story I told you above (minus the kingdom, prince, and princess of course)? According to Long Distance Relationships Statistics, 32.5 % of all long distance relationships are college relationships. College students may not have the finances to choose to stay near their partner. Being in an LDR is the only option for them to stay together until they can be physically together again.

Many married couples also find themselves in similar situations. A partner could be sent away for military duty leaving the couple in an ultimatum. Break off the relationship (heck no!) or start an LDR with your loved one. We do what we can to keep the relationship going, even if it is not the easy route. What many people don’t think about is that a long distance relationship may be a really good thing for YOU. Here are some of the best reasons to hang onto that long-distance boyfriend (or girlfriend).  This article shows how an LDR can be good for you personally in the long run.

Although many couples in an LDR find a way to make it through the distance, loneliness is something that can easily seep into the relationship. I found that there are four difference stages to loneliness; denial, short-term extreme depression/loneliness, steady depression, and acceptance.  During the acceptance stage, a person either replaces or surrenders. To learn more about loneliness please click here.

If you or a loved one is struggling with being in an LDR, please take a look at the following links. Being in an LDR can be difficult at times, but know that you are not alone.

7 Tips on Coping with Loneliness in a Long Distance Relationship

How to Deal with Extreme Loneliness in a Long Distance Relationship

Need help? United States:
1(800) 273-8255
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Well, do they work online?

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Let’s get down to the reason you’re probably reading this post. You might want to know if LDR’s actually work through social media and other forms of technology. Being in an LDR can have its ups and downs. According to Long Distance Relationship Statistics, 40% of all LDR’s end up in break ups, and 70% of failed LDR’s break up for unplanned changes. The average lasting relationship is 4.5 months for long distance couples. This may seem shocking, so let’s take a step back. Statistics don’t necessarily represent your life, or your situation. You may be deciding if this type of relationship is right for you, so I’ll give you a few pros and cons to help weigh in on your decision.

Can social media and technology be ruining your LDR?

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Many may disagree and say that social media is a great way to stay in touch with your significant other. But is it really? According to TheCoupleConnection, 36% of couples say that Facebook led to the break up of their LDR. Similarly 20% say they broke up because one person cheated, while the other found out through Facebook photos.

Being in an LDR and using social media can be difficult. Being able to creep on your partner whenever you want, and check up on what they are doing can be dangerous. It is very easy to misunderstand something that they posted, or even a text they sent you. Be wary when it comes to using social media as a huge factor in your LDR.

While being able to check up on your significant other is easy, it is just as easy to check up on your ex. Checking up on your ex can have a negative impact on your current relationship. Questioning your current relationship by comparing it to your last relationship is not the way to go.

One word. Porn. Porn can be a huge influence in ruining your relationship. Being apart can be hard, and well, lonely. But porn can give a person unrealistic expectations when it comes to sex. Watching porn can affect the way you feel towards having sex with your partner when you finally get to be with each other again.

While watching porn (or having sex) dopamine is released into the brain. This creates a craving for this thing, in this case, porn. Norepinephrine is also released gearing your body up for what is going to happen next. The hormones oxytocin and vasopressin help with long term memories. They form a relation between the object giving you pleasure. Porn is what is getting you excited and when your body gets excited again it will crave porn because that is where you got your last fix. During sex or watching porn your body also released endorphins that give you a high, and serotonin that gives you a sense of relaxation.

Porn can be a larger problem in an LDR than an in person relationship because it is easier to log onto a computer than see your significant other. So, do you think your partner would want you craving a computer screen over them? Be wary of the use of porn in your LDR.

How can social media and technology help your LDR?

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While I clearly just gave you a ton of reasons as to why social media and technology are bad in this kind of relationship, here are some reasons that it could help!

The LDR can be less stressful to keep up with technology. Being in a regular relationship can be hard to plan around. Having to hang out, going on dates, and coordinating schedules. Using technology in an LDR can make planning easier. You can send a text throughout your day, and your partner will answer during their next free moment. Making a phone call before bed can be an easy nighttime routine as well.

There are even technology tools that help couples feel more connected. Have you heard of Pillow Talk? Each partner gets a pillow and a ring. When you go to bed you put the ring on your finger and lay your head on the pillow. The pillow on your partner’s bed will then start glowing softly. Check it out here!

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Let’s face it, there’s always an app for that…

Avocado is an app for couples that keeps track of anniversaries and dates so that you will never forget your significant other during busy times. You can share pictures, messages and “kiss” each other’s photos.

Skype is also a huge help, as you can see and hear one another and have a more “real” conversation. I tend to use Skype in my current relationship when we are apart for the summers. Texting and calling is nice, but being able to see that person is one step closer to being together. Don’t be like Cinderella, and make sure your significant other remembers your face!

One of my personal favorites is called Couple, the relationship app for two! This app allows partners to “Thumb kiss” through their phones. Wait, what? When you touch the same place on your screen as your partner, the phone vibrates. It’s a small way to show that you are thinking about that person.

How can you have your happily ever after in an LDR?

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Here are some tips to keeping your LDR on the right track:

  • Prioritize- just because you are not in the same city (or kingdom) doesn’t mean that you can’t have time for each other. Setting aside time is really important for maintaining a healthy relationship.
  • Commitment- make sure that you and your partner have the same values and understanding of the relationship. Do you have a monogamous relationship, or is it open?
  • Share- sharing information with you partner is just as important as sharing your partner with your friends. When you finally get to visit, don’t hide away together. Show your significant other to your friends! Let your friends get to know them they way that you do.
  • Planning- planning time to talk together on the phone, planning a trip to see each other, planning for the future when you two are back in one place again. This is important because without planning, the relationship may seem like it is not going anywhere. Plus it’s exciting to get to plan dates for when you see each other next!

