Virtual Environments In Social Context Free Essay

Description of Virtual Environments

Various communication technologies, currently developing at an immensely high pace, became an integral part of the contemporary social and personal life, and the phenomenon of virtual environments is one the most interesting subjects to consider. Virtual environment is defined as an online environment, where people can communicate, produce and consume information, participate in various activities such as gaming, and be a part of the Internet community. Regarding virtual environments that I actively use, Fantasy Football could be the example since it is a platform where I can share my interests and passion for football with other people. I use it approximately 10 to 15 hours a week.

Analysis of the Story on When Strangers Click

In the HBO documentary under consideration, which is entitled When Strangers Click, the phenomenon of virtual environments and issues related to them is investigated (HBODocs, 2011). It is evident that the people’s need for romantic relationships translates into the search for love online. The first story of the documentary focuses on Second Life, which is an immensely representative example of the phenomenon under discussion since it combines virtual reality, gaming, and active communication. This story is about Kim, who flew from the U. S. to Prague, Czechia to marry a man she had never spoken to (HBODocs, 2011). In my opinion, this is the examples of people becoming more integrated into virtual environments as they make a important decision based on the online communication.

The Comparison of Virtual Reality Technology with Other Virtual Environments

The invention of Oculus Rift, a new virtual technology, is an immensely important step in the development of virtual environments. According to the article by Davis, Nesbitt, and Nalivaiko (2015), the interest in such technologies as Oculus Rift is rapidly increasing in gaming and business communities. However, it is essential to state that the virtual technology tool under discussion differs considerably from such seemingly similar environments as Second Life and Fantasy Football. One of the core purposes of any virtual environment is to imitate real-life experiences, but Oculus Rift provides such an immense experience that the phenomenon of cybersickness occurs among its user, which is not so widely recognized within other mentioned virtual environments.

The Application of Functionalism Theory in the Context of Social Anxiety

The employment of virtual environments by individuals who have social anxiety issues is a considerably interesting question. According to the functionalist theory, the function of virtual environments is to provide an experience compared to real life. Therefore, people who experience problems with interacting with other members of society can perform the functional need for communication through the means of virtual environments. However, there is a risk of developing an addiction to this substitute of real-life interaction.

Discussion of Virtual Environments from Different Theoretical Perspectives

The previous section developed a definition of the virtual environment and its place in the contemporary society by referencing to functionalist theory terms. However, it is also possible to overview this phenomenon from the grounds of conflict theory. Several conflicts might arise from the development of virtual environments, such as technology gap between different generations of people from different countries, inequality in access to the technology, and such phenomenon as cyberbullying, derived from conflicts of virtually confronting individuals (Bottino, Bottino, Regina, Correia, & Ribeiro, 2015).

From the standpoint of symbolic interactionism, the communication in virtual environments emphasizes the original meaning of the word “symbol,” as people create their online representations of their ideas of themselves.


Bottino, S. M. B., Bottino, C., Regina, C. G., Correia, A. V. L., & Ribeiro, W. S. (2015). Cyberbullying and adolescent mental health: Systematic review. Cadernos de Saude Publica, 31(3), 463-475.

Davis, S., Nesbitt, K., & Nalivaiko, E. (2015). Comparing the onset of cybersickness using the Oculus Rift and two virtual roller coasters. In Proceedings of the 11th Australasian Conference on Interactive Entertainment (IE 2015) (pp. 3-14).

HBODocs. (2011). When Strangers Click: Five Stories From The Internet Trailer (HBO). Web.

Psychology: The Experimental Approach

The experimental approach allows for making conclusions about causal relationships between variables. In experiments, the conditions of the experiment (potential confounders) are kept on a constant level, and the independent variable (IV) is manipulated to see how it affects the dependent variable (DV). The conditions being kept constant permits for concluding that the change in the IV caused the observed change in DV, thus establishing the causal relationship. Using a control group also allows for ruling out other causes of change (Cozby & Bates, 2015).

Ford, Lappi, O’Connor, and Banos (2017) conducted several experiments to determine whether self-enhancing humor could reduce state anxiety about an anticipated stressful event. In the first experiment, participants read self-enhancing jokes, self-defeating jokes, or no jokes (control) prior to an anticipated math test. Thus, the IV was the type of humor (self-enhancing; self-defeating; none = control); the DV was anxiety scores (measured using a questionnaire).

The study exemplifies experimental research because the scholars put the participants into certain conditions and manipulated the IV (used different types of humor on them) to see how this would affect the DV (Ford et al., 2017).

The fact that the participants were subjected to no other influences than the experimental treatment permitted for concluding the causal relationship. As for sample selection, the process is not described; however, it is stated that 123 adult (aged 18-74) U.S. residents were recruited and randomly assigned to the three groups (Ford et al., 2017). The main safeguard against the threat to validity was using the control group.

