Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’


A ‘Ruined Generation of Men,’ Plus a New Class Divide? Digital Adverse Effects in the News

June 8, 2012

By Michael Fergenson, AJN senior editorial coordinator

LAN Party NW, 2009/Chase N., via Flickr

There continue to be questions raised about the harmful effects of the excessive use of digital devices, mostly in the young but also in adults. Such ills as ADHD, violence, poor school performance, social isolation, and bullying have been attributed to the overuse of gaming, the Internet, and social media Web sites.

A ruined generation of men? Psychologist Phillip Zimbardo, well known for his ethically borderline 1971 Stanford Prison Experiment, contends that video games and digital media do have a detrimental effect on today’s youth, especially males. His recent article, “The Demise of Guys: How Video Games and Porn Are Ruining a Generation,” argues that addiction to video games and online porn “is creating a generation of risk-averse guys who are unable (and unwilling) to navigate the complexities and risks inherent to real-life relationships, school and employment.”

He refers to stories such as a South Korean man who went into cardiac arrest after playing a video game for 50 hours straight, a man whose wife kicked him out because he couldn’t stop watching porn, and a mass murder suspect who claims to have used video games to prepare for his crime of shooting 77 people. Zimbardo argues there may be a link between violent video games and real-life aggression.

Causation is hard to prove, but many studies have pointed to negative physiologic and psychosocial effects of such games over the years. For example, a small experimental study published in 2006 assigned men ages 18 to 21 to play either the violent game Grand Theft Auto III or the less violent game The Simpsons: Hit and Run. The study found that

men randomly assigned to play Grand Theft Auto III exhibited greater increases in diastolic blood pressure from a baseline rest period to game play, greater negative affect, more permissive attitudes toward using alcohol and marijuana, and more uncooperative behavior in comparison with men randomly assigned to play The Simpsons.

The authors did note that the potential for negative outcomes was higher in those who had grown up in violent surroundings, although the risk may be there for all youths.

The new ‘digital divide.’ An article in the New York Times explored an unintended adverse effect of the efforts to get the latest computing tools into the hands of all Americans in order to close the so-called “digital divide” between socioeconomic groups. Researchers and policy makers have found that as access to digital devices has spread to lower-income families, children in these families are spending far more time than children from well-off families using these devices solely for entertainment purposes. The result is a new time-wasting gap that is replacing the digital divide. The problem, experts suggest, is “more a reflection of the ability of parents to monitor and limit how children use technology than of access to it.”

According to the article, “a study published in 2010 by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that children and teenagers whose parents do not have a college degree spent 90 minutes more per day exposed to media than children from higher socioeconomic families. In 1999, the difference was just 16 minutes.” Because of this disparity, the FCC is considering a $200 million initiative to create a “digital literacy corps,” which would be used to “teach productive uses of computers for parents, students and job seekers.”

There are certainly many dangers inherent in the use of digital devices. As with many things, proper knowledge about their use and careful moderation are key to avoiding such negative effects. Nurses should be well versed in these, as many of their patients may be experiencing one or more of the ill effects that can be caused by use of these digital media.

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Staffing: Hot Topic as Usual for Nurses

May 31, 2012

Karen Roush, MS, RN, FNP-C, clinical managing editor

Our recent Facebook post on an article on nurse staffing at the NPR Shots blog (“Need a Nurse? You May Have to Wait”) got a lot of responses. Staffing is a hot topic for nurses—from both a personal  and a patient care perspective. And I say “hot” because it never fails to raise emotions.

Everyone agrees that adequate nurse staffing is essential for safe, high quality patient care and nursing job satisfaction. Research has shown that it significantly improves patient outcomes.

Yet we—nurses, as well as the larger health care community—continue to debate how to determine what “adequate staffing” is and how to best achieve it. Acuity-of-care measures? Unit-by-unit mandated staffing plans? State-mandated staffing ratios? What do you think?

We’ve published numerous articles and news pieces on this topic in recent years; here are a few examples:

News, reports, and analysis (open access articles)

“Nurse Staffing Matters—Again”

“California Mandated Nurse–Patient Ratios Deemed Successful”

“Nursing Shortage—or Not”

Feature. Requires subsciption or purchase; abstract only

“Nurse Staffing and Patient, Nurse, and Financial Outcomes”

And here are some blog posts that deal either directly or indirectly with issues related to nurse staffing.