For more helpful tips for creating and maintaining a healthy relationship, check out these articles:

Why Long-Distance Relationships Never, Ever Work (Except When They Do)

How to Keep a Long-Distance Relationship Strong and Sexy

Secrets of Successful Long Distance Relationships

Are you in a long distance relationship? You might relate to a few of these…

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As always, it has been a wonderful experience getting to share my posts with you all! Now get out there and find your happily ever after…

Sarah

Just Txt Me

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Hey guys, it’s Courtney! Unfortunately, this is my last blog post so my goal is to leave you with somethings to think about! Have you ever caught yourself ignoring a phone call because you simply just don’t want to talk to that person, and then also find yourself texting them instead? Don’t feel embarrassed, because we all have done that at one point in time.

Sometimes even when I ignore phone calls it can be a little extreme.

At times, there’s a good chance that if we have been chatting through texts all day, making plans for what we are doing that night and you decide to just call me instead, that I will completely ignore it. Not only will I ignore your phone call, but also I will text you back with some lame excuse (e.g sorry I was in the bathroom, what’s up) just so I don’t have to call back. It’s not that I don’t want to talk to you on the phone, but it’s actually that I don’t prefer to talk to you on the phone; I would much rather like to receive a text.

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I know I am not the only one that ignore phone calls. There still are some phone call lovers out there, but in all reality, in this day and age through all the technological advances of our phones, texting is becoming easier and more efficient.

In a Time magazine article, the number of text messages in the U.S. had significantly increased from 14 billion in 2000, to 188 billion in 2010. That’s crazy! 32% of respondents in a mobility poll said they prefer a text to a phone call, even when it’s someone they know really well. I can easily say I would be a part of the 32%; I even ignore my best friend’s phone calls sometimes because I would rather text her.

Texting even shifts our idea of dating and the role it has on the maintenance of relationships. From a sample of people ages 17 to 25 report 20% of teens text their dating partner 30 times per hour. It’s a way to flirt, check-in, make plans, or just connect with potential romantic partners. Key reasons to texting over face-to-face interactions are the advantages it can have. To understand the possible reasons for texting is by applying Walther’s hyperpersonal model to text messaging that discusses three key advantages:

  1. Texting does not require spontaneous wit: they have time to think and craft their messages.
  2. They are void of nonverbal signals that allow the texters to communicate the message without the concern of unintended verbal signals  (sweaty or shaky hands, shaky voice).
  3. Texting is easy whereas in-person conversations are more complex.

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Texting not only helps social anxiety and nerves, but it can improve a person’s self-esteem, even more so than a face-to-face interaction. In a study by Dr. May Gonzales, with 76 participants, face-to-face interactions had less of an emotional impact on the written digital word. These texting communications had an important impact on psychological health because “the psychological benefits of text-based communication stems from enhanced self-disclosure.” It also has the ability to enhance emotional disclosure as well through text-based interactions.

Another study indicated within 3,496 social interactions, text-based communications were more important for self-esteem using the ten-item Rosenberg self-esteem scale, than face-to-face or phone communication.

However, when there’s a yin, there’s a yang. Texting can provide advantages for people, but it also offers some disadvantages.

Arguing with your significant other over texting isn’t always the best way to solve a problem. There are different reasons as to why texting and arguing is an awful way to solve a problem. It can associate periods with meanness. When someone puts a period after the end of their sentence, the receiver is going to assume they did something wrong and that you are mad. In person, you can rely on tone, speed, and volume when having an argument to get a grasp of how that person truly feels. Texting lacks that capability so the period is the only way to get across a stern voice.

After the argument, usually comes the apology. MIT psychologist Sherry Turkle discusses the effects of texting on interpersonal development in the Time magazine article mentioned above. She believes that having a conversation with someone teaches kids to have a conversation with themselves-to think, reason and self-reflect. She particularly talks about the texting apology and how it is a prime example of what is lost when we type a message instead of speaking it. When apologizing in person, you get to see in their eyes that you have hurt them and then the compassion response is able to kick in. On the other hand, when apologizing through a text or over the phone, there are no visual cues, it’s painless, and less sincere.

Apologizing through a text seems like the best and easier route. For a person that doesn’t like face-to-face confrontation, more often than not, I apologize through a text message, or discuss problems through typing them out. Not being able to see their facial expressions or that awkwardness makes things significantly easier. Also, I have the ability to be more honest and blunt if there is a particular conflict.

Not only is apologizing less sincere by not having the visual cues, texting offers an easier gateway to lying. In a Psychology Today article, they suggest that people are more prone to telling “butler lies” through texting. These are a type of deception used to negotiate social interactions. For example, you might tell someone you are on your way to their house, when really you are sitting on the couch eating Cheetos contemplating if you even want to make the effort to get up or not. In their study, they found that participants reported more “butler lies” than participants in studies with face-to-face and telephone lying.

I didn’t receive my first cell phone until I was in 8th grade, and I know people who didn’t get one until their twenties. However, in today’s society, kids are getting their first cell phone significantly earlier in life. Dr. Kate Roberts, a Boston-based school psychologist suggests that because we rely on texting so much, it is not developing our verbal skills or our emotional intelligence. For children, is has the capability of affecting the brain; it can affect a child’s brain pathway through the normal development. Parenting expert and pediatric nurse, Denise Daniels discusses neurotransmitters that are chemicals that relay information between nerves. A developing child’s brain pathway relies on stimulation such as the parent’s voice, music, touch, playing, and organization. Spending too much time looking at a screen can have a very negative impact on the transmission. Their pathway changes and different ones are created that effect concentration and self-esteem, and don’t have the ability to form personal relationships and have empathy.

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In conclusion, as technology advances each day, it becomes more and more easy to communicate through texting rather than having that face-to-face interaction or even a phone call. It has the ability help the dating scene, self-esteem, social anxiety, and lying saying that you’re at work when really you’re at Buffalo Wild Wings having 50-cent wings and a beer. However, it does have the capability of making things less sincere and has potential of changing brain pathways in your kids.

