Applied ethics in the technological world: An examination of secondary traumatic stress and trauma exposure in social media

Casey Comstock, Salve Regina University

Abstract

This study integrates the humanities with psychology by examining the impact technology has on humans. Ethics, literary works that relate to the impact of technology on humans, and how social media and television today may impact the layperson in such a way that they may exhibit symptoms of the condition of secondary traumatic stress will be examined. Through the use of the humanities, this study connects the impact technology has on changing societies, the ethics associated with the way humans react to each other and how television and social media's delivery of traumatic stories may leave some humans with secondary traumatic stress. First, a discussion will be presented on what is known about ethics and technology through a study of the humanities, specifically by looking at traditional literary works and philosophies. Second, an examination of the way technology has changed people will be revealed, including the technological changes in the tools we use to communicate with each other. Then a discussion will occur on how the platforms of television and Internet and social media may be a means to deliver a traumatic story, which may perhaps trigger some laypersons to acquire psychiatric symptoms of an anxiety disorder. Finally, a discussion of the administered and analyzed survey will be implemented to offer feedback on whether or not a scientific study is warranted to further examine secondary traumatic stress in the layperson. This study demonstrates how the communication technologies of television and Internet, with social media, impacted the human condition in that the very presence of television and social media today may indeed affect the human in such a way that secondary traumatic stress in the layperson may surface. In the survey, data were present that some laypersons exhibited symptoms of experiencing traumatic stress after exposure to real life traumas through television and social media. Further scientific research is necessary to determine if a correlation exists between the layperson developing secondary traumatic stress and the amount of exposure to others' real-life traumatic events through television and social media. ^

Subject Area

Ethics|Philosophy|Multimedia Communications|Psychology, General|Mass Communications

Recommended Citation

Comstock, Casey, "Applied ethics in the technological world: An examination of secondary traumatic stress and trauma exposure in social media" (2010). Doctoral Dissertations (Off Campus access). AAI3483266.
http://digitalcommons.salve.edu/dissertations/AAI3483266

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