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The Bad Effects of The Internet On The Teenagers

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Brent Staples is an editorial writer for the New York Times. In “What Adolescents Miss When We Let Them Grow Up in Cyberspace”, Brent writes about how teenagers nowadays spend too much time on the Internet to communicate with each other, and forget to interact with families and friends in the real life. Using the Internet too much cost the teenagers don’t have socializing, the real world experience that would allow them to leave teenagers behind and grow into adulthood. (Staples 18) I strongly agree with Staples that many teenagers spend too much time on the Internet for chatting and playing online games than for studying and socializing. When teenagers spend too much time on the

Internet, they will miss out the experience of talking face-to-face and don’t know how to communicate to a job later. Indeed, the Internet seriously takes away the socializing time of teenagers and makes them don’t have any social skills to communicate with the people in the real world. Over the past few months, I found out Facebook has become increasingly prominent in the lives of UC Davis students. Conversations are no longer made in real life person. Instead, many UC Davis students log in to their free Facebook accounts to communicate with each other. Moreover, I saw many of my friends send messages through Facebook to their next-door neighbor instead of walking a couple steps to meet with their neighbors face-to-face.

They are seriously missed out the advantages of talking face to face. One of those advantages is body language. Over the Internet you cannot read people’s body language and interpret your impact on them. If someone is leaning in to listen to you, you absolutely can tell they are interested. However, on the Internet, you wouldn’t have that opportunity. Moreover, if you ask someone a question directly face to face, you can see the emotion when they are comfortable answering a question or not and also they cannot go to…

Oxford researchers have found internet forums provide a support network for socially isolated young people. However, they also conclude that the internet is linked to an increased risk of suicide and self-harm among vulnerable adolescents. Following what is thought to be the biggest review of existing studies into internet use and young people, the researchers suggest that, in future, clinical assessments of such young people should include questions about the online content they have viewed. The global review, published in the journal PLOS ONE, shows that young people at risk of self-harm or suicide were often online for longer periods than other teenagers.

The Oxford team analysed a total of 14 studies and found contradictory findings on whether the internet exerted a positive or negative influence. Some studies found that internet forums supported and connect socially isolated people, helping them to cope. But other studies concluded that young people who went online to find out more about self-harm and suicide were exposed to violent imagery and acted out what they had seen online. The review finds that internet use is linked with more violent methods of self-harm. Moderate or severe addiction to the internet is also connected to an increased risk of self-harm, as well as increased levels of depression or thoughts about suicide, according to the Oxford review. The review also says there is a strong link between young people using internet forums and an increased risk of suicide – a connection not found in relation to other social network sites.

In one of the studies reviewed, well over half (59%) of young people interviewed said they had researched suicide online. Meanwhile, of 15 teenagers who had carried out particularly violent acts of self-harm, 80% said they had gone online to research self-harm beforehand. Of 34 who self-harmed by cutting, 73% said they had researched it online. Young people who used the forums stressed the value of anonymity. One of the studies reviewed suggested that young people using the forums appeared to normalise self-harm. Most users went to the forums for empathy or to discuss safety issues rather than talk about how they could reduce their self-harming behaviour. Another study showed that out of nearly 300 posts, 9% were about methods of self-harm and users went to the forums to swap tips on how to hide the problem.

Internet forums did not make the users feel any better, and in some cases they showed signs of increasing distress after using the sites, said one study. However, another study contradicts this, saying that an analysis of the posts created by forum users reveals that by the third month they were less distressed than they had been in the first couple of months. Young people who went to the forums said positive behaviour was encouraged – they congratulated each other for not cutting or urged one another to seek help from GPs. Despite this, the review says that overall although forums may have provided emotional support, there is no evidence to suggest that this translated into young people actually reducing levels of self-harm.

