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Special Issue "Fear of a Digital Planet: Exploring the Anxieties of Computer-Mediated Cultures"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Digital Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 June 2022 | Viewed by 6150

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Jimmie Manning
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Communication, School of Social Research & Justice Studies, University of Nevada, Reno, NV 89557, USA
Interests: family communication; health communication; interpersonal communication; popular culture; qualitative inquiry; relational communication; sexual communication; sexual identities; social media

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health seeks articles and reviews for a Special Issue examining the many topics that lend themselves to ongoing anxieties about a predominantly digital, computer-mediated culture. Articles will be accepted now through 31 July 2021 and published online as part of the Special Issue as they are accepted.

This Special Issue will celebrate methodological and theoretical plurality, with the primary goal being to publish an excellent collection of research and theory that advances thinking about topics related to the dark side of computer-mediated communication and digital engagement.

To that end, the editor will accept manuscripts featuring scientific and social scientific research using quantitative and/or qualitative research methods; critique-oriented methods such as rhetorical, cultural, or media criticism; and scholarship that is highly creative, especially as it advances theory. The goal is to feature not only scholarship that generates empirical findings but also work that advances thinking regarding the benefits and threats that social media and other forms of digitally-mediated communication create for individuals, relationships, organizations, and cultures.

Contributions from all disciplinary backgrounds are welcome, including from scholars in disciplines such as public health, psychology, communication studies, sociology, gender and sexuality studies, anthropology, computer science, information studies, medicine, environmental studies, journalism and media studies, business, management and professional studies, counseling, nursing, race/ethnic studies, economics, and political science, among others.

Possible topics or directions for the Special Issue can include the following:

  • Health issues: social media impact on brain and behavior, sleep issues, connections between social media and lack of physical activity, health misinformation online, overreliance on technology in healthcare, social media links to suicide and body shame, etc.
  • Social media impact on mental health: addiction, sadness, lowered sense of wellbeing, unhealthy comparison to others, jealousy, fear of missing out, lack of work–life balance, etc.
  • Problematic relational behaviors: ghosting, catfishing, sexting, bullying, ignoring friends or family in favor of digital devices, etc.
  • Sexual aspects of digital media: pornography, sex trafficking, consent, sexual desensitization, etc.
  • Privacy issues: exposure of private information or images, corporate ownership of personal data, employer rules/expectations for social media use and behaviors, pressure to put personal information online, etc.
  • Threats to democracy: economic impacts on communities and cultures, fake news, disinformation, conflict, lack of paper trails, digital erasure, social media as political tool, etc.
  • Issues of literacy, access, and development: digital divides, increased expectations regarding computer devices for school or work, digital devices as social status, interaction with artificial intelligence, online hoaxes, phishing, etc.
  • Theoretical approaches: scholarly responses to films such as The Social Dilemma or The Social Network or cultural criticism of laws, policies, events, actions, and/or prominent figures or organizations
  • Original theorizing about social media, especially essays that encourage nuance and balance when it comes to conceptualizing social media as bad or good, healthy or unhealthy.

Prof. Dr. Jimmie Manning
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2500 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • techno-anxiety
  • techno-addiction
  • techno-strain
  • misinformation and disinformation
  • democracy
  • relationships
  • mental health
  • privacy
  • social media literacy
  • health informatics
  • online interaction
  • computer-mediated communication

