Table of Contents
The development of information, accessibility, and communication technology has led to the increase of computer usage among all the genders. The ease of availability and knowledge of computer and internet use has contributed to this effect. Both male and female use the internet for various purposes i.e. communication, information searching or as a mode of relaxation. The fit and unwell people are involved in searching for health information for various purposes.
However, the major concern on online health information searching is the quality and reliability of some medical information. The effects of online health information for various genders on their mental health vary depending on the duration of searching. Moreover, research has shown that female and male use new media in distinct manner.
The notion of gender is portrayed through the way communication is done; primarily, gender plays a role in construction of arguments. Gendered differences are portrayed by the kind of arguments given by individuals and how each argument is framed by distinct individual. Moreover, gendered roles through socialization also influence the notion of people. The rhetorical strategies used by men and women revealed more information regarding gendered communication. In the debate on tobacco smoking three arguments were used namely personal choice; protection and public health; and questioning authority, where questioning the authority gave the greatest discrepancy between men and women.
The author of the article explores the relationship of different gender with computer use for searching health information. In addition, the paper explores the significance of computer use to the mental health of males and females. Importantly, the paper compares how different genders use the internet and for what purposes.
THE ASSOCIATION AMONG GENDER, COMPUTER USE AND ONLINE HEALTH SEARCHING, AND MENTAL HEALTH
How different genders use new media for health purposes
The authors sought to identify if there is any difference between male and female use of internet for health purposes. Initially it was believed that men dominated the use of computers and the internet compared to female. This difference is associated with difference in behaviors practiced, preferences expressed and in communication styles between the two genders. Nevertheless, it has become clear that the disparity between male and female use of computers and internet is declining (Neckerman, 2004, p.361).
Moreover, research indicates that there is an increase in online usage for health purposes among the adult population in the US. Further, in consideration of gender, there is disparity of internet use for health purposes between the genders. Researchers suggest that females are more likely to use internet for health purposes compared to the males. More than three-quarters of those 65 years and older say they go online for health information. There are other factors that influence the use of internet for health purposes i.e. the level of income, education, and accessibility of internet.
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I concur with the author that women use internet health information more than men do because they (women) are more likely than men to experience chronic health conditions and psychological stress (Howard & Jones, 2004, p.62). Besides, women intuition of nurturing others influences them to look up information for other friends or family. Moreover, researchers suggest that women are likely to check various treatment options than men. However, I do not fully agree to this conclusion.
Impact of online health search on mental health
The use of computers and internet for various purposes including health has positive and negative consequences. Firstly, internet use for health searching can result to various dire effects on the users. Using the Internet for health purposes was associated with increased depression. The increase may be due to increased rumination, unnecessary alarm, or over-attention to health problems. Additionally, those with unmeasured problems or those more prone to health anxiety may self-select online health resources. Further, people who sought health information indicated lower self-esteem this is shows that more health information can cause mental illness.
In contrast, using the Internet to communicate with friends and family was associated with declines in depression. This finding is comparable to other studies showing that social support is beneficial for well-being and lends support to the idea that the Internet is a way to strengthen and maintain social ties. Therefore, there are many support groups online where patients of certain conditions can encourage and advice one another.
Moreover, the use of internet for health purposes is associated with improved mental health either directly or indirectly. This can be attributed to increased logical and cognitive ability of the user. In addition, cognitive skills are developing through constant use of computer. Further, the mental well-being is influenced by the type of task one does on the computer or internet as it stimulates intellectual flexibility and complexity.
The effects of online health information searching have different effects on males and females. Women can use computers and internet for health purposes in order to medicate mental health issues as use of computers is associated with increased esteem. Through visiting health and fitness sites woman can get support groups and information, which raises their esteem and optimism. In deed availability of resourceful information regarding prevention or management of health problems reduces mental illness i.e. depression.
