Digital Media Concepts/Autism (ASD) & Social Media

Autism itself is a developmental disability that someone may have. There are people that may have it due to genetics while other reasons as to why someone may have it is unknown. Many people may experience autism differently since it is on a spectrum and that means that it could affect someone’s learning, communication, behavior, interaction, movement, understanding and attention. [1]

With social media growing bigger each year. It’s become an integral part of people’s daily lives since it’s the way most people communicate with one another now. As well as becoming more accessible to more people across the world.

Photo showing the infinity raindow sign that represents autism.
Autism Symbol

History edit

How Autism Came to be Known edit

It’s unknown when autism existed, but the concept of autism had been made aware by a German psychiatrist in 1908 named Eugen Bleuler [1] to call a symptom that people with schizophrenia had. Two researchers in the 1940s Hans Asperger [2] and Leo Kanner [3] pioneered the research on autism. They would individually study children with severe autism and those who weren’t significantly affected.  The studies they made would help future physicians.

A person by the name of Bruno Bettelheim [4] did a study on three children who he claimed had autism and he had deduced that the reason they had it was because of parenting. Bernard Rimland [5] didn’t agree with this notion as his child had autism and didn’t believe the problem was with his parenting.

As time went on, finally in the 1980s, the studies of Asperger’s were translated to English, and the research to finally understand what autism actually is gained attraction. The notion that parenting had something to do with autism was completely dropped. Instead, they found that it was due to a neurological disorder. [2]

Social Media’s Growth edit

In the 2000s, social media seemed to have begun with the rise of MySpace. [6] As time passed, more social media platforms such as Facebook [7], Instagram [8], and Twitter [9] would come up. MySpace fell into obscurity because Facebook had essentially taken over its place by 2012.

As these social media’s went on to grow they would add more features for Twitter at first, you wouldn’t be able to upload images and videos. However, there are platforms that certain groups of people like. Most of them are going to be populated by younger people than those who are older.

With time, it also seemed that the internet had become more universal by the time that it had been 2019. There were 2.3 billion people using Facebook. Meaning that possibly 30% of the world was using social media. With people using social media more and more. With it growing, It’s likely that it’ll also make it to more countries.

With the rapid growth that social media is making. There are concerns that come about that social media could be harming people’s mental health and there could be negative effects that come out of this. Who would’ve fathomed that something that we use a part of daily lives could’ve been created years ago. [3]

Camouflaging edit

People with autism may have some problems with communicating so as a way to compensate for their shortcomings they try to portray themselves in a way that doesn’t make them come off as being autistic. There are different methods that an autistic person may take. Such as gesturing, filling pauses in a conversation, and observational/reflective method. They can learn from watching others behaviors that aren’t autistic to try and learn how they socialize to go on to copy them or they go on to learn from watching TV, reading books, or practicing facial expression as well as body language. [4]

Effects edit

Positives edit

With the popularity of social media. This can be a great benefit for people on the spectrum who struggle with making connections with other people. WIth social media, it can remedy that. They can go to meet new friends, join communities that have a shared interest, talk to other people who also have autism. They don’t have to worry too much about reading into social cues and they can stop talking to someone whenever they feel like they can stop. They can even build a support system. [5] They won’t have to have eye contact with another person and they won’t have to speak with someone else since it’s draining. Instead they can type whatever they’d like. [6]

Negatives edit

Although social media is able to become a good outlet for those who struggle on the spectrum when communicating with others online. There are things that can negatively affect a person on the spectrum. There is content on there that stigmatizes them and even with being able to socialize online, they still feel lonely. All of these can really lower their self-esteem. On top of that, they seem more likely to experience mental health than people who aren’t autistic.  It doesn’t help that things such as trolling and cyberbullying are a bigger problem for autistic people. [5]

External Links edit

References edit

  1. CDC (2022-12-09). "Basics About Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) | NCBDDD | CDC". Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved 2023-10-23.
  2. "Autism History". 2009-11-21. Retrieved 2023-10-23.
  3. Ortiz-Ospina, Esteban; Roser, Max (2023-05-25). "The rise of social media". Our World in Data. 
  4. Hull, Laura; Mandy, William; Lai, Meng-Chuan; Baron-Cohen, Simon; Allison, Carrie; Smith, Paula; Petrides, K. V. (2019-03-01). "Development and Validation of the Camouflaging Autistic Traits Questionnaire (CAT-Q)". Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 49 (3): 819–833. doi:10.1007/s10803-018-3792-6. ISSN 1573-3432. PMID 30361940. PMC PMC6394586. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Recent Social Media Advisory Is Important for Autistic Youth | Psychology Today". Retrieved 2023-10-23.
  6. "Navigating Social Media When You're Autistic". Psych Central. 2017-01-12. Retrieved 2023-10-23.