The New Digital Divide Surrounding Me

The digital divide is no new concept to me. By now, I have heard about it in quite a few of my classes and have written about it enough to know my way around a conversation. What I didn’t know is how many different levels the overall “digital divide” really has and how each one of them touches my life in some way. Naturally, after talking about it so much in my school life I became more cognizant of this idea in my everyday life and it’s really not just who has the device and who doesn’t.

In my February post about digital access and ability, I talked about the quote from Jewish philosopher Maimonides. “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” My Nana and Papa are in their mid-80s but my family doesn’t seem them very much because they live in Canada. My mother recently bought them an iPad so they can facetime and skype us and the rest of the family whenever they want. But literally, the only thing they use the iPad for is that. Giving them a fish and feeding them for the day kind of stuff if you ask me, but also one of the dimensions of the five levels DiMaggio and Hargittai were talking about when they claimed that the digital divide had five different layers. The “skill” layer where it is decided if the person is able to use the device in an effective manner.

In this kind of solo-use of technology, there is also the notion of the “second level” digital divide that can be explained as the people who have access to the device are not as technologically inclined as the ones around them. In the 2010 Journal of Information Tech & Politics article, Seong-Jae Min brought up the fact that we are now changing from that tier one divide of access to now the tier two divide of ability. Now my mom, the one who bought them the iPad, is only slightly better than them on this tiered list. Making the net of the digital divide one that people can’t seem to escape.

Old, young, smart, tall, short, educated or not the digital divide… I can almost guarantee… will touch your life just like it has touched mine.


Digital Media & Technologies Policy Recommendation: A PSA Campaign

Who/ What/ Why? 

Kendra Gill, Emmitt Lewis, Eric Sinks, and Ethan Fogle. This project called for four pretend Common Sense Media ‘researchers’ to look into the effects of digital media use and eventually come to make a policy recommendation for users and future users to come. Over the course of this semester, this is what we have come up with.

Overview of the problem:

Although digital media use has improved may aspects of citizen’s lives, too much of one thing is never good and digital media should be included in that statement. Overusing digital media technology impacts the social relationships we have with our family and friends once we start prioritizing screen-time over face-to-face interaction. As children are growing up in this electronic age, where this media is almost everywhere they look, and this is impacting their development and overall life outcomes.

Policy recommendation:

More knowledge should be put into people’s ear and flashed before their eyes about the harm that too much can do, but also how to make this advanced technology a tool for everyday life and not just an outlet when you’re bored or upset. For the ones that already have digital media flooding their lives, it is up to you to show the next generation how to effectively and beneficially use the digital media that we have been given. If taught to use technology and digital media as a tool for learning and furthering one’s goals, they will continue to grow and use these electronics for the better and not just for entertainment value.  

A PSA campaign about the effects, both positive and negative, of digital media use should be put into the radio wave, on television screens, and everywhere online. Our hope is that a PSA campaign will get the information out there to people that digital media should be used as a tool rather than mindless consumption. And that too much digital media consumption has serious effects on friends, families, children, and communities. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) put out a Media Use Plan along with the “Media and Young Minds” policy statement and the “Media Use in School-Aged Children and Adolescents” secondary policy statement that address the use of digital media and calls for action from pediatricians, families and government organizations. Reinforcing this information from the policy statements above and giving it to the public through a PSA will hit home that this is a real issue in today’s society that can be improved.

Policy Analysis:

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) put out one of the first aids in helping families get on the right track with their media use. was launched in October of 2016 and is a tool for parents to monitor what their children are doing throughout the day and how much time is spent in front of a screen. This is not only a tool for the children but also the parents because after all these children are learning from how their parents are using these digital technologies.

