Monday, April 28, 2008

Effects Of the Internet on Family Dynamics

Affects Of the Internet on Family Dynamics
American society is changing rapidly. Individuals do not speak to one another. They use text messaging via cell phone, instant messaging, or the internet to communicate to one another. This new style of computer-mediated communication has taken its toll on the traditional American family. Teens are no longer interested face-to-face communication with family members, resulting in a disconnection in the tradition family dynamic.
Affects Of the Internet on Family Conflict
The internet serves as a new point of conflict in families. Young adults are using their computer expertise to disjoint parental authority. In many instances,
“Families are social systems characterized by a hierarchy of authority. The introduction of the computer has the potential to change that hierarchy as the adolescent becomes the family expert on whom other family members rely for technical advice and guidance.” (Mesch, 2006, August, P. 483).
The imbalance that parents experience as a result of being guided by their children often results in conflict. These conflicts generally result when an adolescent ignores or rejects parental authority when they are using the internet. This is highlighted as, “Most of these conflicts generate from young individuals spending too much time on the internet.” (Mesch, 2006, August, P. 480). This signifies how teens’ use of the internet has shifted the normal conflict between families. Internet usage has manipulated conventional hierarchies of parents with power to adolescents with power.
Affects of the Internet on Family Time
As young teens begin to both do homework and socialize on the internet, family time is reduced. Parents are now confronted with a new competitor of their child’s time. Most parents find this new media creating a void in their family’s closeness. “In fact, parents and adolescents worry that internet use might have a negative effect on family communication and closeness based on family time diaries.” (Mesch, 2006, April, P. 124). In one study, participants were asked to document the time spent together while their child did not have access to the internet, then to document the time spent together while their child did have access to the internet. The findings of this study confirmed that less time was spent with family when teens had access to the internet (Mesch, 2006, April, P. 130).
Affects of the Internet on Family Cohesion
Now that families spend less time together the family cohesion is diminishing as well. Traditional family dinners and other bonding experiences are becoming less common as young individuals would prefer to be online than to partake in these activities. Additionally, teens generally are choosing to skip family bonding for socializing with others on the web. In fact, “Internet use for social purpose may expose adolescents to dangerous individuals and dangerous situations, including sexual harassment and victimization.” (Wahl, 2005, P. 282). Often time’s parents are aware of the dangers that lurk on the internet, and conflicts arise as these parents try to prevent certain types of internet usages (Mesch, 2006, April, P. 131). All of these components, in addition with lost time with family, negatively affects family cohesion.

Research Questions and Research Hypothesis:
RQ1: Does the internet create conflict in families?
RQ2: Does the internet reduce time spent together as a family?
RQ3: Does the internet negatively affect family cohesion?

Research hypothesis: I predict that internet usage among teens creates conflict, and reduces time and cohesion in families.

Possible Research Methods and Subject of study:

In this study, I would like to uncover how internet affects conventional family dynamic. To do this I would accept a willing participant family that currently did not have access to the internet in their primary residence. After gaining this participant family, I would first observe the family as a whole without the internet. I would note the time they spent together, the subject of their conflicts, and overall family cohesion. Secondly I would introduce access to the internet in the family’s home. After a period with the internet in the family’s home I would observe them again. I would note all of the same components and find the affects of the internet on this family.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Tough Guise

The film "Tough Guise" uncovers how mass media can impact social norms and expectations. The aspect highlighted in this film is the pressure for young males to be "hyper-masculine." Click here to watch the whole movie or read a summary.

Here's a short clip of the film:

Men in the Media: Tough Guise
In today’s society many people learn social norms and expectations from media portrayals. This is extremely true, especially in the new phenomena of hyper-masculinity in movies and television. Men in movies are becoming increasingly violent, physically larger, and overly sexual.
First, men are often portrayed in many crime, law, and reality shows. These men usually have guns, break into fights, and are overly aggressive. These men also tend to be white, heterosexual, and completely independent. On the other hand, they never display characteristics such as empathy, sensitivity, and most importantly femininity. Depictions such as these, define a new type of masculinity and many young teens are taking notice.
Second, teens are also taking notice in how these new, masculine characters appear. For instance, male actors are becoming larger and larger. Many of the males are often shirtless to display their muscles. Also, men who lack this appearance usually play comedic roles, where they can’t get girlfriends. This supports the notion that you have to be large and strong to get a partner.
Last, men in film and television are overly sexual. From James Bond, to MTV rappers, men are constantly surrounded by women. Additionally, other male characters are shown having sex with many women. This representation teaches young viewers that objectifying women is a trait of masculinity.
These new depictions of men in the media are transforming the way we think of masculinity. Men are now expected to be aggressive, unsympathetic, and sometimes even violent. This new personality must be contained by a large, muscular body. Finally, these masculine men have to be surrounded by many scantily clad women. All of these new portrayals are redefining masculinity.