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Limitation of the research
Due to the fact that the field of new media is rapidly evolving, to include newer features the finding may not be applicable to the present circumstances. I believe that the finding lack some objectivity since the some variables used in the analysis cannot be properly measured i.e. self-esteem. Additionally, the researchers did not consider the health status of the sample used.
GENDER ON THE PAGE: Letters to the editor and the tobacco debate
The media has played a significant role in defining the roles of both males and females in the society. With the inception of mediated media communication, the roles of media; in reflecting the dominant values and attitudes in the society and socialization has been made easier. Gender influences how communication is done through the various arguments used, various arguments are used in the tobacco debate, as well as how the arguments are framed. The main argument for or against in the tobacco debate are personal choice responsibility; protection and public health; and questioning authority.
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Gender concerns and participation in a matter guide the outcomes for example the author states that since the more men than women participated in the smoking debate than women, men's argument was considered. The number of women participation also proved that women are concerned with less controversial issues than men are. Moreover, it illustrated that women are powerless in some matter. Gender roles attitudes i.e. traditional determine the behavior of women hence their character and opinion.
Gendered patterns of writing
The difference of gender communication is demonstrated by the distinct patterns and styles of writing of each gender. Some factors that influence gender patterns of writing include ideologies that shape different genders and the individual self-perception (Macarthur, Graham & Fitzgerald, 2008, p.311). In that respect, the author points out that men use bolder construction compared to women. In masculine mode of writing argument, rationality and 'objectivity' tend to be stressed at the expense of emotion and subjectivity.
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The female's arguments tend to be affiliative and expressive while men's arguments are more objectifying or competitive (Weiten, et al. 2008, p.334). The findings suggest that there are two layers worth examining: the type of argument being proffered by the author, and the way in which the author frames these arguments. However, there are similarities in both men and women use of tentative and evaluation statements.
I concur with the author that "psychological gender" plays a bigger role in influencing writing compared with 'biological gender'. Moreover, gender also shapes peoples' attitudes hence their opinions. The causes of these differences in attitudes can be classified in two categories namely gendered differences are the result of gender-based socialization processes; and that larger, structural forces contribute to gender disparity in attitudes.
Opinions are influenced by childhood socialization from family or surrounding society at childhood i.e. people who learnt that smoking of tobacco is unacceptable from a young age are likely to hold that opinion even as adults. Additionally secondary socialization i.e. through education also defines opinion of different genders. Traditional gender roles for women socialized them to take less controversial opinions in order to keep their children safe. Additionally men are more conservative than women are since women are socialized to be socially responsible and others oriented.
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Other scholars identify structural explanation for the difference of opinion between males and females. Besides, the process of doing gender has attributed to lack of similarities between the gender's opinions.
Gendered differences were demonstrated by the kind of arguments used in support or otherwise of tobacco smoking. Additionally, the rhetorical strategies used by writers illustrate dissimilarity between the writing of male and female. The importance of rhetorical strategies is that they distinguish different genders irrespective of the fact that they could be having similar argument.
Studies indicate that the gap between the male and female use of computers and the internet is decreasing. Women are two times likely to use the internet for health information searching compared to men. Moreover, the use of the internet for health purpose has both negative and positive consequences on mental health for both genders. Constant search for health information lower the self-esteem of individual. Women can use computers and internet for health purposes in order to medicate mental health issues as use of computers is associated with increased esteem.
Gendered roles are evident in the type of opinion given by woman concerning tobacco smoking. This can be demonstrated by the fact that most women are in support of control of tobacco smoking, which can be traced from socialization of being socially responsible.
Gendered in communication is exhibited through the types of arguments that men and women use and the kind of rhetorical strategies used in the arguments. Importantly rhetorical arguments distinguish gendered influence in communication even if similar arguments are being used. Alternatively, genders differ in opinion due to different socialization of each gender.
Psychological gender plays a bigger role in influencing the way of communication compared to physical gender. Gender roles for women instilled through socialization define how they react to issues. Moreover, men are more conservative than women are; however, women are likely to support less controversial issues.
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