This is Dr. David Hill, Chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Communications and Media, talking about the Family Media Use Plan…

Along with this Media Use Plan came the “Media and Young Minds,” policy statement. Led by Jenny Radesky, MD, who has made a life commitment to researching learning and advocacy for children, the council on communication and media really focuses on the parent being the “media mentor.” Rather than just giving children a device, sit with them and teach them how to use it in a constructive way that will benefit them and not just simply entertain all the time. Radesky appeared on the AAP Media Panel Discussion on Children and Media in 2016 and said that, “Literature continues to show that too much media in early childhood is associated with behavioral, developmental, sleep and obesity outcomes that can be prevented.” Although there are many different factors that come into play when talking about children’s developmental outcomes there should always be a time in their day to let their own creativity and brain activity take the lead. Introducing media at a young age, even as young as 18 months, will allow children to grow up with accurate demonstrations of digital media literacy and will provide them with the right knowledge to continue to use these medias in a positive way. This policy calls out pediatricians to start the conversation early with the parents of their families. It also calls on these families to avoid media use with children that are younger than 18 months and to limit and monitor technology time throughout the day for ones that are over a year. Finally, it gives some responsibility to the industry to make sure that the products they are creating are age-appropriate and that they are formally and scientifically evaluated before being deemed educational.

When age starts increasing and adolescents start to make their own decisions about the consumption of digital media, recommendations change understandably. Media use is highly personalized and interwoven into the lives of these children today and so too should the guidelines for digital media use. Megan Moreno, MD, who also appeared on the AAP Media Panel Discussion on Children and Media was the lead author of the second policy statement issued by the AAP. “Media Use in School-Aged Children and Adolescents,” focuses on children and teenagers from the age of 5-18. This policy statement is built off of the past ten years of evidence that show digital media negatively affecting sleep, obesity along with school and academic outcomes. These recommendations again call on the pediatricians to promote the understanding of the benefits and the risks of digital media use. They touch on the family’s role to continue to monitor screen time using the family Media Use Plan while engaging in co-viewing media with the child. Lastly, it calls on the researchers, governmental organizations and the industry to continue with their research while prioritizing longitudinal and robust study designs and interventions including the reduction of harmful media use and preventing/addressing harmful media experiences for these children and teenagers.

Children and development:

Digital media can be seen as a huge tool when it comes to early childhood learning, but that doesn’t mean setting a child in front of a television is the answer. Too much interaction with digital media is seen to have more negative effects than positive on children under a certain age. Once those children get to an age where they are able to understand the content and context in which the information is being given then it has the ability to have an effect on their overall individual development.

In 1999 the American Academy of Pediatrics put out reports that said too much screen time has more negative effects on children than positive and although there was no evidence to back up those claims at that time, the evidence is being discovered in today’s research. According to the AAP, in 2007, 75 percent of children were watching television and 32 percent were watching videos/DVDs for around an hour and twenty minutes, on average. While this same research showed 27 percent of five to six-year-olds were using a computer for at least 50 minutes a day. This study was one of the first to show comprehensive information on the overall extent of digital media use in young children living in America. But it was also the first to have a call for more research on the developmental impact of these media.

The urge to set children in front of a tablet or television screen these days is huge and is seen at home, in the car and even at the grocery store. Although this seems to be the societal norm, this is not the way children should be learning. In a 2011 AAP survey, it showed that 90 percent of children under the age of two watches some form of digital media and these young children watch television for around one to two hours per day. “The concerns raised in the original policy statement are even more relevant now, which led us to develop a more comprehensive piece of guidance around this age group,” said Dr. Brown, a member of the AAP Council on Communications and Media.

Some of the key findings in the AAP 2011 study of two-year-old children and the effects of digital media exposure include: Unstructured playtime is important, children learn best from human interaction, children learn more from live presentations than televised ones, television viewing before bed can cause poor sleep habits, and heavy media use can cause language delays once in school. This report said that young children need free play time where it is completely up to them as to what their brain sees, does and acts. This is beneficial for brain development, more so than electronic media because children learn to creatively think, develop reasoning and problem solve through this unplugged play. According to Dr. Brown, “In today’s ‘achievement culture,’ the best thing you can do for your young child is to give her a chance to have unstructured play, both with you and independently. Children need this in order to figure out how the world works.”

