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Valeria Benítez-EIP

Valeria Benítez-EIP

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Published by: Valeria Benítez-Vera on May 01, 2013
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Benítez 1
Valeria Benítez-VeraInstructor: Malcolm CampbellEnglish 11029 April 2013How does social anxiety affect self-esteem in adolescents through social media?I am a nineteen year old curious about societal changes and what they bring with them.As far as I can remember, my childhood was built and characterized by physically interactivegames, excitement, and complete cluelessness of other people’s opinion. How can such a simplestage in the development of a person be somehow different 15 years later right? I have an eleven-year-old sister, and as a very curious and meticulous observer, I have numerous questions andconcerns of the things that are most important to her. She doesn’t have anything to really worryabout at the age of eleven; she’s barely on her first pubertal stage or in high school to have dramain her life. Aren’t I right? I came to fin out I am one hundred percent wrong.After asking her a handful of questions about her interests and motivations, I learned thatgirls around her age pay a significant amount of attention to online networking sites. I came tostart using one of these probably when I became a teenager. Not only this generation of “onliners” weigh enough importance to these sites, but how and why was definitely what amusedme the most.This generation of pre-teens, lets say raging from ages 10 thru 12, are in constant use othese online social networking sites for the following reasons: to gain social acceptance, increasetheir popularity among peers, and to state self-worth. Growing up in this “linked society” who
 
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more or less depends on technology on a daily basis has beneficially assessed the mature population, but has taken away the joy of being a stress-free, happy, careless kid. This increase inthe specific use of social media for acceptance purposes has increased to the extent that hasmotivated professionals to research the triggers and reasons behind this new way of exploitingsocial networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.The use of social media for the purpose of gaining acceptance in various aspects of lifecould be problematic. Adolescents who have great dependence on external factors to developtheir self-esteem are said to experience depression, mood swings, instability, and vulnerability.In a study made by psychologists of Utrecht University, Free University and the University of Texas came to the conclusion that these major effects are derived from the development of socialanxiety. Social anxiety is explained as the “persistent fear and/or avoidance of situations thatentail potential scrutiny from others and the associated shame or humiliation” by Kashdan &Herbert (Reijntjes 774).Two main points characterize social anxiety, the fear of negative evaluation and socialavoidance and distress. Going more in depth to the definition of social anxiety and its link to thefour main points stated above, social anxiety is directly correlated with a person’s self-esteem.Because socially anxious individuals tend to over exaggerate situations, specifically negativescenarios, high levels of social anxiety is positively correlated with self-esteem. This correlationis better explained by Crocker & Knight: “socially anxious people attach excessive importance toothers’ evaluations, and it appears that they lack a stable sense of self that is relativelyindependent of others’ approval” (Reijntjes 775).Depressive symptoms have a linkage with a person’s social anxiety and state self-esteem.First off, to understand this we must know that state self-esteem is a fluctuating state, meaning
 
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that it changes momentarily depending on any given occurring situation regardless of being positive or negative. Clinical researchers suggest that people with state self-esteem that arecentered/dependent on other’s admiration and appreciation are at risk for depression. This is so because of the vulnerability socially anxious people develop; an increase risk of depression isfaced with major everyday negative interpersonal events. Not only constant negative events, butothers suggest that it is as simple as generalizing the contingency of self-esteem on externalvalidation per say (Reijntjes 775).Results of Albert Reijntjes case study on social anxiety are as follows:State self-esteem fluctuates in response to othersmomentary appraisals, thedifferent evaluation outcomes yielded significant differential changes in state self-esteem. Negatively valenced events have a greater impact than positivelyvalenced events of the same tye. Children with elevated fear of negativeevaluation possess a more reactive, ‘hair-triggered’ sociometer than their peers.Specifically, these children experienced stronger increments in state self-esteemfollowing social approval, and stronger decrements in state self-esteem followingdisapproval. (778)Another very important detail to mention in this new era of social networking use is theneed for popularity that these newcomers look for when online. The need for popularity refers tothe motivation to do certain things in order to appear popular which affect a wide range of socialnetworking sites behavior (Utz 40). Social networking sites allow users to carefully plan their self-presentation and appear more social and popular, this being a key factor to maintainconnections to friends or stranger who have access to one’s publications. Compared to thetraditional meet-cute or just day-to-day personal interaction, this generation would rather have a

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