Monthly Archives: December 2015

Instant Gratification by Jean Betances

Streaming services are affecting the way you and I think. These services have an underlying change to your emotions that you might not notice. Some of these services include Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Pandora, Spotify, Apple Music, Steam and countless others. Besides the services that these companies offer, the streaming aspect of it gives us instant gratification. We get what we want immediately without having to wait. At first it may seem like nothing is wrong with that but in reality it is training us to be less patient and to not wait for things. It defies sayings like: “good things come to those who wait” and “everything in due time”. It makes it harder to tolerate when we actually have to wait for something to happen.

Streaming services are a very big players in making us impatient and having shorter attention spans. Another big player in this, although not a streaming service, is Google. Google is a search engine that in a matter of seconds gives back millions of results to any inquiries that you may have. Google has a new feature that allows for us to search from any screen on our phones, so now we have instant answers and solutions on our phones just like we have instant music, movies, and TV shows from streaming services. I didn’t realize that this was a growing problem in today’s day and age until one day my internet connection was having problems and I got angrier than the situation called for. At that moment I realized that I got used to getting things immediately online so when I couldn’t I didn’t know how to process it. Ironically enough I immediately did a google search to see if others have reacted the same way and to my surprise this has been something that has been looked into for years. Since that day I began cutting down on the amount of streaming services I use to try and regain some of that patience that I used to have. I deactivated my Amazon Prime account and switched my Netflix from the streaming plan to the mail-in plan. I still google things because these services are also designed to make our lives more enjoyable and easier even though they come with some negative side effects. This is something that I think people should practice and if not at least be an effect that they should know exists and should act with caution.

Lebanon Times writer, Joel Risser, had the same issue with his son. He says that his son will never understand that in the past if his father wanted to watch a show he had to watch it when it was on or rely on a rerun to catch up on what he missed because it was not on demand or in any of these services like I have previously mentioned. Risser says even if the electricity goes out his son can still watch Sesame Street as long as there is a charged phone tablet or laptop. This proves that other people have noticed that with the help of technology things are becoming available whenever a person may request it. Risser wants to stress the importance of delayed gratification. He shows this by saying that delayed gratification is something that has been practiced since the bible times. He said, “The Bible reverberates with calls for us to be patient in our prayers and to ‘be still before the Lord and wait for him.’(Psalms 37:7)”. Another thing that Joel Risser pointed out is that instant gratification should be only for necessary things, like having to go to the bathroom. Things that are essential, not things that are wants.  (Risser, Lebanon Daily)

Instant gratification has become such a big problem that near Microsoft’s headquarters, The Impulse society opened in Seattle. It’s the world’s first rehab center for technology addicts that have been affected to the most extreme cases. In there are people who are addicted to video games, so much so that their self-control and decision making ability has atrophied. This is a reality that the rest of us might have to face. We might have to figure out a way to live in a society that is too good in giving us what we want. The reason this could be problematic is because in life not everything can be when we want or it might not be possible at all so we have to be ready for those circumstances (Macdonald, Roberts).

I wanted to know if this has affected people around me in the same way it affected me so I asked my 21 year-old cousin Kathleen Rintleman about her uses of streaming services. I asked her what the streaming service she used the most was. “Well technically I use Spotify the most but the one that I can’t live without is Netflix.” I proceeded to ask her how often she used Netflix. “I use it every time I get home from school and work or on the commute there on my phone”. “Why do you say you can’t live without it?” I asked. “It’s not that I can’t live without it but things in general would be a bit more boring. Instead of being able to watch episodes of the Flash when I get home I’d have to wait for a re-run because I’m at work when the new episodes air.” I concluded from this interview that my cousin is now in a state where she thinks her life is better off with Netflix and that she believes that she could not bear without it. I realized that she’s forgotten that there was a time in her life where she didn’t have that and she had no other choice but to wait for a rerun. This made me think that instant gratification takes away the ability we had before to wait.

I decide to ask my father, Luis Betances at age 48 about Netflix. I asked him how often he uses Netflix. “I use it every time I get a Blu-ray in the mail. I have the mail service for Netflix and not the streaming service although I used to have it in the past.” “Why did you choose the mailing service instead of the streaming service?” I asked. “The mailing service to me offers classic movies that are not allowed on the streaming service.” “But wouldn’t you rather see the movies instantly?” “Yes, but I’d rather wait for a movie that I want to see instead instantly seeing a movie that I don’t want to see.” Just like with my cousin I began to think and concluded that my father has been around a much longer time than my cousin so he is better able to control his impulses. I believe that even though my father still might have a natural urge for things that give him instant gratification, he is better able to control them because of his experience which we could think of as like training.

Instant gratification might not be all bad however, it is a result of technology coming a long way. It was a result of us being able to speed things up like getting 4G LTE on our cell phones, meaning we can look things up in seconds. Humans strive to make things easier, more effective, and overall faster. This is a choice we make and with it comes instant gratification so maybe it’s something we shouldn’t oppose and just accept as a natural result of our improvements. Instant gratification is a result of our advances technologies that ultimately make our lives simpler. Imagine a world where when trying to watch an online video there is a 5 minute pause just to train ourselves to have delayed gratification. Instant gratification as a product of streaming services might not necessarily bad but it is something that we should keep in mind.

Works Cited

Betances, Luis. Personal interview. 27 Nov 2015

MACDONALD, NANCY. “The Impulse Society: America I n The Age Of Instant Gratification.” Maclean’s 127.35 (2014): 76-77. Academic Search Complete. Web. 24 Nov. 2015.

