A new study conducted regarding use of the internet by young people has highlighted that spending hours on internet chat rooms can induce self-destructive behaviour. The findings of the study have several valuable implications on the health of the younger generation, where 75- 90% of teenagers in the US access the World Wide Web to exchange e-mails, instant messages, visit chat rooms and other similar web applications.
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.