Dr. Aric Sigman, a British psychologist, surveyed 30 scientific papers on television and computer screen viewing. Dr. Sigman, who is an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society and a Member of the Institute of Biology, found evidence that too much television causes short-sightedness, disrupts hormonal balance and leads to increased risk of cancer and premature puberty. This screen time also slows down the metabolism which is linked to increase in obesity and type 2 diabetes. Dr. Sigman’s advice is there should be no television for children under three, children three to five should have less than a half hour, while older children should have no more than an hour. But in today’s world is this even a possibility. Dr. Sigman’s recommendations have been criticized by other experts due to the unrealistic actions it calls for, but the research still holds significance. Electronics, digital media, and television are not only embedded in homes but in the school systems, cars and eventually future workplaces for these children.

The AAP has put out the “Media and Young Minds” policy statement that targets children from the age zero to five and gives recommendations for pediatricians, families and the industry. This policy statement urges parents of children 18-24 months to avoid digital media use other than video chatting. And if it is introduced, only high-quality media use with parental control.

For more information, watch the AAP’s Media Discussion Pannel on Children and Media.

Immediate family relationships:

Technology has provided society with a number of advancements in everyday life. People are able to do a plethora of things on the internet that was not possible just a decade or so ago. Consumers are able to shop online, get their news online and communicate with friends, family, and even strangers. However, as with most things in life, there needs to be a balance. As the years go by, it’s becoming clear that technology is adding a new dynamic to our lives and relationships. Most notably it’s creating new dynamics in familial relationships.

One familial dynamic that’s being tested are the relationships between parents and their children, specifically children who are in their teens.  An article by NPR shared a study that looked at nearly 2,000 parents who have kids. One of the findings that came from the study showed that these parents spend about 9 hours and 22 minutes in front of a screen each day. The study classified “in front of a screen” as texting, checking the weather, Googling, etc.

In the same article, NPR states that they gathered around 20 parents. They discussed these new technological challenges the parents are facing with their kids. Some of the parents mention privacy and safety as a concern. While others asked how should they monitor screen time at home. The latter question is one that family therapist, Kristen R. Qualls, has been asked often in this age of technology.

She says that parents struggle to regulate their children’s use of devices that grant them access to the internet. She goes on to mention that a power struggle can occur when parents don’t learn how to be gentle yet firm when handling their child’s access to electronic devices. When this power struggle occurs a rift can form in the family. This rift can cause both parents and kids to dislike each other. She notes that when this happens her sessions revolve around rebuilding trust and reestablishing the connection between the parents and the child.

Not all families go through such hardships when dealing with technology. Electronic devices also allow families to bond in ways they usually would not. According to a dissertation, adolescents who play video games tend to be closer to their families compared to adolescents who play no video games. Although video games are more often than not played solo, gamers actually prefer to play with their family or friends. The interviews in the dissertation contribute it to the fact that family members are getting the chance to interact with each other in a new environment.

To help alleviate some stress that may come from questions on how to regulate their children’s use of technology, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends coming up with a “Family Media Plan.” The plan would help regulate when, where and how much time one’s family should use their electronic devices.

Qualls mentions that this is the most ideal way of mending relationships in the family. When everyone is starting to feel distant from one another, creating a plan is the way to go. She says that when confronted with this problem from her patients she highly recommends structure. She said that adults have to model the behavior first for the children to follow. The behavior includes limiting time online, have electronic-free time, and communicate the desired electronic-free time. In addition to this, she recommends always unplugging regularly, putting the devices away in a spot that’s not next to your bed and drive with your devices out of reach while in the car.

Here is an example of a radio PSA for the Family Media Use Plan.

Friends and digital media:

The creation, strengthening and loss of friendships are all part of digital media but it is important to recognize that different types of digital media affect the way people interact socially.  Video games like Massive Multiplayers Online can create friendships and strengthen one’s team related skills but also damage friendships outside of the alternate reality they play in. Social media generally creates friendships in reality where online video games can create friendships that often only exist in the virtual world.