Rintleman, Kathleen. Personal interview. 29 Nov 2015

Risser, Joel. “Instant World Is Making Teaching Patience Difficult.” LexisNexis Academic [LexisNexis]. The Lebanon Daily News, 27 Aug. 2015. Web. 24 Nov. 2015.


Technology breaking apart families and relationships. By Alejandra Avila

Technology has change dramatically throughout the last few decades keeping the control of feelings and acts inside the different individuals. I was born in 1997, where technology was not as much advance as it’s now in days. Must of the people decide to give up their personal lives and let a digital technology, and share all kind of problems they may have in their personal lives. Digital advisers are taking away the sensibility of empathy with our family, friends and sentimental partners in the sense of expressing ourselves and showing them our true feelings. In today’s society, people prefers to talk over the phone and use different social medias such as Facebook, twitter, whatsapp and more than meet up in person and spend some time together, building up some memories, digital technology has also change the way people thing about others. Talking over the phone won’t be the something as talking in person with our partners reactions through things will be different.

Technology has become a bad influence for people to involve in their sentimental lives. My first interviewee was Reynaldo Diaz. He confirm my statement about people involving the technology more than what they need too. (The interview was done in Spanish but for purposes of my paper I will be translating his words to English) he sated “During my times the girls used to do love letters, we gave them flowers and serenade every time we could, but now in days the only thing they do is chat through the different social medias an all happen through a phone.” (Diaz, P.6)  I will love to be as the times people could go and spend some time together, show to that specific person how much you love them, with letter songs and acts. But at a day that does not come up as natural as before, people prefers to spend more time in their videogames and social Medias than spend their time with that special person and build up some memories for both of them. Another thing that my interviewee mention was “now at days people doesn’t have the ability of communication anymore” during times people have the mentality that if they doesn’t like something from a person they just keep it to themselves and try to avoid that person, so their attitude does not botters you. It happens the same in relationships, instead of talking to the other person they just try to keep distance and send indirect via social Medias and that will not make thing better, it will ruin relationship more fast than usual.

On the other hand a person from this era can said the opposite in the sense that social Medias and the different phone devisers do to our emotions and brain reaction when we are interacting with our sentimental partners and family as well. My second interviewee was my sister, her name is Gabriela Avila, she is a college student attending to BMCC she is now in her second year of the same, she is now 19 years old. She totally disagree with my argument while she said “social medias not always split families and relationships between two or more people, I think they do the appositive, when you are far from each other it’s thanks to that, technology that people can communicate and keep the contact with one and other” (Avila,3) In my opinion she had a point, thanks to the technology and electronica devisers that we have now in days we can keep the communication with special people that are far away from us. However it’s not always the case, social media has turn to a public diary for many of the people, that published every single thing that they do or things that are going on in their lives on the different social medias that they have access to. Today this is one of the most common reason why relationships does not last for long terms of time, it has also being the reason of why many families had been split apart it could be either because someone post something or even themselves. Today in days most of the people does not communicated with one another anymore because of the different social Medias.

Going back to our main topic, Electric devisers being more explicit mobile phones came to our society to split and ruin the family unity as well as relationships. While the phones come out to the market, children started to paid more attention to the digital devise instead of going out and spend more time in the outside and spend sometimes with their families and friends, that way they could build sentimental attachments with each other, but now in days they prefer to stay in door and play all day long with the different digital devisers. This force the parents and more the mother to keep contact with the technology so they can have at least a communication with their children. Stated by Furtunaty and Taipate “women while lived together with children may feel obligated to use their mobile phones more often to keep an eye on their children.”  (Furtunaty and Taipate, P 7). This quote means that the mothers that are usually the ones that protect their children and doesn’t want anything bad to go around them, are the ones that go around the different social medias and the different apps to prove that their children are safe enough while they are using the different social media and apps.

Another reason that proves how does the different social medias and technical deviser are breaking relation lines between people is that people throughout times and more now than ever before are trying to get back into the habit of communication with one and other without an scream in between them because they are realizing how does technology affects the with the different relations that people have. This statement is support by an article name “connect your brain to the internet” that stated “Many of the negative forecasts were bullish on technological growth, just skeptical about our ability to control it. In 2021, Steve Williams wrote from Calgary, Alberta, “computers will become so ubiquitous that they will be relegated to appliance status like toasters, as people strive to put the misnamed social media aside in favor of face-to-face human connections.” (Lin and Huang, p-8) This quote is saying that people is blaming technology because we lost the control while it comes to deal with technology, we have no longer the control of what we have done to ourselves and for ourselves.

As time passed by its giving the reason to the different people that believe, that technology only has come to ruin the empathy of people with one and another. Now in days people prefer to use social media and mobiles than go out to the world and build some memories and experiences. This is also leading the parents to participated and behave as their children with the electronic devisers and social medias. This is happening because it’s the only way they found to communicate with their own children now at days. Adding more in today’s society people doesn’t gave themselves the opportunity of build and created new memories that it’s a really important part of our brain development. As it is stated in the book “Brain Rules” by John Medina emotions it’s a really important part of our memory development, we can remember and express empathy with others thanks to the different emotions that had during and specific moment. Technology has become the biggest reason of breaking apart relationships and families.






Word cited

Avila Gabriela. Personal interview. 01 of December 2015.

Diaz Reynaldo. Personal interview. 02 of November 2015.

Leopoldina Fortunati and Sakari Taipale. Women’s emotions toward the mobile phone. Feminist media studies. Academic search complete. Vol.12. 4 of November 2012. Web. 24 of November 2015.