Do blogs have a bigger impact than you'd think?

Here is the first scholary critique of the article "Mapping the Blogosphere." To read the article first click here.
1) Research topic and researcher(s): “Mapping the Blogosphere: Professional and Citizen-Based Media in the Global News Arena,” by Stephen Reese, et. al. In Journalism, 8 (3) 2007, pp. 235-261. Retrieved from Communication and Media Complete, on Mar. 02, 2008.

2) Rationale of the study:
To find 1) the extent weblogs (blogs) link to the professional news media, 2) how the political affiliation of blogs is related to their linking to professional news media, 3) how is political affiliation of blogs related to the affiliation of their linking choices and 4) How is political affiliation of blogs related to their linking to international sites and authors? (Reese, 2007, p. 241).

3) Literature review:
· This study points out that traditional theories and the relationship of press and the public are changing with the emergence and popularity of blogs.
· Traditional media has more limits and less interaction than the new media of blogs.
· Journalism is one aspect that has changed due to blogs.
· Professional journalists are experienced in the journalistic craft and usually have formal training.
· Journalists generally have limits on their work. For instance, they must work with an editor and make money for their work.
· One boundary that traditional forms of media face is that viewer or readers may have to pay for news services.
· Bloggers can freely express ideas with or without the approval of a superior.
· New forms of news are more interactive.
· One way that blogs are more interactive is that they interlink.
· Bloggers can provide links that readers can instantly obtain.
· Links can create an intertwining web of similar thoughts, concepts, phenomena, and ideas.
· Blogs can be considered complementary to traditional forms of media as they can be interconnected through interlinking with the work of professional journalists.
· One negative issue that new blogs face is the overlap of interlinking. Some blogs have the same links so the same messages are being echo by each other.
· Finally, new forms of new sources assist the transcendence of geographical boundaries.

4) Research Method:
The researchers used both contextual analysis and textual analysis of new and political blogs.

5) Subject of the Study:
The researchers of the study began by studying blogs devoted to new and politics. The process continued as the conductors of the study selected liberal and conservative perspectives that were reputable and popular in the blogosphere. After finding particular sites, the researchers described patterns of significance for each site.

This process was employed to gain insight into the aspects of each blog and how they became reputable and popular. In the course of the study, six weblogs were selected (three liberal: Points Memo, Atrios, and Daily Kos; and three conservative: Instapundit, Andrew Sullivan, and Little Green Footballs).

6) Research Findings:
· Given the broadness of blogosphere, researchers focused on three major boundaries of the structure of blogging networks: professional, political, and geographic.
· The conductors of the study were challenged with the content analysis because of the large amount of information a blog contains (posts, comments, links, etc).
· Another challenge was the rapid interactivity of each blog. Because there are constantly being comments and links added the testing environment was somewhat inconsistent.
· One interesting aspect of the study is that many of the blogs provided links to traditional forms of news.
· 47.6% of blogs made references to professional news media including news-editorial, policy, or opinion journals
· Positive affects of new forms of news includes the increase of attention to global issues, rather than national insularity.

7) My position on this Scholarly Essay:
I believe that this is a critical issue to study. With the popularization of news and political blogs, more and more people are exploring their thoughts and ideas via blogs. The findings of this study confirmed my previous beliefs as far as the effects of blogs. Additionally the purpose and results of this study were written in a lucid, concise writing style.