The experimental design allowed the researchers to conclude the causal relationships because the participants were only subjected to the treatment, and (supposedly) experienced no other outside influences, so it must have been the type of humor that affected their anxiety scores. In addition, the use of the control group allowed for comparing the effects of treatment to the situation with no treatment (Ford et al., 2017).

The article contributes to the field of psychology because it explores the impact of an outside influence (humor) on people’s psychological state (anxiety). It informs literature review of the author of this paper because self-enhancing humor might have some relationship to self-esteem, and elements of self-enhancing humor probably could be used, among other methods, to improve self-esteem (Ford et al., 2017; Yue, Liu, Jiang, & Hiranandani, 2014).


Cozby, P. C., & Bates, S. C. (2015). Methods in behavioral research (12th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.

Ford, T. E., Lappi, S. K., O’Connor, E. C., & Banos, N. C. (2017). Manipulating humor styles: Engaging in self-enhancing humor reduces state anxiety. Humor, 30(2), 169-191. Web.

Yue, X. D., Liu, K. W. Y., Jiang, F., & Hiranandani, N. A. (2014). Humor styles, self-esteem, and subjective happiness. Psychological Reports, 115(2), 517-525. Web.

Authoritarian Parenting Impact On Children’s Health


Parents play a huge role in shaping children’s capacity to handle difficulties or meet their daily mental and physical demands. Hence, the approach deployed to raise children determines their psychological well-being and, consequently, their day-to-day activities. Parenting style may be defined as a collection of strategies and ways of conduct that a parent demonstrates or instills in a child deliberately or instinctively. In this paper, parents who deploy an authoritarian approach to raising their children are presented as contributing hugely to their destruction rather than molding them into reliable citizens.

The Impact of an Authoritarian Parenting on Children’s Health

In a study by Singh, approximately 26% of citizens who are above 18 years in America have reported to have suffered from mental issues in the course of their childhood lives (1523). This figure is significant. It points to a parenting aspect that may have been exercised to the extent of resulting in affecting such children’s psychological conditions.

Although various approaches such as authoritarian, authoritative, and permissive parenting styles may be deployed to raise children, qualities depicted by people who adopt the former method are counterproductive and responsible for health damages reported among teenagers. Although parents are expected to handle children responsibly bearing in mind that they are growing and exploring various elements, any mistake done should not be approached sternly because they hardly do it deliberately.

However, authoritarian parents are characterized by their harsh and strict instructions whereby any violation of what they believe in may result in violence, regardless of whether such a purported offense is committed by an adult or a child (Singh 1522). The way parents communicate, correct, or interact with people, has a bearing on children’s well-being (Uji et al. 295). In particular, authoritarian parents’ failure to analyze an issue in a rational manner before punishing their children leaves them psychologically disturbed. They develop self-esteem issues, which end up affecting their daily operations following the fear that they may be engaging in things, which may result in stern punishment (Uji et al. 295).

This situation creates a permanent atmosphere that has the potential of ruining children’s future lives. Authoritarian parenting builds a counterproductive emotional setting, which children always associate with when carrying out their activities.

Parenting influences the extent to which children’s neuron development occurs. The growth of more than 100 billion neurons takes place in the tender days of a child’s development (Singh 1523). Parents contribute substantially in determining the way such elements bond to build up brain systems via interactions such as genetics, surroundings, and understanding. Children raised by authoritarian parents have higher chances of experiencing health issues ranging from anxiety disorders and stress, both of which are linked to poor neuron development (Singh 1523).

Although children wish to be brought up in an environment whereby they can freely interact with their parents to learn most of the basic elements such as communicating and interacting with others, authoritarian guardians never allow people to approach them, especially those who may not conform to their principles. In this case, children end up suffering considerably in terms of their psychological health because of the stress and nervousness they encounter when trying to adapt to this harsh parenting environment.


Although parents wish to see their children grow to become responsible and reliable citizens, some of the approaches they deploy with the hope of achieving this goal end up ruining their mental health conditions. This paper has linked authoritarian parenting to most of the counterproductive issues witnessed in children in the course of their growth and development. In addition to affecting children’s neuron establishment, these parents’ punitive measures and the failure to handle matters in a logical manner bring about anxiety and stress among young people.

Works Cited

Uji, Masayo, et al. “The Impact of Authoritative, Authoritarian, and Permissive Parenting on Children’s Later Mental Health in Japan: Focusing on Parent and Child Gender.” Journal of Child & Family Studies, vol. 23, no. 2, 2014, pp. 293-302.

Singh, Shweta. “Parenting Style in Relation to Children’s Mental Health and Self-Esteem: A Review of Literature.” Indian Journal of Health and Well-being, vol. 8, no. 12, 2017, pp. 1522-1527.

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