Media

New Statesman: Six purple octopuses and a reminder to make the bed: inside the idyllic internet

Since the United States presidential election, calming bots are providing peace for Twitter users. Who’s behind them and what do they hope to achieve? 

Why is a random array of emoji fish so calming anyway? Dr Grainne Kirwan, an expert in cyberpsychology and computer mediated communication, explains that emoji aquariums can have the same effect on us as their real life counterparts.

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New Statesman: It me: how memes made us feel less alone

Sociologists have noted that the internet is instrumental in forging community bonds, and can be particularly helpful to those struggling with their identity – be that their sexuality, mental health, or social status. Yet meme culture is a less-studied aspect of this phenomenon. Dr Grainne Kirwan, a lecturer and expert in cyberpsychology, sheds some light on how and why memes allow us to feel connected to one another.

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Quartz Media: Hasty decisions

The hidden emotional consequences of de-friending ex-pals and former flames.

There are plenty of times when it’s fine to de-friend without overthinking it. Sometimes we’re just channeling our inner Marie Kondo: A Yale study found that we only recognize 72% of our Facebook friends. There’s no need to tell the distant acquaintances you’re unfollowing en masse why you’re giving them the boot. Sometimes we’re not acting out of spite, but would just prefer to our feeds to be clear of a former high-school classmate’s obnoxious rants or excessive selfies.

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Irish Times: Almost 25% of children in 1st class have interacted with a stranger online.

Digital trend report looks at online experiences of 2,300 children aged under 12.

Almost one in five children in first class at primary school has spoken to or interacted with a stranger online. By the time they are in sixth class, more than half have experienced cyberbullying, and one-third of students in third class have either experienced it or know somebody who has.

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Popular Science: Can You Get PTSD From A Virtual Experience?

Short answer: No, but online worlds can really stress you out.

Virtual environments almost certainly induce genuine anxiety, says Grainne Kirwan, a psychologist who specializes in cybercrime at the Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design, and Technology in Ireland. For example, your physiological and emotional responses to entering a dark alley in a video game may be comparable to those you’d have in a similar real-life situation. “But would it be to the extent of initiating post-traumatic stress disorder? That hasn’t been demonstrated,” Kirwan says.

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Irish Times: Rollercoaster ride from virtual reality to real friends

Rollercoaster ride from virtual reality to real friends. Expecting to give birth last September, 50 women shared their pregnancy online – then finally met up. Sheila Wayman Just over a year ago they were a bunch of strangers, scattered around Ireland and abroad, with one thing in common: they were all women expecting babies in September 2013. Now it is as if they have been friends for life. Sitting chatting in a Dublin hotel, babes in arms, they are at…

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About

I am a chartered psychologist (BPS) and a lecturer, researcher and author in the area of cyberpsychology. My particular areas of interest include cybercrime, online health/support seeking, and the psychological applications of virtual reality.

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