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

Article
Exploring the Negative and Gap-Widening Effects of EdTech on Young Children’s Learning Achievement: Evidence from a Longitudinal Dataset of Children in American K–3 Classrooms
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(9), 5430; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19095430 - 29 Apr 2022
Viewed by 337
Abstract
Introducing educational technology (EdTech) into school classrooms constitutes one of the strongest educational reforms of recent decades worldwide, and as a discursive or ideological background of it, there has been the optimistic consensus on the use of EdTech among the global education community. [...] Read more.
Introducing educational technology (EdTech) into school classrooms constitutes one of the strongest educational reforms of recent decades worldwide, and as a discursive or ideological background of it, there has been the optimistic consensus on the use of EdTech among the global education community. In this context, this study highlights the dark side of EdTech and provides an opportunity for critical self-reflection of its current use through a series of quantitative analyses on a longitudinal dataset of children in K–3 American classrooms collected during the first half of the 2010s (ECLS-K:2011). In this process, two adverse effects of EdTech on young children’s learning achievement are identified: the negative effect and the gap-widening effect. These findings convey the crucial message that the education community’s approaches to EdTech should be more prudent than the current optimistic consensus. These findings do not lead us to any extreme or rigid conclusion such as techno-determinism or neo-Luddism, but rather call for a balanced and realistic deliberation on the benefits and risks of technology. This point is particularly worth clarifying in the recent situation, where schools’ dependence on EdTech has inevitably increased in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Full article
Article
Narcissism and Social Media: The Role of Communal Narcissism
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(19), 10106; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph181910106 - 26 Sep 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1634
Abstract
Agentic narcissism and vulnerable narcissism have been widely studied in relation to social media use. However, with research on communal narcissism in its early stages, the current study examines communal narcissism in relation to social media use. Specifically, the current study investigates whether [...] Read more.
Agentic narcissism and vulnerable narcissism have been widely studied in relation to social media use. However, with research on communal narcissism in its early stages, the current study examines communal narcissism in relation to social media use. Specifically, the current study investigates whether communal narcissism is related to use and frequency of use of the popular social networking sites Instagram, Reddit and Twitter, and if communal narcissism relates to the importance of receiving feedback and to the quality-rating of self-presented content on those platforms. A total of 334 individuals were recruited from Amazon Mechanical Turk, with two-thirds being male (66.7%). A regression analysis showed that communal narcissism was related to increased use of Instagram and Twitter but not Reddit. Sharing content, the importance of feedback and better than average ratings had positive associations with communal narcissism. The relationship between communal narcissism and sharing on social media was fully mediated by wanting validation on social media and higher ratings of self-presented content. Communal narcissism had a notably strong relationship with wanting validation on all platforms and our results suggest that communal narcissism might be especially relevant in the context of social media use. Full article
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Article
Phubbing and Social Intelligence: Role-Playing Experiment on Bystander Inaccessibility
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(19), 10035; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph181910035 - 24 Sep 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1057
Abstract
Smartphone use has changed patterns of online and offline interaction. Phubbing (i.e., looking at one’s phone instead of paying attention to others) is an increasingly recognized phenomenon in offline interaction. We examined whether people who phub are more likely to have lower social [...] Read more.
Smartphone use has changed patterns of online and offline interaction. Phubbing (i.e., looking at one’s phone instead of paying attention to others) is an increasingly recognized phenomenon in offline interaction. We examined whether people who phub are more likely to have lower social intelligence, whether phubbing is considered more annoying than being ignored due to reading a magazine, and if people describe smartphones and magazines differently as sources of social distraction. We collected two survey samples (N = 112, N = 108) for a cartoon-based role-playing experiment (the Bystander Inaccessibility Experiment) in which a smartphone user and a person reading a magazine ignored the respondents’ conversational initiatives. Annoyance in each scenario was measured, and written accounts were collected on why the respondents rated the scenarios the way they did. Other measures used included the Generic Scale of Phubbing, Generic Scale of Being Phubbed, and Tromsø Social Intelligence Scale. The results showed that participants in both samples were more annoyed by phubbing than by being ignored due to reading a magazine. Linear regression analyses showed that phubbing was associated with lower social intelligence, even after adjusting for confounding factors. The annoyingness of phubbing was explained with negative attitudes toward smartphones, which were assumed to be used for useless endeavors, while magazines were more appreciated and seen as more cultivating. The role of bystanders’ epistemic access to the smartphone user’s activities is discussed. Full article
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Article
Adverse Childhood Experiences and Problematic Media Use: Perceptions of Caregivers of High-Risk Youth
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(13), 6725; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18136725 - 22 Jun 2021
Viewed by 786
Abstract
Youth with a history of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are more likely to develop risky health behaviors. With the increase of media use in the general population, it is likely that these high-risk youth are developing maladaptive behaviors associated with media use (i.e., [...] Read more.
Youth with a history of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are more likely to develop risky health behaviors. With the increase of media use in the general population, it is likely that these high-risk youth are developing maladaptive behaviors associated with media use (i.e., problematic media use). The goals of this article are (1) to describe symptoms of problematic media use in high-risk youth and (2) to determine whether ACEs are related to problematic media use in this population. Data were collected through online questionnaires from 348 parents or legal guardians of children ages 5 to 18 years, the majority of whom had been adopted. Parents and guardians reported on the child’s history of ACEs and completed the Problematic Media Use Measure-Short Form (PMUM-SF). Almost half of the participants reported that their child had a history of four or more ACEs (48.9%). Caregivers of foster or adopted children reported more symptoms of problematic media use than those reporting on their biological children. After adjusting for covariates, the number of ACEs predicted problematic media use above and beyond variance explained by demographic factors or screen time amount. Children with a history of ACEs had higher problematic media use compared to children without ACEs. Full article
Article
Haters Gonna Hate, Trolls Gonna Troll: The Personality Profile of a Facebook Troll
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(11), 5722; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18115722 - 26 May 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1613
Abstract
Personality factors, such as the Dark Tetrad personality factors (Machiavellianism, narcissism and sadism) relate to greater online trolling. Other personality factors, such as the Big Five Personality factors, honesty–humility and negative social potency, may also play a role in cyberbullying, which is an [...] Read more.
Personality factors, such as the Dark Tetrad personality factors (Machiavellianism, narcissism and sadism) relate to greater online trolling. Other personality factors, such as the Big Five Personality factors, honesty–humility and negative social potency, may also play a role in cyberbullying, which is an aggressive behavior similar to trolling. The purpose of this study was to predict Facebook trolling behavior based on personality factors. A total of 139 participants completed a survey on their online behavior and personality factors. Online trolling behavior positively correlated with sadism, psychopathy and Machiavellianism, and negatively correlated with agreeableness, conscientiousness and honesty–humility. A hierarchical linear regression showed that sadism, Machiavellianism and negative social potency were the only unique predictors of online trolling behavior. Trolling was unrelated to the frequency of Facebook use and the frequency of commenting. Enjoyment of trolling fully mediated the relationship between Machiavellianism and the trolling behavior. The results thus suggested that Facebook trolling behaviors may be motivated by enjoying the manipulation of others. Full article

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Personal Social Media Content, Organizational Online Surveillance, and the Job Search: Differences in College Student Beliefs and Reports of Hiring Professionals
Authors: Jimmie Manning; et al.
Affiliation: Department of Communication, School of Social Research & Justice Studies, University of Nevada, Reno, NV 89557, United States
Abstract: This study examines interpretive qualitative analysis of data from 67 U.S. college students in comparison to separate analysis derived from data collected from 13 interviews with U.S. human resources professionals. Typology development, completed in conjunction with an interpersonal panopticism theoretical framework, indicates how several attitudes of young adults who are graduating college compare and contrast with the views of college professionals. Discussion examines practical advice for both those on the job market and employers as well as general online surveillance behavior.

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