Thomas Lin and Jonathan Huang. Connect your brain to the internet. Section D.  LexisNexis Academy. New York. The new york times. December 13,2011. Web. 07 of December 2015.

Video Games, Just a Pastime, or a True Medical Revelation? By Rolando Barredo

In this modern era, we entertain ourselves very differently than many years ago. Instead of physical activity, we use technology, such as video games in order to entertain ourselves. But during all the time that we play, what is going on in our brain? Is it benefiting or damaging our brain? Gaming is actually very good for our brains and our mental health. Playing video games induces brain plasticity, which is beneficial for mental health. Also, research has found that video game “training” is a good way to reduce the effects of autism. Lastly, playing video games augments cognitive function in the brain. During this written discussion, I will elaborate on the positive effects of video games on the brain, as well as any other arguments that can stem from these studies. Also, I will discuss how this can possibly change in the future, when new technology arrives on the scene.

Playing video games induces brain plasticity, which is beneficial for mental health. Onee belief people have is that playing video games is a waste of time, in which we don’t take away any benefits other than entertaining ourselves. Well, according to a study carried out in 2014, Super Mario induces brain plasticity, or in other words, playing Super Mario makes the brain more plastic.The article states that increasing plasticity of the brain can help “counteract known risk factors for mental disease.” (Kuhn, Page 1) How do we know that this is increasing brain plasticity? Well, the study showed that after the 2 month study period, gray matter in the brain increased in the cerebellum and the right hippocampus. This also leads us to the conclusion that the navigational skills needed to succeed in Super Mario directly correlated to the increased amount of gray matter in the brain. On another note, John Medina, in Brain Rules, discussed brain plasticity, and its importance to the wiring of the brain. Of course, since each person’s brain is wired differently, the results from the research done by Kuhn varies, and you shouldn’t expect to be immune to mental disorders.  If we can wire the brain better, that will lead to less risk of mental diseases. This evidence clearly shows how video games really benefit our brain.

Playing video games helps relieve the effects of mental disorders such as autism. Autism is defined as “A mental condition, present from early childhood, characterized by difficulty in communicating and forming relationships with other people and in using language and abstract concepts.” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary.) There are many treatment options that can alleviate the effects of ASD. A research done in the University of Freiburg in Germany suggests that  “non-violent video games with an engaging storytelling can prove to be beneficial in combating clinical disorders.” (Health Daily Digest) The article where this research is found also states that the storytelling in these video games help autistic children interact and reason with the video game, therefore helping them develop the section in their brain that lacks full function. With this in mind, the research done also states that this can help “other clinical disorders as well.” The engagement of an autistic brain is what benefits he person. According to another article in Health Daily Digest, playing video games and also boost an autistic child’s cognitive skill, as well as their use of social media. Why is more social media use key? Well, autism restricts interest in social skills, so this boost in social media use is also beneficial to them, stemming from video game play. Overall, a person that has a mental disorder, which is highly engaged with video game can see an improvement to their overall mental health.

Video game training increases cognitive function. Cognitive function is defined “as an intellectual process by which one becomes aware of, perceives, or comprehends ideas. It involves all aspects of perception, thinking, reasoning, and remembering.” Therefore, what we are trying to prove is that video games make you more alert. Well, in an interview with my mom, Tania, she states that she isn’t “One of those people that believes that video games are a waste of time.” I asked her if she has played video games recently, to which she has responded “Yes.” She plays on her cell phone. When I asked what effect she feels from frequently playing video games on her phone, she said that “It makes her feel more focused and attentive.” I was quite surprised at her answer, but according to an article on PLoS One, a well known public library of science, their research results suggest that in old human brains, the more a person trained in video games, the more of an improvement they see in “cognitive performance on attentional functions.” (Mayas, Page 1) Therefore, the way my mom feels isn’t a placebo effect, it is backed by research that has been recently done.

Well, despite all the research done to prove that video games are actually quite positive for the brain, there are other arguments that are quite valid. A renowned argument made against video games is that they make you lose focus, since the brain craves playing video games. This is quite valid, as with anything that can become addictive, it can have negative effects for the brain. I interviewed my friend Erick (15 years old), who plays video games as if it were for a living. I told him to be honest with his answers. When I asked him how much Call of Duty he plays a day, he responded by saying that “It’s from the moment I wake up till’ I feel sleepy. I do stop to eat though.” Clearly, he is a suitable candidate to discuss what negative effect video games have on his mental state. One question I had to ask him was “What do you feel like doing when you’re in school?” He said that he just “Wishes to get home and get on PSN. (Playstation Network) I just feel like I’ve gone through so much throughout the day that it helps relieve the stress from the day.” This is quite surprising, yet believable in this technological era we live in. Just like drug and alcohol addiction, video games are addictive, which can lead to negative re-wiring of the brain. One will become dependent of this “escape” and it can become harmful. This is an argument that other make in rebuttal to the good video games can do for the brain.

Well, video games a have an immensely positive effect on the brain. For example, it can reduce chances of mental disorder and also improve cognitive function. The evidence is clear and it is here for everyone to see. Gone are the days where the only thing we can say about video games is that it’s a pastime. The possibilities for the future of video games are endless. There are already games on ones phone that reduce brain aging, so the future is here. But what about other video games? Can there be video games of all genres that also have a positive effect on the brain? Well, it is most certainly possible. With the research we have now, more developments can be made which will revolutionize the entertainment and medical fields. We can create video games that are not only fun, but proven to be good for the brain. What can we do in the meantime, while we wait for the perfect video game? Well, go play some classic Super Mario, or any engaging video game, and rest assured that your brain will appreciate it.

