Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Study could be used to counter high suicide rates

Facebook Emotional Contagion Study could be used to counter NZ high suicide rates

Should social media companies such as Facebook and Twitter be subject to moral obligations with regards to their customers' mental health? In the wake of the furore following the “Emotional Contagion” study carried out by Facebook themselves, the question must be asked. The merits of the study have been widely debated. Many thought the study overstepped the constraints of ethical research, while others considered it standard practice, and user beware applies. The results, however, have conrmed that Facebook could indeed act as a vector for mental well being or lack thereof. From a New Zealander’s perspective, with our disproportionately high youth suicide rates, this is something that should absolutely be explored if there is any potential to slow this alarming trend. Most people have experienced, at least in some mild form, a feeling of being left out when viewing friend’s social activities splashed across Facebook. I don’t need an emotional contagion study to inform me that people’s Facebook behaviour can affect my mood. I am interested however, in the rising awareness that social networks can act as a barometer for people’s emotional health. “Suicide threats on Social networks” describes this phenomenon. Facebook’s Data Scientist, Adam Kramer has been quoted as saying, “We care about the emotional impact of Facebook and the people that use our product. We felt that it was important to investigate the common worry that seeing friends post positive content leads to people feeling negative or left out. At the same time, we were concerned that exposure to friends’ negativity might lead people to avoid visiting Facebook.”

Facebook has already allowed data to be used for research in the area of predicting suicide with Middle East war veterans (The Durkheim Project). One account states that phase one experimental results have shown an ability to predict likeliness of suicide with correlations of 65 percent by analysing social media-related text. Perhaps if Facebook really does care about it’s users' emotional well being, they could take these results and their own, and provide some genuine assistance. Possibly in the form of onsite education in place of a tiny portion of some their advertising space. They could take it upon themselves to offer some medically approved advice to their users about how to pick up on the early indicators for people displaying high suicide risk or other psychological disorders. Or perhaps links to helplines with an eye-catching visual. Of course the degree to which you are affected emotionally does come down to the individual, and all the onus for monitoring mental health should be placed just on Facebook's shoulders. Self awareness and taking control of your social media life does not stop at the keyboard despite your perceived distance from your audience. If you are affected negatively by something you willingly take part in, then stop or at least modify. Block news feeds from recidivist show offs and/or reduce your friend list to only those you actually want to hear from. Simple but highly effective.

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Labour’s Policy Resurgence, And Alex Chilton

For much of this year, almost all the diversity in politics has been down at the retail end, where apparent differences reside in the tone, and in details. Up at the wholesale end – in the economic settings that drive the engine of politics – the story has been of convergence, exemplified by Labour and the Greens signing up to the Budget Responsibility Rules...

However, and only three months out from the election, there is finally some genuine good news. Twice this week, Labour has released policy that has well and truly gotten up the nose of the sort of lobby groups that it has spent most of 2017 trying to cultivate. More>>

 

Right In The Thiels: Just 12 Days In NZ Before Citizenship

DIA have received advice from the Ombudsman that a detail originally redacted from the citizenship file of Peter Thiel released in January for privacy reasons should be made available by 27 July. More>>

ALSO:

Domestic Violence And Teachers: Members’ Bills Ballot

The ballot was held, and resulted in the following bills being drawn:
54 Sentencing (Domestic Violence) Amendment Bill - Hon Nanaia Mahuta
16 Education (Teaching Council of Aotearoa) Amendment Bill - Chris Hipkins More>>

ALSO:

Legislation: Point England Housing Bill Passed

The passage of the Point England Development Enabling Bill through Parliament this evening will benefit Auckland with additional housing, help resolve Ngāti Paoa’s Treaty claim and improve the local environment and recreation facilities, Building and Construction Minister Dr Nick Smith says. More>>

ALSO:

Cyberducation: Digital Curriculum Launch And Funding Package

Consultation on new digital technologies content for the New Zealand Curriculum and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa, the Māori-medium Curriculum, was launched today by Education Minister Nikki Kaye. More>>

ALSO:

PM's Press Conference: Red Socks And Secret Tapes

Prime Minister Bill English began his post-cabinet press conference by explaining how well the National Party's annual conference went. He also mentioned today's announcement of changes to the EQC disaster insurance legislation and wished Emirates Team New Zealand well in the America's Cup. More>>

Max Rashbrooke: On How To Make Government More Open

International surveys, while often complimentary, have also pinpointed major weaknesses: political donations are badly regulated, for instance, and appointments to government boards frequently go to those with strong political connections. More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election
 
 
 
  • PublicAddress
  • Pundit
  • Kiwiblog