So, may your Instagram selfie get tons of likes, your excessive posts about your relationship make you happy, your cyberbullying awareness game be strong, and your phone calls be short.

Thank you for following, and I hope you enjoyed reading my blogs!

By Courtney

Facebook Affairs: Flirting Gone Too Far

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Have you ever been suspicious of your boyfriend because he was suddenly spending more time on his phone or computer and also being protective of the devices? You may have found yourself paranoid that your girlfriend is talking to another guy when she looks at a phone notification and laughs. You ask who texted her, and her response is, “Nobody important.” Should you be worried? Maybe.

With social media and texting, the definition of “cheating” and “affair” get murky. Before these devices, cheating was simply when your boyfriend or girlfriend got sexually intimate with another person while the two of you were in a committed relationship. That is a typical physical affair. Today, emotional affairs are becoming more common. According to Wikipedia, an emotional affair is “an affair between two people that mimics the closeness and emotional intimacy of an affair while never being physically consummated. An emotional affair is often colloquially referred to as an affair of the heart. An emotional affair may emerge from a friendship outside the relationship, and progress toward greater levels of personal intimacy and attachment.”

Emotional affairs frequently start on social media platforms or through texting. The other person could be a co-worker that you initially start having a “poke war” with on Facebook, and you eventually start talking with the co-worker every day, while hiding it from your partner. You might reconnect with an ex on Facebook and start confiding in him or her regularly behind your partner’s back. Sometimes, emotional affairs remain just that, but other times, they eventually become physical.

You may be thinking to yourself, “Is it really that bad to emotionally cheat? After all, it’s not like I’m having sex with someone else.” Well, it turns out, it is as bad. According to a study, the emotions of people being cheated on online are the same, if not worse, than when being cheated on physically. This has been attributed to the fact people know they are vulnerable to the internet and what their partner does on it. Also, people are more likely devastated by the loss of trust and the feeling of betrayal, than by an actual physical act by their partners.

One study, published in the journal of Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, found that excessive Facebook use can lead to infidelity. Psychologist and relationship expert Dr. Ramani Durvasula says that people turn to Facebook as an escape where inappropriate relationships develop and then people end up cheating on their partner with an ex, an old friend, or someone they met casually. She says that it often starts as “a little bit of liking, a little bit of flirting, and something that seems so harmless to start with escalates like wildfire.” Marriage counselor Terry Reid believes that Facebook can provide a sort of fantasy for a cheating spouse. It’s not just Facebook that has been connected with cheating. A study done by the University of Missouri found that excessive Twitter use has led people to cheat and has been the cause of breakups.

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You may wonder how often Facebook and other social media platforms negatively affect relationships through affairs. Well, according to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, 20 percent of all divorces involve Facebook, and 80 percent use Facebook or other forms of technology as forms of evidence.

I’ll tell you a story about someone I know that this happened to. I’ll say his name is John. So, John was in a relationship with Shelby for nearly four years and was living with her when she started acting suspiciously. Specifically, she was extremely protective of her cell phone. Whenever she thought he knew her passcode to get into her phone, she would immediately change it. Shelby was on her phone more often than usual, but would say she was texting her friend from back home. She also started wearing more makeup and doing her hair. John was suspicious of these behaviors, but had no proof she was cheating. One day, Shelby had abdominal pain, so John took her to the walk-in clinic. She had to have a CT scan done, but her phone couldn’t be in the exam room, so she gave it to John. Shelby didn’t know it, but John actually secretly knew her phone passcode at this point, and he decided to look at her Facebook Messenger. The last message was from a guy, with a name John didn’t recognize, and his Facebook profile had no pictures. He started scrolling up through the hundreds of messages exchanged between Shelby and the mystery guy. The messages included very sexually explicit exchanges. Long story short, this mystery guy was a classmate and had been Shelby’s friend for the past three years, and they recently started flirting through Facebook Messenger where the mystery guy used a fake name, which led to a physical affair.

Would Shelby not have cheated if it weren’t for technology? We can’t say for sure. However, it would have been very difficult for the affair to have developed if it weren’t for the discrete messaging between them, given the fact John and Shelby lived together.

Stories like this can happen to anyone, even celebrities. Actress Eva Longoria found hundreds of text messages to another woman on her husband’s phone. She also says that he cheated on her earlier in the marriage with a woman he connected with through Facebook.

(Even Beyoncé feels the need to spy on Jay-Z’s phone activity.)1421311611665

A study done by Texas Tech University used information from the website FacebookCheating.com. The website is used for people to share stories about how they ruined a relationship because they connected with someone on Facebook and the relationship went too far, how they discovered their partner was cheating because of Facebook, as well as tips on how to discover if your partner is cheating. Through the website, researchers developed a model that moves through the different ways cheating is discovered, and how people cope with the discovery.

The model developed by researchers is made up of these five stages:

  • Warning signs: The partner who is being cheated on has gut feelings and/or notices suspicious  internet behavior by the other person, such as minimizing windows, habitually clearing out browser history, and adding passwords.
  • Discovering infidelity: The individuals either take it upon themselves to investigate the warning signs or they accidentally discover the infidelity.
  • Damage appraisal: The individuals determine whether or not the discovered acts were a violation of the relationship.
  • Acting on appraisal: If the individual determines that the act or acts were a violation of the relationship, he or she either confronts or avoids the partner. Sometimes the individual decides that the evidence isn’t concrete enough to be able to approach his or her partner. Others retaliate, which typically includes posting messages online or sending a message to either the third party or the third party’s partner.
  • Making a relationship decision: Some end the relationship because trust was violated, others monitor behaviors to ensure it doesn’t happen again, and some are still uncertain about what the next step should be.

If you have been cheated on through Facebook or texting, either emotionally or through an emotional affair that turned physical, you’ll find you’re not alone when you look at FacebookCheating.com. If you’re suspicious of your partner’s online activity, I’d also suggest you check out the site for some helpful tips.