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“Let Patients Help”: Nurses and e-Patients

March 30, 2012


Joy Jacobson is a health care journalist and the poet-in-residence at the Center for Health, Media, and Policy at Hunter College, where she teaches writing to nursing students.

In the March issue of AJN, a letter writer responds critically to my news report, “Leveling the Research Field Through Social Media,” published last October. My report summarizes some recent trends in medical research, including patients using Facebook and other social networking sites to push for the funding of research into treatments that the science may not support. I go on to discuss PatientsLikeMe, which describes itself as “a health data-sharing platform” designed to “transform the way patients manage their own conditions.”

The letter writer objects to the idea of patients sharing their own data online. Can vulnerable, mentally ill patients, she asks, consent to participate in online research? Is enough being done to safeguard them? “I suggest we disseminate information to nurses that helps them steer patients away from Web sites such as PatientsLikeMe,” she concludes, “until programs and processes are in place to better protect the public we’ve pledged to serve.”

Several PatientsLikeMe researchers responded to this nurse’s points; a synopsis of their responses was included along with the reader’s letter in the March issue. “What we are doing is new and as such should be scrutinized frequently and rigorously by peers to ensure we are meeting the ethical standards one would expect for our patients,” they write. “We believe our established processes and procedures are consistent with these expectations.”

While I think the letter writer’s urge to protect patients is laudable, I find unrealistic her suggestion that nurses “steer patients away” from social media, especially in this age of e-patients and participatory health care. As I understand it, e-patients are not reckless. Rather, they’re “enabled, equipped, engaged, and empowered.” But even those who aren’t knowledgeable might want to participate more fully with clinicians and researchers alike in seeking the best care available. Read the rest of this entry ?


Patient Privacy and Company Policy: What Nurses Should Know About Social Media

August 26, 2011

Should you be able to have an online discussion about hospital policies that aren’t working or are unfair? What if the point of your discussion is to improve working conditions or to troubleshoot and not to cast an uncomplimentary light on your employer? Right now, the answer is “good question.”

If you’re a nurse or health care worker of any sort, if you sometimes use one or more of the many available social media options (Facebook, blogging, Twitter, etc.), if you’re worried about what it’s OK for you to do or say online, if you have a job or are thinking of looking for one, we strongly suggest you take a look at this month’s iNurse column in AJN (quoted above).

In it, Megen Duffy, RN, aka blogger Not Nurse Ratched, considers such issues as the following:

  • hospital social media policies (always read them; some are surprisingly restrictive)
  • HIPAA and potential issues raised by blogging about aspects of work
  • the ways your social media history may be mined by HR departments at prospective employers
  • the reasons why she strongly believes that social media isn’t going away and has many potential benefits, despite various well-publicized pitfalls—and why nurses need to let their input be known so that social media policies will be sane and balanced

And, since this is social media, we hope you’ll let us know your thoughts, in the form of comments. Maybe Megen will even weigh in, if you really get her attention.—Jacob Molyneux, senior editor

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Sexual Predators Online: Where Do They Intersect With Adolescents and Young Adults?

June 30, 2011

Here are some of the results described in “Online Social Networking Patterns Among Adolescents, Young Adults, and Sexual Offenders,” an original research article published in the July issue of AJN:

nearly two-thirds of Internet offenders said they’d initiated the topic of sex in their first chat session; more than half . . . disguised their identity when online; most . . . preferred communicating with teenage girls rather than teenage boys; high school students’ experience with “sexting” . . . differed significantly according to their sex; a small number of students are being threatened and assaulted by people they meet online; avatar sites such as Second Life were used both by students and offenders . .  . .

What’s your own experience? Have a look at the article, and pass along the link if you find it useful, as a parent or nurse. Have you heard any concerns about Internet safety from parents or adolescents you encounter in your own practice or community? What’s your own take on Facebook and privacy, or any other issue raised in this article?—JM, senior editor


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