Works Cited

Erick. Personal interview. 5 December 2015.

Kühn, S, et al. “Playing Super Mario Induces Structural Brain Plasticity: Gray Matter Changes Resulting From Training With A Commercial Video Game.” Molecular Psychiatry 19.2 (2014): 265-271. Academic Search Complete. Web. 8 Dec. 2015.

Mayas, Julia, et al. “Plasticity Of Attentional Functions In Older Adults After Non-Action Video Game Training: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” Plos ONE 9.3 (2014): 1-10. Academic Search Complete. Web. 8 Dec. 2015

Medina, John. Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School. Seattle, WA: Pear, 2008. Print.

Saha, Debatree. “TV and Video Games, Not Social Media, Keep Autistic Kids Engaged.”Health Daily Digest 16 Feb. 2012: n. pag. LexisNexis Academic [LexisNexis]. Web. 8 Dec. 2015.

Tania. Personal interview. 4 December 2015.

“Video Games Can Combat Autism: Study.” Health Daily Digest [London] 14 Apr. 2015: n. pag. LexisNexis Academic [LexisNexis]. Web. 8 Dec. 2015.

“The Universal Connection” more like “The Universal Addiction”

William Santiago


Since the dawn of man, we humans have developed a unique way in which we communicate with one another. With the progression of time, we have expanded to an immense degree the ways in which we communicate with one another. Thanks to the advancements of twenty-first century technology, we have taken communication to a whole other level. Through the use of internet social media websites such as  Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, we have been able to not only communicate with close relatives and/or friends, but we are able to communicate with many other people that are situated in different faces of the earth, whom come from various backgrounds. We also use different forms of media on the internet, such as YouTube being probably the biggest one, to make videos that can be seen by anybody in the world who has access to the internet. By mentioning these different means of social media, it can be sufficed that we’ve come a long way from just your mere dial up phone, or even using Pigeons to send letters. However, with having the ability to communicate with billions of people around the world, one can only wonder, what affect has social media had on mankind? Has social media become an addiction of some sort to us humans? With this essay, I will be describing my view on social media with the affect that it has had on us humans. Also, I will be using research done that shows some of the affects that social media has on us. Along with my own take on the matter.

When it comes to social media as a whole, you can see it almost as a “Universal Connection”. What I mean by this is that social media has enabled us the unique ability to communicate on a vast scale. This communication is so grand, that we can communicate with practically anyone, located on any face of the earth that has internet access in order to be on social media. This may sound all well and good, yet, what exactly does this vast communication entail? To use an example from someone who lived in an era that social media didn’t exist, I interviewed a female in her early 40’s. She did not want her information to be disclosed, so for the sake of explanation, we’ll call this lady Sally. According to the interview I had done with Sally, she said that “back then, the most we could do to get a message to somebody, would be by using the post office to send letters, or a regular house phone”. By this analogy, one can see that back then, it was a chore to send messages to desired people. Through the use of social media, we can now do this pretty much anywhere, at any time of the day, to whom ever we desire. On top of that, social media has found a way to bring us all closer.

With that being said, having access to associate ourselves with whomever we desire, at any given point in the day may sound all well and good. Yet, if you stop for a second, and really take some time to think about this, you will find that this can be a big distraction to an individual’s daily activities. According to a Newspaper outlet, “even in our downtime we are wired to be social, which may explain why so many of us head to media such as Facebook and Instagram in our spare time.” (Katie par.1) On top of that, it is also mentioned in this Newspaper outlet that “Melbourne psychologist Dr Ben Buchanan says some of his patients are spending up to eight hours a day on social media. “They are so fixated they forget to eat, and take social media with them to go to the bathroom,” Dr Buchanan says.” (Katie par.7) As you can see from even a professional stand point, social media, in some extreme cases, is addicting to some people. I also found it funny when the Dr said that they take social media with them to go to the bathroom. Reason why I say this is because from time to time, I find myself doing this same thing. I would have the urge to use a toilet, and unlike those in the movies whom you find with a newspaper article in their hands, with me, you would find a smartphone in my hands.

To digress a bit from seeing the internet as such a bad thing since it can become an addiction, some people see it no different than the real world. According to a journal “viewed through the lens of social interest, the online world is similar to the offline world. Online endeavors, organizations, communities, and comments can either fall along the continuum of being socially useful or socially useless.” ( Fleck Jesse and Leigh Johnson 142) With that being said, it’s as if although social media is a thing of the “cyber world” it’s just like socializing in the real world. On top of that, this journal further expands upon this by stating that “Given that continual expansion of the Internet and the myriad ways it connects, affects, and shapes the lives of people throughout the world, discussing the role of social interest in a virtual environment is as important now as when Adler first introduced the concept to a nonvirtual community in the early 20th century.” ( Fleck Jesse and Leigh Johnson 142) This pretty much means that social media, going back to what I had said previously, is what is bringing the whole world together as one. Yet, even though this is the case, this does not once so ever take away the fact that social media can be a serious addiction. With the constant desire to want to see your notifications, show off a new look, or get caught up on the latest medium, social media is like a drug that we just can’t stop using.