It is important to note that people who meet and create friendships within virtual worlds can still become friends in reality and interact on online communication devices like Skype, TeamSpeak3 and Discord, but generally speaking friendships online do not go past talking to each other online using text and voice. This lack of face to face communication can have consequences in “the real world”.

The consequences of lack of face to face communication but still very real friendships in the virtual world is reinforced in the Substitution Theory. This theory suggests that real life friends and community interactions become replaced by virtual communities. Thus creating a disconnect between pre-established friendships and decreased connections with parents.

According to Steinkuehler and Williams, studies dealing with online gaming revealed that MMORPGs might be a place for an informal sociability, but socially less useful than offline relationships Given the fact that the sociability of people is generally limited offline relationships could suffer.

The causes behind substitution can vary. It can happen when an individual has a hard time interacting with people face to face and finds it easier to communicate with someone when they are not in person. It can also happen when someone is bullied in school and wants to escape to a world that is not as harsh as the one they live in. Family issues may also be a reason for people to escape to these fantasy worlds to escape troubled friendships in the real world.

Addiction can often be a consequence of such habits. In general, media research in the context of addiction and games suggests that excessive playing can lead to social isolation and dissolving relations with friends and family. Research is unclear if addiction creates isolation or if isolation leads to addiction but what is clear is that the two are related when it comes to online interactions.

Digital/virtual communities:

Contagion theory suggests that individuals or firms engage in behaviors because of their interactions with other individuals or firms who are engaged in similar behaviors. 

Contagion theory is something that proposed with the anonymous nature of a large crowd, people are more likely to be violent.  While this is not necessarily a negative thing, it can lead to negative behaviors in virtual communities.  In a Ted talk, a professor talked about how racism exists in the communities of video games such as a halo.  A famous UFC fighter shared his experience of playing video games online and constantly being called the “n-word”.  An even more egregious example is a study the professor performed.  A player changed his gamertag, the name people see when you play online, to “GayBoy”.  What followed was a torrent of homophobic language and a show of prejudice.  So, we link this back to the contagion theory.  While many of the people shown in that video may not have actually been homophobic, if one person starts the negativity, it can be easy to pile on that and join in the behavior.  As parents and friends, there becomes a need to know what kind of communities do you let your loved ones get involved with.  Does this community promote growth and positivity?  Does it allow for real life interaction and promote healthy social habits?  These are all aspects of a community that need to be examined.

 A very popular community in the gaming industry right now is the Destiny community.  It has spawned multiple sub-communities within itself that do good work.  According to a former community manager, Julien Wera, a community can be split into two parts; networks and meta-communities. “Not all networks are meta-communities, but all meta-communities are networks in some way… It can be hard to tell the difference between a community, a network and a meta-community, but again, it’s all in the “community spirit”.” There is a meta-community called “Dads of Destiny” where fathers who game, and have limited time due to their family responsibilities, can talk and find others who share their schedule of play.  There is even a real life meet up event where people who play the game can socialize with other players and even meet the more famous players who have large followings in the community.  This is not the case for all communities, though.

While Mass Multiplayer Online (MMO) games are great at cultivating these online communities, their games can rely on things that promote unhealthy behavior.  Destiny, for example, is based on a “carrot on the stick” system where players are constantly playing the game to get good gear.  The gear drops randomly, and can sometimes a player receives duplicate items or items that are useless to them.  This encourages them to keep playing and keep playing, trying to get something that is completely based on luck.  To put it simply, games of this nature are like a slot machine that can take 30 minutes to 2 hours (at the extreme) to pull.  On the surface, you can see friends having fun earning cool looking gear, and sometimes that’s all it is; dig a little deeper though and it’s essentially a group of addicts who are all enabling each other.  Yea you can win, but you could also get nothing, which begs the question: Can the good of a community outweigh the negative behavior that the realm they exist in?

