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GREG HARTON: The pitfalls of relying on social media – Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

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I was intrigued a couple of weeks back when the University of Arkansas released information on research by Dr. Brian Primack showing increased use of social media among young adults is significantly more likely to lead to depression within six months.

According to the university, his work is the first large, national study to show a link between social media use and depression over time. It’s set to be published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine in early 2021.

Primack is the dean of the UA College of Education and Health Professions.

It has been a long time since anyone viewed me as a young adult, but I can understand entirely why social media use and depression might be linked.

Take, for instance, my harmless search for information a few months ago about recreational vehicles.

The limiting effect of the covid-19 pandemic has spurred widespread interest in travel trailers, motor homes, truck campers and other modes of hitting the road with, literally, the kitchen sink and most anything else one needs to live while traveling. Sales and rentals have skyrocketed. And I’m as big a sucker as anyone for those dreams of seeing the nation by embracing the more nomadic side of the human spirit.

I don’t know that I’ll ever get one, but being cooped up at home makes breaking out on the open road seem pretty attractive. Or even just a weekend at Beaver Lake or Lake Ouachita.

Still, by searching the Internet for RV information, I’ve turned my social media feeds into the equivalent of the serpent offering Eve a bite of a piece of fruit. I’m the proverbial horse being led to the water again and again. And every message titillates with the wonders of RV travel that I’m obviously missing out on unless I join in.

The Internet is an envy machine, a feel-good drug while you’re using it, but it can make you feel like you’re missing out if you don’t have the latest RV or boat, or if you’re not taking the cool vacation you see another family taking.

Social media, whether Facebook or Pinterest or Instagram, tends to present a glossy image of people’s happiest times. It’s fun to stay in touch, but the effect can also be to plant seeds of discontent, questions as to why my life isn’t as perfect as what I see of other people’s lives through social media. What am I doing wrong? Don’t I deserve the same kind of flawless life I’m seeing?

The truth is, life isn’t always easy, fun or trouble free. Nobody’s life is fully represented by what they’re willing to put on social media. Few people highlight their financial problems or their marital struggles or their dissatisfaction with their work.

I’m not expecting people to do that, but it’s important as social media users to remember we’re mostly getting the surface look at people’s lives — essentially, all the good stuff. The trouble comes when we fall into the trap of making comparisons about what we know of our own complex lives with the cleaned-up examples of other people’s lives presented through social media.

Is it any wonder such tools, designed technologically to figure out our wants and needs and then to feed us images that might turn our emotional responses into spending, might have a corrosive effect on our mental health over time?

I doubt research findings suggest we swear off modern technology. It seems to me it suggests we need to be mindful that social media is not necessarily reality and our best approach to life is to steer clear of comparisons.

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Opposition leader urges UN to halt Belarus media crackdown – 570 News

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CAMEROON, Cameroon — The main opposition challenger in Belarus’ disputed presidential election urged the United Nations on Friday to call for a halt to “violence and lawlessness” in the country, including media censorship, internet shutdowns, website blockages and cancellation of accreditation for journalists.

Former presidential candidate Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya told an informal meeting of the U.N. Security Council that since September the situation in her nation “has only worsened” and the media remain under assault from President Alexander Lukashenko’s regime.

Mass protests have gripped Belarus, a former Soviet nation of 9.5 million people, since official results from the Aug. 9 presidential election gave Lukashenko a landslide victory over Tsikhanouskaya. She and her supporters refused to recognize the result, saying the vote was riddled with fraud.

Authorities have cracked down on the largely peaceful demonstrations, the biggest of which attracted up to 200,000 people. Police have used stun grenades, tear gas and truncheons to disperse the rallies, and thousands of people have been beaten. Nevertheless, the protests have continued.

According to the Belarusian Association of Journalists, in 2020 independent journalists were detained over 470 times, 97 served administrative arrests, 50 media websites were blocked, and 15 journalists are currently facing “false criminal charges,” Tsikhanouskaya said.

But the former English language teacher said the assault on the media “is just part of the bigger picture of repression in Belarus,” where she said more than 32,000 people have been detained and about 900 are suspects in politically motivated criminal cases. She said the U.N. has reported 400 cases of torture and eight activists have died “in relation to state-backed violence.”

“Not a single government official has been held responsible,” she said.

“In spite of this violence, Belarusians continue protesting every day,” Tsikhanouskaya said. “This demonstrates courage, dignity and resilience.”

Among journalists under arrest are four members of the Belarus Press Club, including its founder, Yuliya Slutskaya; Ihar Losik, administrator of the most popular social media channel in the country who has been on hunger strike for over a month; and three female journalists imprisoned on charges of organizing mass protests and disclosing information about a protester, Roman Bandarenka, who was “killed by the regime’s cronies,” Tsikhanouskaya said.

She said her husband, prominent video blogger Siarhei Tsikhanouski, “is charged with organizing mass protests but his guilt is telling the truth and running for president.” She said she and their two children haven’t seen him for almost eight months.

Tsikhanouskaya became a presidential candidate after her husband’s arrest on May 29, and she fled to neighbouring Lithuania after the election in fear of repercussions.

Pavel Latushka, a member of the Belarus opposition’s Coordination Council, highlighted examples of “the essential role of independent media that show the abuses perpetrated by the Lukashenko regime.” Several journalists spoke of their ordeals and their colleagues’ courageous reporting.