Having said that last statement brings me to a person I had interviewed whom previously suffered an addiction to social media. This person also didn’t want their information to be disclosed, so for the sakes of reference, we’ll call this person Roger. I asked Roger if he has ever experienced any addiction with social media. He responded “yeah”. I proceeded to ask, what form of social media was it that had you hooked? He replied “Facebook and YouTube.” I then asked, why exactly was it that you couldn’t detach yourself from it? Roger said that “every day after school, I felt drained. So I would go on Facebook and just scroll down my newsfeed and find mad funny videos. Then I would watch a bunch of video game youtubers play video games since they were funny.” So I asked him, how long would you stay on Facebook and watching videos on YouTube? He told me that “I don’t know to be honest. I would just go home, go on Facebook and watch YouTube videos until Dinner was ready, get my dinner, go back to my room and just keep using my Facebook and watching YouTube videos.” Since he wasn’t so sure about how long he would stay doing this, I asked at what time he went to bed during this point in his life. He told me “around 12 or 1.” By Roger saying all of this, you can see that being caught up on social media all the time can make you lose track of time. On top of that, with the entertainment aspect of it, social media can have you hooked for hours upon hours.

By the sounds of things you may now be considering social media as something of an addiction. Although social media is quite evidently addicting, it isn’t all that bad when used at moderation. Roger said to me that “what helped me out with getting over social media was disconnecting for a whole month.” Roger didn’t use Facebook, YouTube, or any other form of social media no matter how tempting it was, or how bored he might have been after school. Instead he decided to try and catch up on his homework to help boost his grades in school since he was slacking, and decided to start reading more books instead. Roger told me “now I just go on Facebook every so often, but I still love watching YouTube videos, but I watch it like how I watch TV.” By analyzing the efforts made by Roger, one may see the solution to getting over the addiction by simply disconnecting.

Although this may seem to be a “universal solution” to a “universal addiction”, for some people, they might be so hooked that this just may not be enough. For those whom are truly stuck under the influence of social media, I would recommend them to seek out a psychologist who could aid them by guiding them in the right direction. All in all, I personally believe that to every good thing can come some bad. With social media, there is far more to it than just it being an addiction. Social media has found a way to immerse itself into today’s society. Now a days, it’s very hard to find one person who doesn’t have any social media account, or doesn’t watch any kind of YouTube videos, or even things such as Vines, which is becoming popularized now. Social media is used by many as a gateway to entertainment. You may also find that, other people use it as a way to promote themselves and even start a business. As long as you don’t revolve your entire life around social media, and disconnect from time to time, I think you will be just fine.








Works Cited

Fleck, Jesse, and Leigh Johnson-Migalski. “The Impact Of Social Media On Personal And Professional Lives: An Adlerian Perspective. “Journal Of Individual Psychology71.2 (2015): 135-142. Academic Search Complete. Web. 1 Dec 2015

Katie, Cincotta “Hooked on Digital Highs” The age, 2 July 2015. LexisNexis. Web. 01 Dec. 2015

Roger. Personal Interview. 30 November 2015

Sally. Personal Interview. 25 November 2015

A Texter’s Mind: The Loss of Memory from Texting by Terris Greene


2,022. That is the average number of text messages sent by an American per month. The question to be asked based on this statistic, is how much of the information from those text messages is actually retained? Due to the simplicity of accessing our messages at any time, we as individuals are spending less time remembering what is said to us, knowing that the information is available to us to read. Based on an article from Bustle, statistics from Business Insider, and interviews conducted on people in different age groups, I will be able to show the negative effect that text, instant and other forms of threaded messaging systems have on our memory. I will also present some of the counter arguments that support how texting is beneficial to the way we remember things as well.

The way we communicate today has immensely evolved compared to the forms of communication available just over two decades ago, when the SMS message was commercially introduced on December 3rd, 1992. A month later, the first AOL instant message was sent by Ted Leonsis to his wife (Shontell p. 5). Since then new technologies, such as smartphones, tablets and laptops help push the software advances of instant messaging, emails and social networking. Concurring with the luxury of unlimited messages and networking data, the amount of information shared between individuals has come to be virtually infinite. Certain plans were not available in the early histories of most phone carriers, placing a price on individual SMS messages that were sent, making the usage of sending them less common. In fact, having a cell phone or personal computer in general during the 1990s was considered a luxury in itself. In today’s world they’re seen as a necessity, both for work and personal uses. Corporations use services like Facebook Messenger to send messages to others due to its convenience. The idea of a message that sends across the world faster than we can breathe is enticing. The concern however, is will this be just as beneficial to our memory in the long run, or will it lead to the deterioration of one of most precious functions of the human brain?

The youth will one day rule our world. This can be both an exhilarating and frightening statement. Majority of texting comes from those ages 12-25, in which the average American would send 357 messages per month, based on a Globe and Mail article. Students ages 11-14 were included in an experiment that tested those that do and do use cell phones. Those that used cell phones were “a lot faster on the tests, but significantly less accurate” (p. 5) and also made “more mistakes in tasks involving memory, attention span and learning” (p. 3). Our world moves at a swift place, and technology places a major impact on that. Those that text vigorously tend to usually move faster than those that text on occasions, but prove to be less accurate in things such as tests, speaking and proper writing. This is due to the effect of our memory not being engaged since we are most likely not allowed to use our phones in most situations, giving our brains the visual of a new and unfamiliar environment. Based on John Medina’s Brain Rules, memory is based on us being able to “reproduce the environment in which you first put it into your brain” (159).