All communities require managers.  In an online environment such as games, this means being the communication line between players and developers.  The community manager takes feedback from players and analyzes it to see what the problem is, and relay it to the developers.  On the other side of the coin, the manager is also letting the players know what is possible development wise, and relaying what the developers can do about it.  To cultivate this community, Wera says a manager must do four things: Know your community, communicate, be honest, and finally, don’t underestimate your community.


Digital media can be used as a tool with developing children, making new friendships and building communities. But there is a point where too much is not a good thing. Prioritizing screen time over face-to-face interaction causes more problems in the long run with mental and physical health. The use of technology will benefit more than hurt our world once the generations to come learn that it is a tool for learning and interacting, rather than for entertainment value and a boredom cure. Also bringing people’s attention to the fact that more research and information needs to be conducted about the effects of digital media. A PSA being put onto the radio waves, with the hopes for an appearance on television, that explains the need for people to understand these effects, would be the best way to reach the most people for the best price.

For more information and research see the annotated bibliography used for this project.

Comments from the authors:

“From doing this project I learned that, like with all things in life, digital media in moderation is fine. When used too much, digital media can start changing family dynamics for the worse. The struggle between the parent and child can start to become too overwhelming and can potentially cause a rift in the family. When used in moderation technology can be used as another way for families to spend time together and interact with one another. These interactions can strengthen relationships within the family unit.”- Emmitt Lewis

“I learned from my research that although there are a lot of positive effects from digital media use in children, they don’t learn just from placing it into their hands and too much is when those positives begin to change into negatives. Overall, children are going to learn from the way their parents interact with any device or media platform more than they are going to learn from just messing around with it. Demonstrative learning and allowing time during the day for their brains to explore creatively on their own is also much better than any electronic device or digital media exposure.”- Kendra Gill 

“In doing research for this topic I discovered that this topic was very relatable to me. Maybe not on an extreme level but relating as to why I went to video games. I personally am able to validate certain talks of addiction and Substitution theory in my own life. In doing research it has made me look at the way I play video games and perhaps change my habits. If nothing else I will be able to tell others that I game with of my research.” – Ethan Fogle 

After researching the nuances of virtual communities, I saw a larger part of the negative side of communities.  As someone who considers themselves part of one, it’s easy to tell others about how great it is and only mention the positives.  I think you need to ignore negativity a lot, but also look at the negativity critically, and see where it’s rooted in.  Sometimes the negativity is just random piling on or trolls being trolls, but in other cases in can reveal a much larger issue.” – Eric Sinks 



Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence MLK April 4th, 1967

April 4th was the anniversary of the day that Rev. Martin Luther King gave his “A Time to Break Silence” speech at Riverside Church in New York City. One might think that a speech given 50 years ago wouldn’t be describing a problem that is still relevant today, but his words are still ringing of true concern.

Yesterday I attended a reading of this entire speech at Oakland University. With a group of about 25 students and faculty, the same words that were spoken 50 years ago were read aloud in a sort of popcorn reading fashion. As each student began to read their section I was following along with the printed out copy that they provided. As it got toward the middle of the speech I was starting to realize that some of the problems and issues that MLK was presenting to these people so long ago are still problems and issues that we are dealing with today.

One section especially rang true and I am going to quote it directly.

“I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a “thing-oriented” society to a “person-oriented” society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.”Think about this, these words were spoken 50 years ago but do these words not ring true in today’s society? Even if it is just a little bit.

Think about this, these words were spoken 50 years ago but do these words not ring true in today’s society? Even if it is just a little bit.

The Morning Call had even put out an article, one of the many that I found, that talked about these exact words and posing a question. “How can we not listen to these words?

After the reading of the speech, the floor was open to discussion. Although not a lot of people decided to share their words, the ones who did speak brought up the fact that you would think the problems he talked about 50 years ago would have been solved by now but in fact many people think they are worse than ever.


