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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 2013
How 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 opinions. How can such a simplestage in the development of a person be somehow different 15 years later, right? I have aneleven-year-old sister, and as a very curious and meticulous observer, I have numerous questionsand concerns of the things that are most important to her. She doesn’t have anything to reallyworry about at the age of eleven; she’s barely on her first pubertal stage or in high school to havedrama in her life. Aren’t I right? I came to find out I am one hundred percent wrong.After asking her a handful of questions about her interests and motivations whenassuming her different behavior/personality, I learned that girls around her age pay a significantamount of attention to online networking sites. I came to start using one of these probably when I became a teenager. Not only this generation of “onliners” pays too much attention to these sitesother than what they really should, but how and why
 
they do so was definitely what made me beabnormally curious over the subject.This generation of pre-teens, lets say ranging from ages 10 thru 12, are in constant use of these 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” whomore or less depends on technology on a daily basis has beneficially assessed the mature
 
Benítez 2
 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.Psychologists at Utrecht University, Free University and the University of Texas came to theconclusion that these major effects are derived from the development of social anxiety. Socialanxiety is explained as the “persistent fear and/or avoidance of situations that entail potentialscrutiny from others and the associated shame or humiliation” by Kashdan & Herbert (qtd in).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” (qtd in).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, meaningthat 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 are
 
Benítez 3
centered/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 mayincrease the risk of depression, but other professionals suggest that it can also be increased bysimply depending one’s self-esteem on constant external validation 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 strangers who have access to one’s publications. Compared to thetraditional day-to-day personal interaction, this generation would rather have a carefullyenhanced public identity via social networking sites other than simply present themselves as is.Making a straight connection to self-esteem, introverts with low self-esteem who would consider 

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