Although the study was important and easy to follow, I feel that the methodology was primitive. There seemed to be little or no structure to how the researchers set out to answer their research questions. Additionally, the study did not answer all of the research questions. For example, 1) how the political affiliation of blogs is related to their linking to professional news media? And 2) how is political affiliation of blogs related to the affiliation of their linking choices? Remain unanswered by the study. Finally, I feel that the scope of the study was too broad. The study would have been refined had the researchers ask a research question such as, “How are blogs changing the affects of traditional mass media?”

Overall the study was heuristic, but the scope of the experiment was too broad for any one study to uncover the answers to.

A study of

Here is the second scholarly critique of the article "Feminists sexualities, race and the internet." To read this article click here!
1) Research topic and researcher(s): “Feminists sexualities, race and the internet: an investigation of” by Magnet, Shoshana. In New Media & Society, Aug 2007, Vol. 9, Issue 4, pp. 577-602. Retrieved from Communication and Mass Media Complete, on Mar. 28, 2008.

2) Rationale of the study:
The website was created to portray women in a way that is not racist, ableist, or heterosexist. In addition, the site attempts to create a positive feminist community that hopes to broaden the representation and understanding of the female sexuality. The rationale of the study was to uncover how the site fails to portray women in a positive light and actually reinforces racial hierarchies and sexual subordination.

3) Literature review:
· This study has found that describes itself as a feminist.
· The women featured on the site are expected to own the gaze of male viewers.
· Models of are extensively pierced, tattooed, and have died hair.
· These measures are taken to disrupt the traditional norms of beauty.
· Models of are required to journal and post on bulletin boards. They generally include testimonies of their life events, sexual harassment at work, schoolwork, even views of women in the sex industry.
· Messages boards on the site include feminist discussions ranging Roe v. Wade to sexual harassment.
· Utopian feminist believe that women online are relieved from conventional norms and restriction of female sexuality.
· Cybertopian feminists argue that the female body is active and intelligent when portrayed online.
· argues that women are freer to experiment with their sexual orientation online, as a result of anonymity.
· Additionally, the site goes on to argue that the internet serves as a new place for women to find sexual fulfillment through cybersex.
· As the site insists it frees women of sexual harassment some of the models have been harassed by someone they met online.
· The site is aimed at portraying diverse women, however the site rarely feature women with bodies that challenge the normal standards of beauty.
· Females displayed on the site demonstrate how racism prevails on the alleged antiracist site.
· Women of color on the site are racially stereotypical, which can lead to their objectification.
· Women of color who did not display stereotypical, physical traits were excluded from the site.

4) Research Method:
The researchers used both contextual analysis and textual analysis of pictures, profiles, texts, and members of the website.

5) Subject of the study:
The researchers of the study began by studying and analyzing the representation of sexuality and feminism one The process continued as the researchers examined other parts of the site including, pictures of models, profiles of members, and online discussions hosted on the site.

6) Research finding:
· The site’s ability to completely be feminist is limited by the fact that the site is profit-driven.
· Ethnicity, queerness, and gender become goods that creates profit from.
· attempts to capitalize on the feminist market.
· The site uses its feminist potential to gain paying members for the site’s profit.
· Additionally, the sight adheres to featuring mostly white females as they are the safest and best-selling product.
· Models of the site most commonly join based on financial need, not to defy standards and norms of conventional beauty.
· Racism prevails on the sight as women of color are stereotypically portrayed and are deemed deviant females.
· Capitalism and profits affect how the gay community has become a commodity to
· The site’s capitalistic (profit-driven) nature solidifies the norm of female beauty as straight and white.

7) My position on this scholarly article:
I believe that this was a heuristic topic to examine. There are many individuals and websites that are challenging long held standards and norms of beauty. Obviously, is a landmark website where the conception of beauty has come into question. I think it is important and positive that the study highlights the fact that websites like exist. Before reading this article I was unaware that the standards and norms of female beauty were being redefined.

Although the study was very heuristic, it lacked validity. Many of the arguments and theories used to discount the site’s feminist movement were not fact (more so it was the opinion of the researchers). Furthermore, I feel the methodology of the study was primitive. The aim of the study was seemingly unanswered and the commodification, ethnicity, gender and suicide girls portion of the article were, in my perspective, irrelevant.

Overall the study was interesting and heuristic, but the validity and methodology were questionable to say the least. Also, the purpose of the study seemed unfinished.