John Medina, a molecular biologist who does most of his study on the brain and how its functions, wrote a book that shows the basic functions of brain and how our everyday activities affect such functions. In his book Brain Rules, he says that we must “repeat to remember” (125). Based on personal interviews that I have done with classmates and relatives, this statement isn’t always correct. When asked if text messages are usually kept and referred back to, majority of those that I had questioned said that they do in fact keep their messages and look back at them, which the exception saying that they do not keep their messages at all. One person in particular however, my girlfriend Thaleisha Walker, had said “I don’t usually remember what I had said in text messages beacause I can easily just go back to it and see what it says.” This proves that we are taking less time trying to retain the information gathered in our digital conversations due to the simplicity of going back to reference it. Another fact that goes along with this is majority of those I have interviewed do not read the full text message when referring back to, they just skim through it. This is a great connection to  Nicholas Carr’s The Shallows, in which he mentions that due to the advancement in technology, he finds himself and others reading a lot less and that we “fight to stay focused on long pieces of writing” (7). I also asked those that I had interviewed if they read Web articles in its entirety, or if they just skim through those as well for main points. Those that skim through messages when referring back to them were the same ones that skim through articles on the Internet as well, but they’re also the ones that tend to remember what they read in those articles less as well. They are also the ones that rather hear something be told to them than read it, saying that they remember things better when Its verbally stated to them. This is why Raveen McKay and Jerard D’Andrade, both in their early 30s, rather speak on the phone than text, being that when asked they said they only send about 3-5 messages daily.

While we tend to forget things due to our ability to just reads over messages, scientists are conducting experiments that will show the benefits that come along with it. As shown in an article by Psychology Press, SMS text messages are being used to help those with brain injuries acquire basic mental functions, the main two being attention and memory. “There is a sound evidence that mobile phones and text messages may be an effective means of supporting impaired memory function” (106). This experiment shows that participants revealed improvement in recalls for goals reminded by text messages. Also referring back to Medina and how we should “repeat to remember”, reading messages in its entirety to refresh ourselves of what was said would improve our long term memory overall. This will be a task for our rapidly moving society, considering that majority of people would rather skim through messages or just not refer back to them at all if it’s not needed to. Text messages are still works of writing, and just like any book, continuously seeing this information will be a positive action towards strengthening our long term memory.

Our memory is more than just a function of our brain; it’s our own child and should be cared for like as if it has a life of its own. Technology continues to advance as fast as we do as human beings, from the Internet to even simpler aspects like text messages. Within these advances, we should try our best to keep our elongation of our memory moving at the same pace of technology, trying to keep it in tact before we realize that we have taken for granted the one of the most important functions of the brain.

Works Cited

Barton, Adriana. “Texting may rewire young brains.” The Globe and Mail (Canada). (17 August 2009 Monday): 802 Words. LexisNexis Academic. Web. 25 Nov. 2015

Carr, Nicholas G. The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing t Our Brains. New York: W.W. Norton, 2010. Print

Culley, Campbell and Jonathan J. Evans. “SMS Text Messaging As A Means Of Increasing Recall Of Therapy Goals In Brain Injury Rehabilitation: A Single-Blind Within-Subjects Trial.” Neuropsychological Rehabilitation 20.1 (2010): 103-119. Academic Search Complete. Web. 25 Nov. 2015

D’Andrade, Jerard. Personal Interview. 7 December 2015

Greene, Twana. Personal Interview. 7 Dec. 2105

McKay, Raveen. Personal Interview. 29 Nov 2015

Medina, John. Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home and School. Seattle, WA: Pear Press, 2014. Print

Shontell, Alyson. “The First Ever Email, the First Tweet, and 10 Other Famous Internet Firsts.”        Yahoo Finance. Business Insider, 23 Apr. 2013. Web. 8 Dec. 2015

Walker, Thaleisha. Personal Interview. 1 Dec. 2015

“Social Media Hashtag Happy” By Darien Laurencin

The technology world we know now was easy to adapt to. Going to a Technical College was a goal since I was in the 6th grade, but as I transition into college I soon realize that the connection between technology and emotion is larger than what it seems, specifically social media. The advancement in social media from MySpace to more popular applications such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram has positively increased the emotional empathy for others. Emotional Empathy is the ability to have emotion such as sympathy or sadness for the situations of others and their problems. Because of this, social media have increased the notion of cyber bullying creating emotional empathy through the sight of someone getting cyber bullied. Another implication that provides the connection between emotional empathy and social media is when a dramatic event occurs. The 150 plus death toll in Paris that occurred resulted in over 6 million post on Instagram using the hash tag prayforparis to express emotional empathy. Whether a person watches news on television or not, because of this increase use of social media, a person is locked in on almost every event that happens. As people scroll down on their news feed, watching post or statuses, awareness starts with the emotional aspect of what a person is viewing. Knowing what emotion the thing you are viewing causes, determines its popularity. Emotional Empathy is not always a good thing depending on how a certain situation is, For example, if there is a conflict between two people and one person decides to express their emotions more on social media than the other person, even though they are right or wrong, the person who expresses their emotion more would have a better chance of emotional empathy from others thus bringing down the other person.


Cyber bullying has become a huge epidemic in the 21st century. The effects of cyber bullying can range from someone crying to committing suicide. Social Media has increase cyber bullying, but it has also help increase awareness of cyber bullying. Increased awareness of cyber bullying causes an increase in the emotional empathy of others. One article stated, “Cyber bullying in adolescence is gaining increased research attention because adolescents’ use of the Internet, in particular social networking sites (SNS), continues to increase rapidly. Cyber bullying victimization has been found to be associated with symptoms of social anxiety,” (Dredge, Rebecca, Gleeson, and Garcia 287). This statement by the article insinuates that because of the use of the Internet cyber bullying becomes a major problem in adolescents. In addition to adolescents’ connection with cyber bullying and social media, the emotion empathy of people from the cyber bullying of these adolescents has grown. Based on my own experience on social media such as Facebook, I have seen countless times views of people getting bullied by others online, but also have seen comments that were against the cyber bullying as you can see in the photo bellow. The first image shows a woman being victimized for having four kids at a young age. The “2015 car” represents the woman being young, and “200,000 miles” tried to imply that the woman was being very sexual active. The second photo showed people standing up against the hateful image. These comments exemplified how people are able to seek emotional empathy from other when being cyber bullied on social media.