On the other hand, if you’re wondering whether your own friendship through Facebook or texting with someone has gone too far, check out this Bustle article that has 9 signs that you may be emotionally cheating.

As a couple, you should sit down together and define what cheating means to both of you. Although you may not see having an “emotional affair” as a big deal, your partner may. A study has shown that men are more upset by sexual infidelity and women are more upset by emotional infidelity. Be respectful of what your partner considers cheating.

Psychologist and relationship expert Dr. Ramani Durvasula believes all couples that use Facebook need to ask themselves this one question“If you saw your partner sending the email, text, or Facebook message you just sent, would you feel comfortable with that?”

Keep an eye out for my next post, which will be about sexting!

-Caroline

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Sir, I’m Going to have to Ask You to Put the Phone Down…

Hey y’all, it’s Jesse again! Remember me? If not, well I am thoroughly crushed. Last time I wrote about Nomophobia, or the fear of being without a mobile device, or beyond mobile phone contact. I’m sure many of you were able to relate, judging by what most of my friends had to say about the blog; but this week is going to be a little spin off of that. Just like many other substances, computer technologies can be addictive because they are “Psychoactive,” or alter a person’s mood and often trigger enjoyable feelings. So, that happy feeling you get in your heart when your phone is buzzing in your pants…that’s psychoactive! This is the same effect that substances like drugs and alcohol can have on a person. Fortunately, nomophobia isn’t as harmful on the body as many of the other drugs, but it still has social and economic impacts on a person’s life. Looking to bite the bullet and finally kick the habit? Well look no further, here are Jesse’s top five ways to help treat your nomophobia.

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  • Start tracking your cell phone use. Many of us probably have absolutely no idea how much time we actually spend on our phones each day. According to Student Science, the average college student spends about nine hours each day on his or her smartphone. Considering that this is more than most of us probably sleep, you can start to see how this could be an issue. According to Pscyhcentral, 8 percent of smartphone users experience monthly bills that are over $500 due to excessive usage. Many of you might be thinking “no, there is absolutely no way that I spend 9 hours on my phone each day.” Well, start tracking your phone time and tell me how that goes. You wake up and check your phone for 15 minutes before you get out of bed, go to the bathroom and check Tinder for any new matches for 10 minutes, eat breakfast while scrolling through Facebook and Twitter for 20 minutes, listen to music and snap your friends while getting ready for a minimum of 15 minutes. Surprise, an hour of your day has been spent on your phone before you have even left the house. Keeping track of your smart phone usage will allow you to fully understand how attached you really are and might just be the slap in the face you need to get this ball rolling!
  • Turn it off! Yes, I said it. Turn it off. Many times throughout the day when you know that there is absolutely no need for you to be on your phone, just turn it off and leave it alone. Many people, including myself, insist on being on our phones while driving. Yes, I realize I’m swerving, but I do it anyway. I realize this may be easier said than done because I can’t actually remember the last time I physically turned off my phone, but in the 10 minutes it takes you to drive from home to school or home to work, you can probably stand to turn off your phone. Ding! You just woke up at 2 in the morning because someone tagged you in a Facebook post. Now, you’re scrolling through your feed at the same stuff you just looked at 2 hours ago hoping to see something new. Now, you can’t fall back asleep because you’re thinking about how good Jimmy looked in his new profile picture, but who’s that bitch beside him? Are they dating? Just think, this all could have been avoided if you would have turned off your phone before going to bed.
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  • Start unfollowing unnecessary people from Facebook and Twitter. Removing unnecessary friends is an easy way to reduce the amount of time you’re spending creeping on your best friend’s cousin’s fiancé, Felicia. According to SocialTimes, the average user spends about 1.72 hours each day on social platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Much of this time is spent scrolling through random peoples posts and comments that you no longer know or ever actually knew. Removing these unnecessary people from your feed will actually reduce the amount of time you spend on your social apps resulting in less overall cell phone time!
  • Put the phone down! Try to think about the last time you made it through a dinner with your family or friends without checking your phone numerous times. It’s probably pretty difficult. Unfortunately, people seem to be more interested in their cyber-relationships than the relationships they have with their real friends. One easy and simple technique that you and your friends may use when out to dinner is a technique that my friends and I have started using and it actually works! Phone Stacking has become a popular way for many people to make it through dinner without touching their phones because it’s fun and beneficial at the same time. Each person at the table must take their phone out and stack them on top of each other in the middle of the table (Leaving it in your pocket also works if you don’t want someone to know your texting Tina). The first person at the table to grab their phone has to pick up the tab for the entire table. Since nobody probably wants to pay for you meal, nobody touches their phone. Pretty simple, right? Another way to combat the urge to check your phone is by actually using your phone. New apps have been created that are designed to help the user reduce the amount of time they spend touching their phone. The Downside App allows all of the individuals at a table to log in with their friends and place their phone upside down on the table. The first person to touch their phone will lose and have to buy a round for the entire table, or for the younger crowd maybe the appetizer. Simple tricks like these will help you deter that bad habit of reaching for your phone every time you feel an awkward silence coming.
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  • Use your phone as a reward. Many of us are so quick to immediately respond to that person that just texted us when it’s totally unnecessary. You, along with the other person, could stand to wait 10 or 20 minutes between responses. This would actually allow you to do something productive in that time instead of being constantly distracted. This technique can actually be thought of in terms of delayed gratification. If you are unfamiliar, delayed gratification is the process of controlling impulse to receive a greater reward. So, in texting terms, waiting to respond for 10 minutes before texting your friend back will actually give you more satisfaction because you are prolonging the excitement of what the text might say. This technique can also be used to help accomplish goals. Every time I am at the gym running, I always seem to get a notification halfway through my run, but I tell myself that I am not allowed to check the notification until my run is over. This actually drives me to keep running because I want to be able to check my phone. Using this reward system over time can actually lead to contingency management, or the chance of a certain behavior occurring again. In terms of my working out, rewarding myself with phone use causes me to want to complete my workout fully and get into the routine of that instead of breaking up my workout with phone breaks.  Expanding this technique to numerous activities of the day, such as homework, could allow people to actually accomplish what they wanted to.
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Now that you have made it through my five stages of curing your addiction, I must remind you that not all of these are actually going to work perfectly for every person and they are not actually diagnosed treatments for nomophobia. Nomophobia is best treated by numerous self-help strategies, like the examples I provided above. There are many different things a person can do that I did not include in here and maybe you don’t agree with one of these. Well that’s okay, they are just some simple tips that will help you put down your phone and regain that social life that you once had with your real friends and help you avoid becoming this mom…

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Until next time my friends!