Writing and Editing

Instructed to write about a decisive moment in our lives that changed the direction we were originally going into a completely different one, five minutes was put onto my phone timer and my fingers began to type.
To get your mind right, first read how Robert Frost describes this moment.
The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
The First Draft

I remember it like it was yesterday. Mid October, 2009. One mom in a marathon, three kids sending her off, and one stepfather trying to make sure we all get to the finish line before she does. She tied her shoes, like she did every single day for the past three years, her heat lined up and then the gun shot went off, acting as a green light for each of the runners.

While waiting for her to be a sweaty mess at the finish line my step dad took us to breakfast, but we never ended up eating that day. While drinking our apple juice and coffee he got a call from the hospital saying that we needed to come right away. I remember on the way there we were all joking about how she probably broke something and was going to be in a cast for our Jamaican vacation only a couple months away. That wasn’t it at all.

She had a cardiac arrest. Her heart literally went from beating to not beating in the matter of seconds and there was absolutely no reason for it. No cause or explanation…even to this day.

A lot of things run through your mind when someone tells you that your mom is on life support and that the doctors are, “doing everything they can”. No ten year old girl knows how to fully let that sink in.

Over the years I have tried to fully let all of that sink in and when thinking about the most decisive moments in my life that have changed my direction or my outlook, this story will always be at the top.

On that chilly day in October, that ten year old girl learned very quickly that life is not guaranteed and that every single moment counts.

And today, that 20 year old girl thanks God every day for knowing she needed her mom down here way more than up there.

The Process: Writing & Editing

When thinking about a moment in my life that really changed its direction there were two things that came to mind: when I moved to the U.S. and when my mother almost died.

The night before receiving this assignment I had stayed up until almost 1am talking about this exact day, the one in October, with my mom and it got me thinking about how that day changed a lot of things for me. Once I had the topic I was going to write about I put the time of five minutes onto my phone and just started to write. It came out a little sloppy and some misspelled words, but after one run through I printed it. (And that is what you see above.)

The further editing, that came after reading it aloud in class, was a matter of adding some additional sentences to set the scene for the turning point in my story.

I added…

The joking turned to panic when we arrived at the hospital and the paramedics didn’t have my mother’s name, only her running ID number. The night before we stayed up and made t-shirts with her running ID on the front so that she would see us when crossing the finish line 26.2 miles later.

We were taken into a little room, maybe the size of a standard bathroom. With white walls surrounding us, the doctors came in and began to explain that my mother was in an accident and is unresponsive.

… I think it was a good pause before revealing what happened to her, a kind of delay of information. Along with a couple other minor grammatical revisions and a couple words here and there I kept the story the same. I liked the rawness of it and the fact that it was exactly what I was feeling in that five minutes of writing.

The Final Draft

I remember it like it was yesterday. Mid-October 2009. One mom in a marathon, three kids sending her off, and one stepfather trying to make sure we all get to the finish line before she does. She tied her shoes like she did every single day for the past three years, her heat lined up and then the gun shot went off, acting as a green light for each of the runners.

While waiting for her to be a sweaty mess at the finish line my stepdad took us to breakfast, but we never ended up eating that day. While drinking our apple juice and coffee he got a call from the hospital saying that we needed to come right away. I remember on the way there we were all joking about how she probably broke something and was going to be in a cast for our Jamaican vacation only a couple months away. That wasn’t it at all.

The joking turned to panic when we arrived at the hospital and the paramedics didn’t have my mother’s name, only her running ID number. The night before we stayed up and made t-shirts with her running ID on the front so that she would see us when crossing the finish line 26.2 miles later.

We were taken into a little room, maybe the size of a standard bathroom. With white walls surrounding us, the doctors came in and began to explain that my mother was in an accident and is unresponsive.

She had a cardiac arrest. Her heart literally went from beating to not beating in a matter of seconds and there was absolutely no reason for it. No cause or explanation…even to this day.

As the four white walls started to shrink around me tears began to hit the floor.

A lot of things run through your mind when someone tells you that your mom is on life support and that the doctors are, “doing everything they can”. No ten-year-old girl knows how to fully let that sink in.

