Internet could induce self-destructive behaviour
May 2, 2006 - 10:36:37 PM
Spending a lot of time in Internet chat rooms can induce self-destructive behaviour among young people, says a study.
Between 75 and 90 percent of teenagers in the US use the Internet to email, instant message, visit chat rooms and explore other sites on the World Wide Web.
Janis L. Whitlock and other researchers at Cornell University 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. Females 14-20 years of age visited these bulletin boards the most, reported science portal EurekAlert.
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.
Researchers led by Linda Jackson from Michigan State University examined the positive effects of home Internet access on the academic performance of low-income, mostly African American children and teenagers.
The children who participated in the study were online for an average of 30 minutes a day.
Among the Internet benefits, the researchers found that children who used the web more had higher standardised test scores compared to children who used the Internet less, Jackson said.
Some youth benefit from Internet use while for others it can exacerbate self-destructive behaviour, the researchers said.
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