There was no consensus among users as to whether forums altered this behaviour. The review also highlights the risk of cyber-bullying to vulnerable young people. Online bullying was found to make victims more likely to self-harm. One study suggested that it slightly increased rates of attempted suicide by the victim as well as the perpetrator. Email was used in 18% of cases of cyber-bullying, followed by instant messaging (16%), MySpace (14%) and chat rooms (10%), says the review. Senior co-author Professor Paul Montgomery, from the Centre for Evidence-Based Intervention at the University of Oxford, said: ‘We are not saying that all young people who go on the internet increase their risk of suicide or self-harm.

We are talking about vulnerable young people who are going online specifically to find out more about harming themselves or because they are considering suicide already. The question is whether the online content triggers a response so that they self-harm or take their own lives and we have found that there is a link.’ Senior co-author Professor Keith Hawton, from the Centre for Suicide Research at the University of Oxford, said: ‘Communication via the internet and other electronic means has potential roles in both contributing to and preventing suicidal behaviour in young people. We are only now beginning to realise the extent of these possible influences and this review is a contribution to this knowledge.

The next step is going to be development of therapeutic interventions using these channels of communication, especially to access those who do not seek help from clinical services.’ Lead author Kate Daine, a postgraduate researcher from the Centre for Evidence-Based Intervention, said: ‘There are no known online interventions to date that specifically target young people at risk of self-harm or suicide and yet we find that adolescents who self-harm are very frequent users of the internet. While social media might be useful for supporting vulnerable adolescents, we also find that the internet is doing more harm than good in some cases. We need to know more about how we can use social media as a channel to help young people in distress.’

Responding to the review, Joe Ferns, Executive Director of Policy at Samaritans, said: ‘We should acknowledge that many people are using suicide forums and chat rooms to anonymously discuss their feelings of distress and despair, including suicidal thoughts, which may have a positive impact on the individual. They may be expressing feelings that they have never disclosed to anyone in their offline lives. Rather than concentrating primarily on ways of blocking and censoring such sites, we should think about online opportunities to reach out to people in emotional distress. However, deliberately encouraging or assisting suicide online is already a criminal offence and, where possible, the authorities should use their existing powers to prosecute malicious individuals who do this.’ Back to top

Nobody can deny the important role of Internet in our everyday life. People of all ages are using it to find information and entertainment. They also look for financial matters. Teens are no exception. Obviously Internet is a valuable tool, but is somewhat misused by contemporary society. The main group that has been affected the most by technology in modern time is teenagers. Truly, the two main forms of technology affecting our teenagers are cell phones and the Internet, which have brought main variations to their lifestyle. Since maximum teens have access to the Internet, either at home, school, public library, or on their cell phone, parents should be responsive of how its overuse or misuse can adversely affect their teen.

The teenage period is often characterized by unstable emotional state. During this period young people are shifting from being a child to being an adult person. In addition, a lot of young people try to establish their roles in the society, to understand their feelings and attitudes. Approximately 90 percent of all young people are online. Teenagers are visiting the web sites of their favorite TV shows, singers, bands, movies, video games, etc. Moreover, they are attracted to the commercial sites, since the web sites are designed in bright colors to be appealing in order to attract teenagers and involve them in interactive games. When teens spend numerous hours per day using the Internet, they reduce the time they have to spend with family, friends, on school work and physical activities. According to Larry D. Rosen, PhD, professor of psychology at California State University: “Young adults with a strong Facebook presence show signs of antisocial behaviors, mania and aggressive tendencies.

In addition, daily overuse of media and technology has a negative effect on children and teens, making them more prone to anxiety, depression and other psychological disorders.” The rising and extreme use of the internet among the teenagers has also mostly been influenced by the affordability and availability of internet both at school and home. This continued use of internet by the teenagers has tremendously affected the youngsters with time. To be specific, most teens who have excessive use of internet have continued to have problems academically, socially and even morally. Teenagers who have an unhealthy dependence on the Internet are almost twice as likely to become depressed as other teens. It has been established that children who occupy most of their time on the Internet, show a weird kind of behavior which is marked by an urge to be on the Internet all the time, so much that the child may ignore all activities and become dipped in the virtual world.