Over the years I have tried to fully let all of that sink in and when thinking about the most decisive moments in my life that have changed my direction or my outlook, this story will always be at the top.

On that chilly day in October, that ten-year-old girl learned very quickly that life is not guaranteed and that every single moment counts. She learned to forgive fast and love unconditionally.

And today, that 20-year-old girl thanks God every day for knowing she needed her mom down here way more than up there.

My Reflection

I really liked this exercise. At first I didn’t really know which one I was going to write about and then it was like the world knew I needed an outlet. I don’t really like talking about the day a lot and after my conversation with my mother the night before I really needed to let some things go. Writing has always been that release for me and for it to be literally the day after couldn’t have been more ironic timing.

The first day I wrote it and then read it after I kind of got this weird feeling in my stomach. Like wow, that really happened and if anything had gone differently I don’t think I would be the same person I am now.

As far as the writing process went, I liked the fact that we were only given five minutes to write it. I feel like the setup and outline of the story was achieved and then when the editing began was when the addition pieces of the puzzle were added. Going through and adding in the extra paragraphs really brought everything together and I think it enhanced the flow of the story.

In class reflection…

Partnered up and then told to edit someone else’s decisive moment was kind of difficult for me because I know how personal mine is. Nervous, I let my final draft be read. The feedback I received was only to add a common into one of the first paragraphs because it read a little too long. Other than that my partner said that it flowed very nicely and that entire draft was well written with emotion. I love getting positive reactions to my words and so this in class portion was nervewracking but really nice to hear.

Digital Ethnography: Destiny the Video Game


Destiny is a science fiction, first-person shooter game that was developed by Bungie who are the same makers of Microsoft’s Halo franchise. Released in September of 2014 for Xbox one and 360 along with Playstation 3 and 4, it gained a huge following from day one.

In this podcast, Eric Sinks joins me in talking about this Destiny community. In this digital ethnography, we will be discussing some of the places they meet, activities they take part in and languages/slang they use within their world.



Information Overload: An addiction or just keeping up?

The Pew Research Center, in December 2016, put out a report that said around 20% of Americans feel overloaded by their choices in today’s information-saturated world. The other 79% of U.S. adults say this statement describes them “very well” (44%) or “somewhat well” (35%): “Having a lot of information makes me feel like I have more control over things in my life.”

Addiction Help Center says, “Excessive Internet use has been linked to depression, substance abuse, and other serious mental illness.” So if three or more of the questions were answered with a yes don’t be afraid to contact their 24 hour helpline (877)-259-5635 or you can visit their website.

These 8 questions are from the Addiction Help Center and can help determine if you may have an internet surfing addiction problem:

  1. Do you use the Internet or stay online longer than you originally planned once a week or more?
  2. Do you think about online activity or your next online session even when you are not on the Internet?
  3. Have you tried to stop your Internet use before but were unable to discontinue using the computer?
  4. When you are forced to be away from the Internet, do you find yourself feeling irritable, depressed or moody?
  5. Do you use the Internet much more now than you used to?
  6. Have you ever lost a relationship, had a fight with loved ones or lost a job, career or educational opportunity over Internet use?
  7. Have you ever lied about your Internet use in order to hide the amount of time you spend online?
  8. Do you ever use online time as a way to feel better, to escape from problems or to just “tune out?”


My Second Life Experience provides a virtual world for avatars of any kind to adventure in and around a world that is unlike their real one. This Second Life experience was one of my first virtual reality experiences on a computer and I found myself getting more engaged than I had originally thought.

Instructed to go to virtual hallucinations island this place made the audio and visual stimulants match those of an individual with schizophrenia, a long-term mental disorder that breaks down thoughts and reality.

