The Most Dangerous Game - Buncombe County Schools

AoW “The Most Dangerous Game”
1. Summarize each paragraph.
2. Mark confusion, unfamiliar words, and patterns.
3. Identify purpose, audience, and tone. Provide
one piece of evidence from the text to support.
4. Write a one page reflection.
Psychology of social media and narcissism: Are we self-obsessed?
Dec 4, 2013 By Danielle Restuccia
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of “likes,” “tweets,” and maybe even
In this age of ever-increasing social media, the number of ways we validate our own lives seems endless.
After all, who doesn’t enjoy seeing a picture on Facebook “liked” or a tweet “favorited” by another user?
However, it’s worth investigating the psychology behind this emerging culture in social media. With so
many ways to get positive feedback, are we becoming self-absorbed? Or is this simply a new way to
connect and share our lives with others?
Are you a social media narcissist?
On the one hand, a study from the University of Michigan showed that high numbers of postings on
Facebook and Twitter were correlated with higher levels of narcissism in young and middle-aged adults. As
stated by a researcher, “Facebook serves narcissistic adults as a mirror.”
The study also found that narcissistic adults used social media differently than their more humble
counterparts: those that tended to be self-involved used the platforms to “control others’ perceptions of
them” and broadcast personal views.
In the same vein, a study at Western Illinois University compared participants’ scores on the Narcissistic
Personality Inventory to Facebook use. Researchers found that whose who were more self-absorbed
reported more activity on the site.
Instant Gratification
Elias Aboujaoude, a researcher at Western Illinois University, gave his thoughts on why there seems to be a
correlation between social networking and narcissism: “As we get accustomed to having even our most
minor needs met [and] accommodated to this degree, we are growing more needy and more entitled. In
other words, more narcissistic.”
Social psychologist Dr. Susan Newman, Ph.D., also spoke to Saludify on this topic: “The more ‘likes,’
‘retweets,’ etcetera, that some people receive gives them a feeling of importance. They represent a form of
reassurance that they are recognized by a large number of ‘friends’ in spite of the fact that they may not
really know most of them.”
However, Dr. Newman also cautioned against attributing social media use solely to narcissism, noting that
for those people that post “insipid comments in the hopes of getting ‘likes’ and ‘retweets’…[it] seems more
about the insecurity in these cases.”
The Atlantic reflected this view of the psychology behind social networking, explaining that as you get
caught up in the popularity contest that comes with online participation, it’s easy to feel anxious or
insecure about your status. That, in turn, may cause you to post more updates or tweets in an effort to
bolster your virtual presence.
On the Other Hand: Stronger Self-Esteem?
Despite some of the research, it’s far from clear whether all of this time online is entirely negative. Though
there’s a connection between Facebook, Twitter, and being self-absorbed, there’s also a connection
between those platforms and self-esteem.
Psychology Today reported that while it has been proven that a “like” on Facebook will boost your ego, a
jolt of self-esteem is not necessarily unhealthy. That conclusion was partially based on study at the
University of Georgia that showed a connection between amount of time on Facebook and self-esteem.
The study also suggested that it may be difficult to separate self-esteem and narcissism, noting that both
qualities began to rise in the 1980s. One researcher noted that Facebook may simply be an “enforcer” of
that rise, as opposed to causing it.
Finally, social media has caused a revolution in the way we communicate, and connections with family and
friends can be very positive.
Dr. Newman noted that status updates make people “feel connected”; while it’s possible to overdo this,
we’re now able to have that connected feeling with loved ones who are all the way across the country or
world. That, in turn, can boost our own self-confidence and self-esteem.
The psychology in this field is still emerging, and future years may tell us more about what “likes” and
“tweets” are doing to our psyches. In the meantime, while you shouldn’t shut down your Facebook or
Twitter account, stop and assess how you’re using those platforms.
Are your status updates or tweets about connecting and being positive, or are you simply looking to
boost your own ego? A little bit of reflection can go a long way toward separating self-esteem and
One Page Reflection
Questions to Consider
The article is referring to your generation as being narcissistic. In your opinion, which social media
site contributes the most to narcissism in teens? Explain.
2. What aspects of all social sites contribute to narcissism in teens? Be specific.
3. What evidence of narcissism do you see among your fellow classmates at school?