Screenshot_2015-11-30-00-57-36-12015-12-04 15.56.47

Dramatic events occur everyday. Before social media grew, the primary resource of information was television or reading the newspaper. Now social media is the news for everything, from catching up on a new celebrity to a committed crime. Social Media has been the main watch for news for about two years. My father watches CNN and MSNBC all the time and every time I come home from college he notifies me on what he recently watched, but little did he know I have already knew what is the latest breaking news because of social media. This information ties to emotional empathy and social media because unlike the news programs on TV, social media doesn’t hide, or choose not to hide the more explicit content. This is because social media such as Facebook want to create more emotional empathy that televised news cannot or fail to create. In a recent interview with my farther Swithin Laurencin age 57, I asked him various questions on how he started using Facebook for the first time versus how he uses Facebook now. Swithin Laurencin said that, “ When I first used Facebook, I used it only to chat with my family from St. Lucia because it was free and easy, but as time went by and got better at using Facebook, now I see many stuff on my newsfeed that I do not see on TV. I see stuff like women getting abused, somebody getting shot, and one time a beheading of Spanish woman”(Laurencin 12). I then asked him, what news makes you more emotional, news on TV or news on Facebook? He simply stated, “ The news on Facebook of course” (Laurencin para.14.). As time went by I started to notice my dad more active on Facebook because social media captures a person emotional aspect more rather than a visual aspect that TV provides. Swithin Laurencin being age 57 exemplifies that not only the new generation about age 25 and under gain emotional empathy from what they see on Social Media, but people much older creating an increase in emotional empathy.

Although seeking for emotional empathy through social media is overall positive, there are some instances when emotion empathy can affect other negatively. During my experience on social media apps I tend to see relationships getting broken, and arguments through the use of post. One my best friends name Usman Alli he suffered from heartbreak not to long ago. I decided to interview him on the conflict between him and his former girlfriend, and how social media played a crucial room in the emotion empathy of others. My friend answered by saying, “I loved her, but she decided to put our business on Facebook, and portrayed me as villain on social media. She said on her statuses that I broke her heart by breaking up with her, and didn’t really care for her. That was not true, but because I didn’t want people to know our business I didn’t come back at her for saying these things, which made me seem like a bad guy to others on Facebook,”(Alli para.5.). While Usman did not try to seek emotional empathy from others, his former girlfriend did. All the status that his former girlfriend provided, she was able to get good and positive comments saying things like it, “You’re a strong girl,” “You don’t need that boy,” “ He doesn’t deserve you.” Does statuses help her self-confidence, but Usman got seen as a villain towards some of his peers. This type of emotional empathy on social media can be very dangerous, and would not resolve any issue. On the other hand someone did receive emotional empathy, boosting his or her self-esteem and confidence. According to an article about Facebook comments tying with emotion it was reveled that Facebook had more positive comment vs negative. The article said, “The researchers did not see the actual content of posts, as per Facebook’s data use policy. Instead, they counted only the occurrence of positive and negative words in more than 3 million posts with a total of 122 million words. They report that 4 million of those words were “positive” and 1.8 million were “negative,” (Varma para.5.). Even though there are people being seen as bad, the overall comments its emotional empathy is positive.

As I grow older and try to build a name for myself, I tend to be more active on Facebook. Whether I’m posting about my life or sharing something sad, I use emotional empathy from others to gain likes. In my opinion most people do not understand the power of emotion. Emotion is what separates humans from any other species. We seek sadness, laughter, joy, pain and hope. All these emotions are what give people either the will to live or the will to die. As a college student, I have to surround myself with positive vibes in order to be successful. Social Media created a separation of personalities of others, one person seems to be happy on Facebook, and then in reality they are hurting. One piece of information a reader should get out of this essay is that negativity will never prosper.

Work Cited

Alli, Usman. Personal Interview. 27 November 2015.

Dredge, Rebecca, John F. M. Gleeson, and Xochitl de la Piedad Garcia. “Risk Factors Associated With Impact Severity Of Cyberbullying Victimization: A Qualitative Study Of Adolescent Online Social Networking.” Cyberpsychology, Behavior & Social Networking 17.5 (2014): 287-291. Academic Search Complete. Web. 30 Nov. 2015.

Laurencin, Swithen. Personal Interview. 30 November 2015.

Varma, Subodh. “Emotions Sweep across Facebook Networks, Study Finds.” The Times of India, 15 June 2014. LexisNexis. Web. 04 Dec. 2015.



Digital images and Memory

Edinsson Peña

Professor Dr. Ellis



Digital images and Memory

Picture this!  “A picture can be worth 1000 words”, according ancient Chinese proverb. We humans depend on our memory through our life times. This means that pictures of events, scenery or moments are just as important as self portraits. Most people lack the ability to remember certain moments or events. Cameras have been around for while now. It would simply be expensive or time consuming to go to a dark room and reveal the photos that were taken. However, during 1975 Steven Sasson engineered the first digital camera and this began the digital era for cameras. Sasson invention was a game changer. This is because people can adjust to their local printing place and print their photos. In today’s society there has been controversies about electronic medians become a problem. A glance of this can be read in Nicholas Carr’s “The Shallows”. Carr discusses that way people interact with books or how they do research has changed. In the 21st century everything is digital, so research or reading a book has never been so efficient. Carr does a rebottle and describes the negatives effects of using the social media, doing research online and many other actives. I highly think digital images or photos are very useful. Nevertheless, images or pictures in general are beneficial to the human brain and this allows humans to have a better cognitive process of remembering. I will be discussing two valid points and counter argument to support the statements.  Images boost ability to comprehend a great deals of information within a glace as well as our memory , and the digital camera works as an affordance to our memory with images. Nerveless, some people think digital images can be used in malicious ways, but this does not mean the technology itself is horrible .