Description– Transported to a piece of land that had a house on it you first had to attach the hallucinations badge onto your avatar, which immediately put audio into my headphones of people telling me to grab the gun and kill him. The audio stimuli was very sudden and didn’t stop, even when there was a button saying ‘Stop Voices’. Multiple voices saying that I’m worthless and am ruining things, but then it would switch to someone calmly talking about an entirely different topic. Visually it was interesting. I found myself laughing a couple of times because of the things that would happen if I stayed in the hallway for too long or looked at a newspaper for more than five seconds. Words would start appearing clearer than others and the words were always ones like ‘Death’ or ‘Don’t Care’.

Feelings– My personal reactions to this experience were that I would never wish this on anyone. Personally, I have so many other things going on in my head that when these people started telling me to grab a gun or that I am worthless I can easily see how someone would start believe them or following the actions it demanded. I liked the experience as a whole, but the voices were probably the worst part for me.

Evaluation– Being that this was one of my first computer virtual reality experiences I thought it was pretty interesting and let me really immerse myself into what it would be like with a mental disorder like that. The actual navigation for the game was pretty straight forward and easy to follow, and although there were sometimes where I was flying above the ceiling for no reason, I feel that this experience was pretty much what I had expected.

Analysis– Through this hallucinations experience I have learned that schizophrenia is not just people talking in your head and things happening that didn’t really happen. Its a constant battle in one person’s head between what is real and what is made up. I sometimes watch those shows that follow the life of a person with mental disorders and when someone has schizophrenia they are normally so out of touch with what is happening, so much more than the others. This exercise helped me understand a little of more the reasons why. It helped me gain a different perspective of what this person would have to go through on a daily basis just to get to the next day and do it all over again. They are so out of touch with reality because there is no reality for them, they are living in their own virtual reality that get made up everyday inside their head.

Remix Culture


ALERT: Keep your dog on a leash or it might get snatched up!

Remix culture is defined as… “a society that allows and encourages derivative works by combining or editing existing materials to produce a new creative work or product.”

If you haven’t already guessed it these are actually two separate photos that, with the help of photo shop and some of my classmates, I have made into one cohesive photo. Remix culture is exactly that, taking something of your own and combining it with another to make an entirely new piece of work. It would be like remixing an original song with some of your own beats and sounds to create a new song separate from the other two.

This exercise was fun and I really liked the incorporation of photo shop, but it showed me that I really do overthink the easy things.

Her name is Luna, by the way. She is a six month old pit bull and is even cuter in person.

My First Time: Polaroids

Instructed to look at our digital life and how we interact online I noticed that I don’t have as much content as the common millennial, especially in the picture department. I observe and watch while everyone else is making all of the noise and posting all of the pictures. I thought about why this might be and I came to the conclusion that it has something to do with my latest Christmas present, my Polaroid camera.

Do you think you should invest in one of these? Watch this video and find out!


Reflecting on racial and ethnic diversity

Instructed to participate in this interactive Washington Post video module made me think about how different everyone really thinks and feels about “the n-word”.

There was a specific video where two men had total opposite viewpoints on the word, but they had that same color skin. One basically said that his reaction to the word depended, almost entirely, on the source that the word came from. Where as the other man said that no matter where it came from it left a sour taste in his mouth if he said it and a burning in his ears if he heard it.

Another pair of ladies caught my attention because they were talking about how they feel it is the responsibility of the parents to let their children know about this word’s history. How it is not okay to just sit back and accept it being thrown around and used for everyday titles such as “dude” or “friend”. I don’t think I have ever thought about that before. The environment in which you are raised is another factor determining whether you have, for lack of a better word, desensitized yourself to the true meaning and emotion behind that word or not.

Overall, very eye opening to some of the ideas, feelings and emotions that I naturally never had to think about because of my lack of exposure to the word. Although confirmation that people of the same skin tone will have different opinions on the meaning and feelings behind a word, I still wonder why.

Why are these individuals, who think the word is okay to be said and heard, only accept it when it comes from someone of their same race? One would think that if you want it to be something of the past, then don’t use it in vocabulary today, right?

Set an example for the people who aren’t informed on the history or the true meaning behind the n-word. Monkey see… monkey do.