Jesse

Is that REALLY your Bourne Identity?

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Ciao! My name is Lorenzo! I am originally from Florence, Italy, and I work as an international male model. I am 6’5”, and enjoy a refreshing run every morning to stay in shape. With my job I am able to meet many famous celebrities such as Miley Cyrus, the Kardashian’s, and Beyoncé herself. My dream would be to move on from my modeling days, and become a movie star on the big screens. With my busy lifestyle it is hard for me to start a romantic relationship. I am always moving from one country to the next for modeling opportunities. I am looking for a female who is down to earth, likes long walks on the beach, Netflix and chilling, and taking adventures. Message me if you are interested!

Would you believe something like this online? I didn’t think so. According to Huffington Post, fifty-three percent of American people surveyed said they lied in their online dating profiles. Okay, so lying on your profile isn’t that big of a deal right? Everyone is allowed to fib a little on his or her height or weight, but when does this become a problem? The issues arise when this person starts an online relationship based on false pretenses. This is called “Catfishing”. This is the act of luring a person into a relationship by means of a fictional online person. Now that we know a little more about what catfishing is, let’s find out how this all started in our society!

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This phenomenon began when a man named Nev Shulman started a romantic relationship with a girl, Megan, he met online through Facebook. The relationship began to grow with the constant messages, and phone calls. Nev and Megan had never met in person, or even video-chatted online. Nev began to find this suspicious and took it upon himself to find out the truth. He drove to Michigan with his brother and film crew to get it all on tape. It turned out that Megan never even existed, while a woman named Angela did. Angela was much older and decided to create “Megan” in order to form a relationship. Nev asked Angela’s husband about his thoughts on what happened, and his response would change the face of online identity theft for good…

The story starts here

To learn more about Nev and his adventures, check out this link!
http://www.nevschulman.com/catfish/

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Are you talking to a potential partner online? Do you want to know if they are real, or a catfish? Don’t ignore the signs. SocialCatfish.com shows the top 12 signs you may be getting catfished. These include: Getting serious really fast, having problems with Skype or other video-chats, an occupation that requires them to travel a lot, if they ask for money, if they look like a model, or if something feels “off” about them. Do any of these signs sound familiar? Take another look at our friend Lorenzo at the top of my post. It may be a more obvious example of someone who is Catfishing you, but it is still important to know a true relationship from someone who is just in it to hurt you. The article The Ugly Truth of Online Dating shows us the top 10 things men, and women lie about online, just like Lorenzo did.

Why would anyone want to Catfish someone? According to LoveIsRespect.org there are many reasons a person may feel the need to Catfish another, such as revenge on an ex-lover, they might be bored and or lonely, or feel like making your life a living Hell. But the top reason for Catfishing is that a person may have such a low self esteem that they feel the need to lie about who they really are. Fibbing about a few things online may give them the courage they need to proceed with this relationship. Before they can come clean about the situation, many may have already fallen for their online sweetheart.

In a poll done by ReadWrite of around 500 people, 55% of them said they fake their identities online, while only 12% of people said they used their real identity all the time. I wonder how many people fake their identities on a larger scale… Let’s look at a social media site that most people can relate to. Facebook. According to the Tech Journal, there are 845 million monthly active users. But how many of these people fake their accounts? Around 50 million! So next time you are thinking of starting a relationship online, make sure you find out who you are truly dealing with.

What is so bad about lying online? Some may think it is best to hide their true identities online in order to protect themselves. But what happens when we don’t tell the truth about some of the important things? Just this last year a young man named Zach Anderson began using a dating app. Zach, 19, met a girl online and they seemed to hit it off. The girl told Zach that she was 17 years old. While she may have looked more like 17, the girl was really only 14 years old. Zach, not knowing this, drove to Michigan and slept with this girl. Zach is now charged with criminal sexual conduct, and will be on the sex offender list for the 25 years. The girl admits now that she lied about her age, but it is too late. If you are online dating, it is important to put your real age. If you are not, maybe it’s okay to fib a bit. Just make sure you know when it is appropriate or not, otherwise you, or those around you could get hurt.

To read more about Zach and updates on his case, click here.

If you are a parent reading this, or have a teenager in your life you might be wondering how a 14 year old could have wound up in a situation like that. Not a lot of parents can watch their children (let alone teenagers) every second of the day. However, you can still give your children the knowledge on how to stay away from catfishers and potential predators. UKnowKids gives us the 10 best ways to protect your children from catfishing. They suggest not having any type of screen name with your actual name in it, don’t agree to meet anyone online in person, don’t talk about sexual content online, and more. Please consider talking to your children about the dangers that come with being online, even if you don’t think they would do anything wrong.

After I found out about Nev and his story it got me wondering, how many other people have gone through a Catfish situation? This must happen all the time if you can make four hit seasons on MTV. Catfishing is becoming more popular online, and we must protect ourselves from those who lie to us. If you are someone who thinks they are being Catfished, or know someone who is, please seek help.

Here is a link to what an online counseling cite suggests for those who have been catfished. They can walk you through the steps, and show you your options after such a harmful event.