Digital images have a great effect on the human brain, this aids the brain to remember events or moments when any situation call for it. Human have an amazing mind; the brain can record a large amount of memories. However, as we age and acquire more memories, it becomes more difficult to be able to recall older memories. “In December, Mr. Reznick clicked through the slide show of his trip to the museum, more than 18 months after the event. His eyes flickered with recognition at a few of the images. When he came upon a picture annotated by his wife, showing bricks engraved with donor names, he nodded and said, ”I remember that.” “  (The New York Times).In other words, digital images are helpful to the brain and a result it our brain become efficient. Everyone loves the ability to recall events or moments that were very dear to us as individuals. In addition, the assertors of human were able to survive in primitive wild environments because they were to remember where to go for hunting and which was the safest path to go back home. This ability was essential for human evolution in general. I will share a personal anecdote to further prove my argument. When I was one years old, I got stranded in the amusement park called “Play land”. I was holding hands with my mother and I remember staring at the rides, and lights. After split second I found myself lost and worried. I started to brainstorm all the possible horrible outcomes that can happen to me. No, I had to remind focus on my goal. I began recalling where I came from and I started to hear a voice. Finally , I found my mother whom was screaming like desperately. “One person’s memory of an event can influence another person and can become part of that person’s memory report” (Gabbert, Memon, Allan, & Wright, 2004). In the other hand , since my mother was in this tragic event every time she see a poster of Playland she able to remember that day and now we share a common trigger for that memory. These special bonds we share with other people, we are able to have the same recorded event or moment with them. Digital images can trigger really instance emotions that can lead to remembering an event. For example a photo of your Ex boyfriend,  girlfriend ,wife or husband. You both share memories together, but you think is best for you to forget about the other person. Nevertheless, you manage to put those memories behind ,then you forgot to delete the last photo. This cause a person to feel mixed emotions and a great deal of flashbacks that can be pleasant or not. Cameras have come along way, now they have many other uses.  

The digital camera has made many affordances in today’s society that contributes to memory. “The concept was simple: sing digital pictures and audio to archive an experience like a weekend visit from the grandchildren, creating a summary of the resulting content by picking crucial images, and reviewing them periodically to awaken and strengthen the memory of the event” (The New York Times). This means that digital Cameras in addition to some software can really recreate an event that a person might have forgotten with rich vivid details. The advances in digital imagery, sound and video allows us to experience moments from others. Example, getting to know someone who is no longer alive or an event you did not take part in. In this case for me was the 9/11 tragedy. I was not in America when this event happened and at first I did not have clue of what it was. After coming to America and going to through their educational system, I was fortunate enough to watch a film on about that event.  Thanks to the film images of the aftermath, I now have a good idea of what would have been like be around the towers during that event. When you see the lives that were lost and the facial expressions of the people who experience this first hand, you can recall how horrible it was for them. Cameras get a lot more detail now, than before, since they upgrade to sensors in them there is more to think about. Taking a perfect shot involve calculations and there is science behind it. Furthermore, as a result our brain is focusing different tasks like making sure the light is well, that you have the right focus and that you are using the right equipment for that shot. After taking the shot, you have solid memory in your hand and you won’t forget that easily seeing that you took the shot. However, there are large quantity of people who have a different perspective about digital images.

There are arguments that illlustrate how digital images are bad and that they are not helpful at all. Everyone is different and the effects of digital images in our life can also differ. “Lazy fools! … People don’t know what to do with their free time, all they do is post photos in social media and others look at those photos for hours on their phones. In my opinion it’s a complete waste of time” – Morrobel. Some people think digital images can use with malicious purposes, but this does not mean the technology itself is terrible. “Two years ago, Mr. Reznick, who has early-stage Alzheimer’s disease and is now 82, signed up for an experiment intended to help people with Alzheimer’s and other memory disorders” (The New York Times). This Illustrates that Cameras and digital images can be used properly to aid people who suffer illness that affects their ability to recall events. This experiment proves that it depends on the individuals and their way they use this technology, since there is not a specific way of you using it. “They’re good to have memories that last a lifetime, as opposed to regular picture that decays over time” – Santiago.  Digital images and cameras are just a tools we can use as we please. Example, we use hammers for hammering nails, but it can also be weapon, we are the ones who give tools purpose.

Ultimately, we live in a digital era, where the internet is the number one medium to use for information. Digital images and cameras are creating memories for people everyday. Images are great way of communication. Digital images are beneficial to towards our learning and essential to the human brain. Yes, digital images can be of bad influence, but we can not allow a simple image with negativity affect us. Finally, a person need to give this technology a humble and good purpose because is a tremendous way of learning.

Work Cited 

  • BHATTACHARJEE, YUDHIJIT. “A Little Black Box to Jog Failing Memory.” The New York Times 9 Mar. 2010: 1.
  • Gabbert, F., Memon, A., Allan, K., & Wright, D. B. (2004). Say it to my face: Examining the effects of socially encountered misinformation. Legal and Criminological Psychology, 9, 215–227.
  • William Santigo. Personal interview. 4 December 2015.
  • Tomasa Morrebel. Personal interview.  1 December 2015.