Saturday, December 2, 2017

Digital Self-Harm – Causes, Trends, and Risks

This study explores the extent of digital self-harm among adolescents. The findings showed that boys were more likely to report digital self-harm, and the risk of digital self-harm was three times higher among non-heterosexual youths and 12 times higher among those who were cyberbullying victims. Only a small number of students have anonymously posted something online about themselves that was mean. Males were significantly more likely to report participation than females. Other factors found to be involved in self-harm included sexual orientation, experience with school bullying and cyberbullying, drug use, participation in various forms of adolescent deviance, and depressive symptoms. Importance of this research shows that digital self-harm is a new problem that demands additional scholarly attention. A deeper inquiry as to the motivations behind this behavior, and how it correlates to offline self-harm and suicidal ideation, can help direct mental health professionals toward informed prevention approaches.

Patchin, J. W., & Hinduja, S. (2017). Digital self-harm among adolescents. Journal of Adolescent Health, 61(6), 761-766.

Questions to Address Parents’ Concerns Regarding Educational Technology

According to a new book written by Joe Clement and Matt Miles titled Screen Schooled, students are now strongly tethered to their digital devices and entertainment media. They emphasize that “the new digital world is a toxic environment for the developing minds of young people. Rather than making digital natives superlearners, it has stunted their mental growth.” In their book, they recommend that teachers reject most of educational technology and instead, teach simply and directly to encourage understanding and thought. They want to improve student skills and human interaction, not show them how to look up stuff on Google. Clement and Miles estimated, based on several studies, that about 75 percent of high school students walk the halls with cellphones in their hands rather than in pockets or purses. In order to address this problem, the authors suggest that parents ask questions at PTA meetings regarding the advantages of using technology. They suggest parents should ask questions on improvements that the use of screens has had on students’ academic achievement levels, and whether school officials have any data to back up such claims. By asking the questions, the authors said, parents can be more informed about the use of technology in their children’s educational experiences.

 Clement, J., & Miles, M. (2017). Screen schooled: Two veteran teachers expose how technology overuse is making our kids dumber. Chicago, IL: Chicago Review Press. 

Reading Comprehension Differences Between Mediums

This study explored differences that might exist in comprehension when students read digital and printed texts. Prior to reading texts in counterbalanced order, topic knowledge was assessed and students were asked to state medium preferences. After reading, students were asked to judge under which medium they comprehended best. Results demonstrated a clear preference for digital texts, and students typically predicted better comprehension when reading digitally. The study revealed potential differences in comprehension across mediums, even taking into account studentsself-reported knowledge of the reading topics, which has yet to be explored.

Singer, L. M., & Alexander, P. A. (2017) Reading across mediums: Effects of reading digital and print texts on comprehension and calibration. The Journal of Experimental Education. 85(1), 155-172.