I recently read about a new study that found how spending a lot of time on the Internet can induce self-destructive behaviour among young people. The researchers at Cornell University, headed by Janis L Whitlock, examined normal behaviour in chat rooms and the use of message boards by adolescents. They observed 406 message boards to investigate how adolescents solicit and share information related to self-injurious behaviour.
They found that online interactions provide essential social support for otherwise isolated adolescents, but the online boards could also encourage self-injurious behaviour and add potentially lethal behaviours to the repertoire of established adolescent self-injurers, said lead author Whitlock.
Internet usage is considerably higher among Asian Indian American youth. Emails, instant messaging, chat rooms, music download, games and others internet offerings are absolutely impossible to live without for this generation. This is also indicative of their extremese sense of loneliness and their quest for community (virtually). Sadly, some are falling prey to pornography and other destructive behaviors.
How can you help young people to be responsible with Internet? Couple of years ago, I decided to do “digital fast” on a regular basis. I found it to be harder that letting go of my favorite food or television show. For someone like me who stays wired all the time, I just wanted to tell myself that world will go on just fine without being plugged in. I wanted to become more conversant with real reality than virtuality!