1 (800) 273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. 

Catfishing is a form of cyber bullying, and needs to be put to rest. Take a peek at Courtney’s last post to see how dangerous cyber bullying can truly be.

Hope you enjoyed my latest post,

(If you have any topics you want discussed please comment below!)

By Sarah

Modern Day Bullying

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“[the] anonymity of the Internet has a way of bringing out the harsh, judgmental streak in strangers who would never belittle another… in person” (Dr. Liza Belkin 2010).

Bullying and harassment have been around for years and a significant number of people have been a victim at some point in their life. I am sure all of you can recall at least one time in your life when you were a victim of bullying, or even the enabler.

Bullying refers to aggressive behavior that is repetitive and occurs between two or more individuals. It can take on different forms such as verbal (e.g. name calling), physical (e.g. punching) or relational (e.g. leaving someone out).

Recently, there has been a newer form of bullying called online bullying or as it is more commonly known, cyberbullying.

Cyberbullying is a newer form of bullying that involves the use of cell-phones or computers. This allows for the bully to be anonymous because individuals are not face-to-face.

Cyberbullying, in and of itself, comes in different forms as well, such as:

  • Sending a mean text, email, or instant message
  • Posting mean pictures or messages about others on blogs or social media apps
  • Using a person’s username to spread rumors or lies about someone

Oftentimes, cyberbullies are motivated by anger, revenge, frustration, or even just entertainment and power. Research has found that young people who engage in cyberbullying have less empathy (sharing another person’s emotional state) than students not involved in cyberbullying; 40% of students involved in a large study reported not feeling guilty at all after bullying online, whereas only 16% felt guilty. Additionally, it made them feel more “funny, popular, and powerful.”

A recent study by Amanda Lenhart, found that 32% of all teenagers who use the internet have been victims of online harassment, with the greatest number of teens having a private communication forwarded or posted publicly without their permission. Further, girls are more likely than boys to partake in online bullying with 38% of girls compared to 28% of boys.

But more importantly, how does cyberbullying affect the victims?

Sociologist Robert Agnew has proposed that strain or stress can often result in problematic emotions leading to deviant behavior. He suggested three types of strain, all of which lead to anger, frustration or aggression:

  1. Strain as the actual or anticipated failure to achieve positively valued goals.
  2. Strain as the actual or anticipated removal of positively valued stimuli.
  3. Strain as the actual or anticipated presentation of negatively valued stimuli.

When victims of cyberbullying fear for their safety offline due to harassment online, they try to think of ways to avoid that person face-to-face. They are constantly on the look out for their bully- either at school, in their neighborhood, the bus stop, or the mall. Whichever place they feel unsafe, their ability to focus on academics, family matters, responsibilities, and social choices can be compromised. Additionally, if they fail to reach their valued goal of personal safety, strain can occur.

Another aspect Agnew discusses within The General Strain Theory is a positive goal of acceptance. So, when individuals feel that they are being rejected or socially excluded, a number of emotional, psychological, and behavior effects can occur; the failure to achieve the sense of social acceptance, can lead to strainful feelings.

Finally, cyberbullying can lead to negatively valued stimuli. The extensive and repetitiveness of cyberbullying can lead to frustration and negative emotions from the victim. They often are pressured into delinquency; they break down and either attempt to resolve the strain through some type of antisocial behavior or seek revenge on their bully.

Ultimately, he found through his research that victims feel depressed, sad, and frustrated between elementary, middle, and high school students.

Cyberbullying can happen for the same reasons as any other bullying. Bullies rely on anonymity, ignorance of the consequences, and social pressure. Anonymity gives the bully reassurance that they won’t be caught and don’t have to face their victims. Through ignorance of the consequence, The National Council on Crime Prevention suggest that in a survey with teenagers, 81% said they think cyberbullies do it because its funny, they don’t see their victims, and they don’t realize how much damage they are doing to the victim. Social pressure refers to the the pressure bullies have by their friends. Their friends might egg them on in order to be accepted. Lastly, bullies can have a hard time controlling their emotions and lash out because of their own problems they are facing.

Cyberbullying can occur on any form of social media, and studies have found that between 89% and 97.5% of teens use Facebook, which puts it as the most used form of social media for teens.

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  • Physical and Emotional Health

I am sure it comes to no surprise that victims of cyberbullying often form depression.

Raskauskas and Stoltz asked 84 adolescents open-ended questions about the negative effects of cyberbullying. They found that 93% of the adolescents reported negative effects such as feeling sad, powerless, and hopeless.

As cyberbullying leads to depression, the depression can lead to attempts or success of suicide, and that is exactly what happened with Amanda Todd. Born in 1996 in British Columbia, Canada, she grew up to be an outgoing person. It was until then when she met an anonymous person through Facebook that soon convinced her through flattery to show him a picture of her body topless. A year later the same person, or another anonymous person, sent her the photo back and the picture went viral, which began to create a mass of bullying that forced her to change schools several times. She felt like her life was ruined; she developed anxiety, major depression, and panic disorder. She had no friends, and often got beaten up at school. She tried to take her own life using bleach, but was saved at the last minute. It was months later, that Amanda took her own life.

Before her suicide she made a Youtube video of her story in details, trying to look for someone to help her. It was only after her suicide, that the video went viral. I encourage you to watch the eight minute video to understand all the horrible things she had gone through.

Two years later, police finally found the man that started it all.

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In some cases of cyberbullying, frequent headaches, stomachaches, and difficulty sleeping occur. Out of 2,215 teens ages 13 through 16, One in four said they they felt unsafe at school. Some victem’s self-esteem can be significantly impacted as well—in Campfield’s research (2006), more victims in his study showed signs of stress, with internalized symptoms such as loneliness, and lower self-esteem.

