THE IMPACT OF INTERNET USE ON CHILDREN/ADOLESCENTS
By Miss Kaleyvani Geeseeny Sawmy Clinical Psychologist
Few studies have been conducted – that can explain people’s motives for using internet. Research suggest that children use media for entertainment and relaxation purposes (to relieve boredom, to play games, or for social interaction) however little is known about what really motivate children to use Internet.
Use the Internet more for social interaction Social identity, peer interactions, and relationships become increasingly important - thus, it is likely that they become more interested in the Internet for communication purposes, such as e-mail or chat As they mature, they begin to use the Internet more for
Entertainment More interested in playing video and computer games The Internet provides many opportunities to play online games
To seek information, for example, for their homework ( as girls are more compliant so they will listen to parents and teachers) Social interaction ( since girls used to chat and keep in touch with friends)
Exposure to Violence Addiction Social Relations Pornography Eating disorders
Exposure to Violence
With the growing use of the internet by children, there is an increase in online games. These games are very violent and expose children to explicit content and violent situations thus desensitizing the children and making them more prone to inflicting self harm, as well as harm on others. Media violence will have a strong effect on young children. The reason being that they lack the real life experiences to judge whether something they see on screen is realistic.
A person does not become violent while playing a violent internet game but he/she is affected. Two main effects of violence :
Learning of aggressive behaviour Desensitization
A. Learning of aggressive behavior
According to the social learning theory, children may imitate the acts of aggression as seen through the electronic media (Gunter & McAleer 1997:103; Melville-Thomas 1985:9). Children may learn that violence is a useful and appropriate way of solving one's problems. Children can be encouraged to behave more aggressively following exposure to violent behavior. Children who strongly identify with aggressive characters and perceive violence as realistic also tend to display more pronounced aggressive tendencies (Gunter & McAleer 1997:103)
Violent games desensitize children to cruelty and may make them more likely to commit violent acts in real life. An alarming number of children seem to experience pleasure in their media encounters with violent entertainment, and express insatiable demands for more of the violent content (Schwartz & Matzkin 1999:117). Research conducted on adolescents – whereby repeated exposure to films portraying violence, especially with a sexual context where women are victims, was found to shift the attitudes of the young men to be less sympathetic towards rape victims and more lenient in their judgments about alleged rapists. Thus repeated exposure to graphic depiction of violence may lead children/adolescents to adjust their emotional reactions to it. These altered judgments and emotional reactions may be carried over into judgments made about victims of violence in more realistic settings (Gunter &McAleer 1997:105).
The Internet has been called a behavioral addiction. A behavioral addiction is one in which an individual is addicted to an action. Any activity can be addictive if done to extreme. For example, some of the normal everyday activities that can be addictive are jogging, eating, work, etc. Even the workaholic is a behavioral addiction just like the Internet. If it "changes your emotional...
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