Surveys conducted over the years have found that most people who suffer from Internet addiction disorder are young adults, who easily fall into the lure of exploring everything that is available on the Internet. According to a new report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project, 95 percent of teens ages 12-17 use the Internet, and 81 percent of them use social networks. As of 2012, about 94 percent of teens who use social networks have a Facebook profile, and their average number of Facebook friends is about 425. Twitter is the second and third most used social networks, with 26 percent and 11 percent of teenage users respectively.

The internet offers a variety of free information and resources that can either build or destroy the life of a teenager. As a result, many teens have ended destroyed morally and psychologically due to excessive use of the internet for the wrong reasons. Obviously, information posted on the Internet is lawless. The information on the Internet is uncontrolled and there is no way to check its reliability. Consequences children face by getting on the Internet are that they are less able to discriminate between what is real and is not real, and they are unable to test reality in the virtual world. In fact, today’s teenagers are using technology more than ever. Most of them have Internet access, which they use to send and receive email, instant messages, live chat, and more.

Rarely do they stop to think about how harmful the Internet can be, such as exposure to pornography, cyber-bullying, etc. However, the Internet has adverse effects on teenager’s social life. There are vast collections of games that are available on the Internet and this has made most children to shun all outdoor activities. In the absence of physical activity, children can easily fall prey to a lot of diseases such as obesity, depression etc. And further more sitting continuously in front of a computer screen can seriously damage their eyes, and put a strain on neck and shoulders. Children are in their developing years and these factors can create life-long problems for them. The over use of internet by teenagers may affect their mental health. Teenagers who grow up interacting online may find it harder to make friends in the real world and they became aloof, withdrawn and depressed.

Technology that surrounds everyone in the current civilization, affects our mind, work and even lifestyle. It has many positive aspects, but using it the wrong way could be dangerous. One of the greatest threats Internet provides to children is an easy medium to gain access to pornography and this can cause them to either become sexually-deviant or sexually-addictive. This phenomenon has also caused another problem, and that is the increase in prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases (STD) in children. The adult content that is present on the Internet promotes irresponsible sex and creates false notions in the minds of youngsters. Not only these but children have also been lured by pedophiles posing as good and have been physically abused and molested.

Internet has also made it easy for crooked elements to get in touch with children and this has led to an increase in the cases of kidnapping and identity thefts. About 60% young teens in the United States have admitted to responding to messages from strangers. This kind of behavior is extremely risky and has made children extremely vulnerable to become victims of cyber-crime. Nowadays most of the parents often encourage their children to use the Internet to access useful information. However, giving them unmonitored and endless freedom often allows them to go astray. While parents think their kids are searching for information on the Internet, or to complete a homework assignment, they may well spend hours playing games online or come across websites that are not meant for them, including those with inappropriate content such as unsuitable images or videos, information facilitating the use of drugs or alcohol or any kind of violent content. This is not the only threat a child may face while using the Internet.

Too much exposure to the Internet may lead to addiction. Experts say excessive time spent on the Internet negatively affects the child’s confidence, activity levels and diet, and may lead to sleeplessness, constant headaches and a change in eating habits. Most parents are not involved in their children’s Internet surfing habits and are not aware of which sites they visit. The growing trend to use Internet without a check among children all over the world is a matter of serious alarm and concern for the parents. They must wake up before the light of children’s future begins to dim by misuse of Internet. They must actively participate in deciding what children need to access on the Internet and what not to if they truly wish their children to grow without their innocence being corrupted or tainted. Technology as an invention is not a bad sign but the use of restricted content on Internet without the age of children suitable for having it will have a long term psychological implications upon the growing soul. It is time parents realize how important their involvement means to the education of children.

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