When there is a problem, there can always be ways to help prevent it such as:

  • Educating yourself– Educate yourself on what cyberbullying is and talk to your friends about what their experiencing. Find out what type of laws your state has in the school system for all types on bullying.
  • Be aware– always be aware of the photos or texts you are sending. Don’t post anything that could possibly compromise your reputation. There is always a chance it will go viral.
  • Don’t respond or retaliate– Responding is often times what bullies strive for. They realize that they have power over you. Also, retaliating is not the answer either; getting back at them makes you a bully yourself.
  • Reach out for help– If you are a victim. Build up that courage to reach out to your friends, family, or teachers. Block them from your account.
  • Get a retraining order– If blocking them on your account doesn’t work, then get a restraining order against them.

“I got made fun of constantly in High School. That’s what built my character. That’s what makes you who you are. When you get made fun of, when people point out your weaknesses. that’s just another opportunity for you to rise above.”-Zac Efron

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A couple years ago, I came across the movie Cyberbully. Along with the video posted above of Amanda Todd, I also encourage you to watch this movie to be aware of how it could effect people. I remember my mom was cooking dinner ,while I was crying my eyes out watching the movie in the living room.

So I will end with this…“Cyberbullying…ain’t nobody got time fo dat.”

By Courtney

If you or anyone you know is thinking about suicide, go to this website for free 24/7 confidential help or call 

1 (800) 273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. 

Other websites that can educate kids on what their post:

Feel free to like or comment below if you have any stories you would like to share with us.

Break up, Unfriend, and Move On.

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Everyone can agree that breakups suck. In today’s age of social media, they can be even harder and more confusing to go through. In the 90’s, nobody had to worry about whether they should stay Facebook friends with their exes or unfollow them on Twitter.

Some people choose to remain social media friends with their ex, but then end up compulsively checking their ex’s profile to see what they are up to, which ultimately can be psychologically harmful. Others choose to remove their ex from all forms of social media. Which is the better choice?

I wondered the same thing. When I went through my breakup last year, I didn’t know what to do about him being my Facebook friend or the fact we were following each other on Twitter. I actually decided to Google search what was healthier for a person psychologically: remaining connected with an ex through social media or deleting him or her from everything. That’s what inspired me to write this blog post.

First of all, why do some people choose to remain Facebook friends with an ex, and then constantly look at the person’s profile? We all know someone, maybe even yourself, who just won’t stop looking at their ex’s social media pages. It’s because love has the same neurological effects as a drug, and the effects often do not immediately go away once you have broken up. For example, a study done in 2010 had college students who had recently gone through a breakup look at a picture of their ex while an fMRI scan was performed. Their fMRI brain scans showed “neural activity in cortical and subcortical areas associated with craving and addiction.”

Ke$ha was right; someone’s love can be your drug. So, if you’re still a bit hung up on your ex post-breakup, know that it isn’t all your fault. There are uncontrollable biological factors post-breakup that make you feel that way.

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It’s normal to have feelings of “withdrawal” after a breakup, but it should get better in time. Why do these feelings sometimes linger longer than they should, and make it even harder to get over your heartache? The reason is often social media. A study done by Dr. Tara Marshall at Brunel University found that people who remained Facebook friends with their ex had greater distress, longed for their ex-partner more, and had more negative feelings overall, when compared to individuals who unfriended their ex. Dr. Marshall concludes that this is evidence that remaining friends with an ex on social media may prolong the process of healing and slow down your ability to move on.

Not only does being friends with your ex on social media make it harder to move on, it can also lead some people to harass or embarrass their ex-partner. One study asked participants to report their behavior on Facebook regarding their ex. The study found that 18% of individuals publicly harassed their ex on Facebook or posted a Facebook status venting about their ex. It was also found that approximately 67% of people have checked their ex-partner’s Facebook page; so if you’ve found yourself looking at your ex’s profile, you are actually in the majority.

You may need to have an intervention for yourself if you can’t stop checking your ex’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and you don’t have the willpower to remove them from your online life. You could potentially be an exaholic. Dr. Lisa Bobby, clinical director of Growing Self Counseling & Life Coaching in Denver, Colorado, and spokesperson for Exaholics (a program similar to AA) explains the concept of being an exaholic:

“Relationships tend to have an addictive quality, and research backs that up. It’s been demonstrated that romantic love activates the same region of the brain as cocaine and alcohol. In other words, “the brain on love” looks similar to “the brain on drugs.” And “the brain coming off love” looks a lot like “the brain coming off drugs.” With Exaholics, the theory is that falling in love is an addictive process, and that the process of getting over a relationship is similar to that of recovering from an addiction.”

Due to the fact that relationships have an addictive quality, we crave that person. One of the ways we can get our “fix” is by looking at the person’s social media pages. Even though checking up on your ex only results in pain and jealousy, some people experience a compulsion to do it. According to Dr. Bobby, part of it is biological; just by seeing a new picture or post from your ex will give you a surge of endorphins, similar to a drug.

If you’re having a really hard time, you may have an anxious attachment style. If a person has an anxious attachment style, they often seek approval and assurance from their partner and can be overly dependent on him or her. A study done by Dr. Jesse Fox and Dr. Katie Warber studied the relationship between people who check up on their ex-partners via social media and attachment styles. In a Psychology Today article, Dr. Warber explains the study; she says that individuals with anxious attachment styles “tend to become preoccupied with checking their ex’s Facebook page. They find themselves looking at pictures and status updates—even asking friends to monitor their former partner’s page—which can ultimately compound feelings of loneliness and loss.”

There is no psychological research that I could find that has found it is beneficial to remain connected to your ex through social media. So don’t do it! Immediately after my breakup, I chose to block my ex on Facebook. You may wonder why I didn’t just unfriend him. Well, when you unfriend someone you can still see the person’s profile pictures and public posts, and I didn’t want to have the urge to go and look to see if he had a new profile picture or post that I could see. I also unfollowed him on Twitter because I knew it wasn’t a good idea to see constant updates from him. I truly believe that choosing to eliminate him from my social media life allowed me to move on more quickly than people who choose to stay connected with their exes on social media.