Tsikhanouskaya said the U.N. should “take a vocal stand to stop the violence and lawlessness in Belarus,” including against the media, and she called on the Security Council to put Belarus on its agenda — a move strongly opposed by council member Russia, which is Belarus’ neighbour and ally.

The virtual council meeting was organized by Estonia and co-sponsored by France, Ireland, Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu expressed alarm that “representatives of free media — journalists, cameramen, bloggers — have been turned into a target for the government’s repression along with the protesters.”

Russia’s deputy U.N. ambassador, Dmitry Polyansky, called the meeting “a clear provocation and a blatant attempt of interference into internal affairs of a sovereign state.”

He said claims where a losing side doesn’t accept election results and claims they were “fraudulent” and “rigged” aren’t rare. He pointed Donald Trump’s refusal to concede that he lost the U.S. presidential election to Joe Biden while claiming widespread election fraud.

Polyansky said there are further similarities between the United States and Belarus.

“The losing side instigates popular protest,” he said. “But there is a big difference in how these cases are presented by the Western media.”

“Whereas actions here (in the United States) are characterized as criminal, the actions of Belarusian opposition are being praised and its appeals are supported with sanctions while self-proclaimed leaders are being presented as legitimate leaders of the country `a la (Juan) Guaidó’” in Venezuela, Polyansky said.

Edith M. Lederer, The Associated Press

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InvestorChannel's Media Watchlist Update for Friday, January, 22, 2021, 18:04 EST – InvestorIntel

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InvestorChannel’s Media Stocks Watchlist Update video includes the Top 5 Performers of the Day, and a performance review of the companies InvestorChannel is following in the sector.
Sources Include: Yahoo Finance, AlphaVantage FinnHub & CSE.
For more information, visit us at InvestorIntel.com or email us at info@investorintel.com

Watchlist Companies:
– Media Central Corp Inc (FLYY.CN) 0.02 (33.33%)n- QYOU Media Inc (QYOU.V) CAD 0.21 (24.24%)n- Moovly Media Inc (MVY.V) CAD 0.14 (16.67%)n- WOW! Unlimited Media Inc (WOW.V) CAD 0.51 (2.00%)n- HubSpot Inc (HUBS) USD 393.48 (1.21%)n- MediaValet Inc (MVP.V) CAD 2.82 (1.08%)n- Stingray Group Inc (RAY-A.TO) CAD 7.66 (0.92%)n- Corus Entertainment Inc. (CJR-B.TO) CAD 4.95 (0.61%)n- Slack Technologies Inc (WORK) USD 42.65 (0.54%)n- Wix.com Ltd (WIX) USD 249.49 (0.23%)n- Zoom Video Communications Inc (ZM) USD 383.40 (0.15%)n- Adobe Inc. (ADBE) USD 472.44 (0.09%)n- Postmedia Network Canada Corp (PNC-A.TO) CAD 1.55 (0.00%)n- Quizam Media Corp (QQ.CN) 0.37 (0.00%)n- Lingo Media Corp (LM.V) CAD 0.08 (0.00%)n- Glacier Media Inc. (GVC.TO) CAD 0.35 (0.00%)n- ZoomerMedia Limited (ZUM.V) CAD 0.11 (0.00%)n- Thunderbird Entertainment Group Inc (TBRD.V) CAD 2.95 (-1.01%)n- Network Media Group Inc (NTE.V) CAD 0.17 (-2.94%)n- GVIC Communications Corp. (GCT.TO) CAD 0.29 (-17.14%)n

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Montreal boy on autism spectrum becomes, briefly, a social media star – CTV News Montreal

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MONTREAL —
For most autistic kids, it hasn’t been an easy year. But for one boy at a Montreal special-needs school, it’s at least been a great week, after he took the Internet by storm.

If you were to ask his mother, seven-year-old Billy Katsabanis likes to be on camera.

“He feels famous from like a long time ago,” his mother, Stella Tzintzis, told CTV News while laughing. Katsabanis is on the autism spectrum, and is a student at Giant Steps, an elementary school for children who have autism.

Recently Katsabanis got his wish, becoming a social media sensation.

“It all started when he won the crew neck (sweatshirt) from the No Better You Foundation,” Tzintzis said. The charity was founded by Montreal special needs teacher and former contestant on ‘The Bachelor,’ Vanessa Grimaldi, who mentioned Katsabanis on her social platforms. She has 710,000 Instagram followers, so that got Katsabanis mots of attention.

“And then the love came pouring in — for over 100,000, close to 200,000 views,” Tzintzis said. One of the well-wishers who reached out to Katsabanis was comedian Howie Mandel.

“We know Vanessa,” said the school’s director general, Thomas Henderson, pointing out that Grimaldi has done a lot of work raising funds for special needs children over the years. “But for Howie Mandel to get involved is pretty special.”

It also thrust the school into the spotlight at a time when — like seemingly every institution — it has to adjust to life with the pandemic. For instance, the school had to repurpose its sensory room to another classroom because of distancing rules. A sensory room is a quiet and interactive space often used to stimulate children on the autism spectrum

“It’s definitely a hole in our school the children really miss it,” said Belinda Solomon, a teacher at Giant Steps. She said she hopes the school can reopen the sensory room next year.

For the time being, Katsabanis is basking in his fame as a social media influencer.

“Everybody is just feeling what our family was going through and encouraging and saying bravo,” Tzintzis said.

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