Did you stay Facebook friends with your ex after you broke up? If so, did you have the urge to look at your ex’s profile?

Comment below!

By Caroline

hands texting with mobile phones in cafe

Dude, Where’s My Phone?

Wake up in the morning barely dragging myself along. Take too long to get ready and realize that I have to rush to get to class. Get to class and realize that in my morning haze, I forgot my cell phone sitting on the counter while walking out of the house. What do I do? Go home and get my phone and show up late for class or just sit here without it? What am I going to do in the middle of class without my phone? Should I pay attention in class today or just wonder who might have texted and snapped me in the two hours I am not able to reach for my phone? I think option two probably sounds like a more probable answer. According to Student Science, the average college student spends about nine hours each day on his or her smartphone. That’s longer than most of these students spend sleeping.

A recent study conducted by Telenav sought to determine the extent people would go to keep their cell phones. The results showed that overall, people were willing to go to great lengths to keep their phones in the palm of their hand. A third of all people were willing to give up sex for a week rather than go without their cellphone. Another 70 percent said that they would give up alcohol (which may not be a terrible sacrifice), 63 percent were willing to give up chocolate, and 55 percent of the people were willing to go without caffeine instead of their phone. Now, some of these sacrifices may not even seem like sacrifices to some people. I could definitely say that I would give up caffeine and chocolate to keep my phone…easy. Unfortunately, this is just the beginning. This study also indicated that one in five people were willing to go without shoes rather than lose their cellphone. Even though you probably can’t imagine phone attachment being any worse than this, but this still isn’t the case. The real kicker in this study is the fact that 22 percent of the people surveyed indicated that they would be willing to go a week without seeing their significant other than go without their phone. Who needs a girlfriend when you have a smartphone?

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The mindset of always needing your phone on you has become such a major problem that they have now come up with a name for the fear of being without your phone. Nomophobia can be described as that rush of anxiety and fear an individual gets when they realize that they are disconnected or out of the loop with their friends, family, work and the world because he or she forgot their phone at home. Think about how many times you have forgotten your phone when you went somewhere; did you panic when you realized you didn’t have it with you? The answer to this question is probably yes. People are becoming so obsessed with constantly needing to have their phone that it is beginning to take over the everyday life of a person.

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Still not convinced you’re an addict? Let me break it down further for you because you’ve probably already experienced some of the symptoms in the time it took you to read thus far. It’s pretty easy with this checklist found on Psychology Today that breaks down the numerous symptoms that are associated with phone addiction.

  • Feeling anxious whenever you do not have you phone in your physical possession? That’s because you can’t talk to your friends and may have to carry on a real conversation with someone.
  • Constantly checking the phone for new texts, coupled with the compulsion to respond immediately. Can’t keep the people waiting! Becky might have gotten a new haircut!
  • Did you feel that? Your phone just vibrated and you felt it. Just kidding! You more or less just hoped your phone would vibrate reassuring the fact that you have friends. Phantom Cellphone Vibration Syndrome is a thing and you just experienced it.
  • You’re not listening. In fact, you have no idea what the person directly in front of you is saying because you’re clearly checking Facebook or Twitter instead of listening to them.
  • Failing in school from not paying attention in class because you’re too busy texting and snapping pictures of your professor?
  • Decide to go to the store for groceries, but MUST turn around halfway there because you forgot your phone and can’t be without it.

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So, what actually drives this crazy addiction? Many of us want to feel good about ourselves, or at least better than we do right now. When a person gets a text or alert on their phone from friends, potential lovers, or even strangers, there is a sense of reward. “Yes! I’m getting attention!” Where there is a pleasurable reward, there is a potential for an addiction. As Psychology Today states, addictions form around the basis of having a dependence, tolerance, and withdrawal towards something. If we examine phone addiction, you can see how all of these parts come together to drive a person totally crazy when they don’t have their phone on them. Dependence results from the constant need of having your cell phone with you at all times to reduce the stress of not having contact with others. The tolerance results from needing more and more attention from new individuals to keep yourself satisfied in your current friendship/relationship. Lastly, withdrawal from your phone occurs as easily as forgetting it on your bed at home when you leave the house feeling the need to go get it. You must have it on you at all times or you have no idea what to do or how you will function throughout the day.

A recent study on Psychology Today explains that dopamine has been linked to phone addiction. Dopamine is created in various parts of the brain and is critical in numerous brain functions, including thinking, sleeping, mood, attention, motivation, seeking and reward. When individuals receive texts, snaps, Facebook likes and other notifications, it allows for the release of dopamine making a person feel rewarded. I’m sure we’ve all had that rush when someone blows up your phone constantly making you feel important and popular, but what happens when your phone isn’t being bombarded? You more than likely feel unpopular and just downright terrible. This is because your brain has slowly adjusted to having increased levels of dopamine release from constant cellphone use. Once you take away the constant cellphone stimuli, you take away the release of dopamine and have withdrawals from it. This is what drives people to constantly need their phones with them!

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Unfortunately, I am also a phone addict. Yes, Jesse is a phone addict! I constantly have to have my phone on me to feel comfortable and have peace of mind because I clearly seek attention from people to help myself feel better throughout the day. Having a bad day? Why yes I am! What should I do about it? Probably text somebody, check Facebook to see if anyone else hates their life as much as me, or snap one of my friends to see if they look just as terrible as I do. The fact of the matter is, everything I do throughout my day revolves around having my phone in my pocket and being able to keep immediate contact with people. The second I forget my phone at home is the second my whole day is thrown off. I honestly can’t function if I don’t have my phone with me and it’s kind of an issue, but the odds of this addiction changing in the near future is slim to none.

Click the link below to learn more about the brain changes associated with phone addiction!

15 Facts About The Brain Of A Phone Addict

By Jesse Read More