Does The Internet Cause Psychological Harm To Teens?

from the sounds-familiar dept

It's been about five years since the famous Carnegie Mellon study suggesting that the internet made people depressed. That study got a ridiculous amount of publicity, and its findings were quickly picked apart and discredited. Of course, that won't stop psychologists from coming up with all sorts of ways to prove that the internet is "bad". The latest, is a study out of Australia saying that the internet causes psychological harm to teens. The basis for this conclusion? That many teens are more comfortable chatting online than in person. So, because these teens actually find a social space where they're comfortable communicating (rather than bottling everything up inside) we're supposed to conclude that it's had a bad psychological effect on them. The inherent assumption in the conclusion is that communicating online is bad, while communicating in person is good. It never seems to occur to the psychologist doing the study that by being able to communicate comfortably online, the teen may be able to build up self-confidence in their own opinions and ability to express themselves, which can translate into the real world as well.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    dorpus, Oct 1st, 2003 @ 12:43am

    Cuts both ways

    The internet can just as well serve as a medium for vicious criticism that would not likely occur in real life. People can make fun of a teen's birth defect or whatever online, which they are unlikely to do in real life. Also, the net can exacerbate the negative attention-getting behavior of teens online; in the wake of the Columbine shooting, every chat room on the net seemed to be filled with teens who called themselves "Columbine students". A few years before that, some 15-year-old German girl in a wheelchair pulled a publicity stunt by carving a swastika on her forehead and claiming skinheads did it.



     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    dorpus, Oct 1st, 2003 @ 12:49am

    Destructive sites

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Amy, Oct 1st, 2003 @ 2:13am

    Re: Destructive sites

    How dare you put up www.self-injury.net.
    That is NOT a destructive website.
    I am a self inflictor and I came across www.self-injury.net and have stopped cutting.
    Based on the support I have received from that site.
    I am extremely outraged that you haven't even looked into this and seen how many people are being helped. Have you actually been onto the Message Boards?! Have you read any of the site?!
    I doubt you have.
    Because if you had you would've realised that the creator of this site is trying to help people. Not urge them to hurt themselves.
    We should be commending her. Not condemning her!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Skip, Oct 1st, 2003 @ 2:28am

    Re: Destructive sites

    I am a member of the same group as Amy and I back and agree with every word she has said, the message board has helped me more than once and sites don't make people hurt themselves shit comments and everyday life does....how can it be that you can say it's telling people to hurt them selfs if they are going to do it whether on a computer or not?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Oct 1st, 2003 @ 2:30am

    Re: Destructive sites

    Before getting angry at dorpus, please note that whoever he is, he enjoys posting completely non-sensical and obnoxious things just to piss people off. You're better off ignoring him, though, even I forget that from time to time.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Amy, Oct 1st, 2003 @ 2:33am

    Re: Destructive sites

    Thank you for your true response to say the least.
    I am just angry because the creator of that site is a wonderful person who has helped thousands of people. She really should be congratulated.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    dorpus, Oct 1st, 2003 @ 3:03am

    Re: Destructive sites

    So let's see, a site that is full of imagery of people who have committed suicide or hurt themselves is "helpful". Right. From your response, I can see how teens can defend these thinly disguised pro-sociopathic sites. Pop stars have taken advantage of this aspect of teens for many years.

    Mike, doesn't want to his site turned into a teen flame fest, though I hardly think he is a Gabrielle fan.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    dorpus, Oct 1st, 2003 @ 3:15am

    Sample forum article from self-injury.net

    "...ahhhhhhh. blood. such beautiful crimson life coming out of me. carved masterpeices. my legs. such destruction, yet such wonderful relief. oh to be able to feel... i've gone numb again. though i was hurting so much, it was nice to at least feel something. now i've gone back inside myself to hide again...."

    [Followed by squishy replies of supportive comments]

    So, teens who hurt themselves get all this affection and loving attention from fellow slashers, in the name of "help". I see how this works.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Peter, Oct 1st, 2003 @ 3:37am

    Dorphus

    Dorphus clearly seems to suffer from teenage angst himself. I bet that there's a lost boy inside that cold shell of his.

    -Peter

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    E, Oct 1st, 2003 @ 4:13am

    Re: Destructive sites

    Where's your proof that the self-injury site is at all destructive?

    If maybe you gave me some statistics or even a couple of examples of teenagers who cut themselves SPECIFICALLY because of that site then you would have a valid reason to include it in your list.
    Otherwise you look like an ass.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    dorpus, Oct 1st, 2003 @ 4:18am

    Re: Destructive sites

    Well, it's kind of hard to dig up graves and make dead teens talk, if you were wanting the testimony of those who already visited the site and killed themselves.

    But when you cut that portal to the other dimension on your wrist, maybe you will meet them and they can tell you all about it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    westpac, Oct 1st, 2003 @ 4:51am

    same old same old

    This is exactly why I gave up posting on internet boards last year. Too many teenagers with too much free time who want to piss people off just to amuse themselves. Since Techdirt articles usually only garner a few comments it's nowhere near as bad as most sites (including /.) that solicit comments, but all it takes is one infant peeing in the pool to spoil the party for everyone else. I don't know if any of you ever saw Netslaves, but it went from a good place to hear dot.com horror stories to the biggest left-wing vs right-wing pig-fight since FC abandoned all pretense of moderation. I sincerely hope that doesn't happen here.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    rhi, Oct 1st, 2003 @ 5:28am

    Re: Destructive sites

    can't believe you're having a go at a site that supports people and not sites that encourge and give tips on how to self harm.

    Do some research?

    muppet

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    dorpus, Oct 1st, 2003 @ 5:31am

    Re: same old same old

    Why, we could improve techdirt by having it be a quieter forum where parochial nerds bash the music industry all the time. I'm sure the site's ratings will rise.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    dorpus fan, Oct 1st, 2003 @ 6:00am

    Re: same old same old

    dorpus im with u on this.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    AMetamorphosis, Oct 1st, 2003 @ 7:49am

    Re: same old same old

    Just because some of you don't agree with Dorpus it doesn't make his points less valid.

    Mike, you obviously " fuel the fire " with the post you made in this forum so you're as much to blame for the down slide of this conversation as anyone else.

    Christ, I forget what the topic was even about now ...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 1st, 2003 @ 8:03am

    Re: same old same old

    Mike would prefer it this way.
    And if he has already read about a topic or is aware of a technology , he likes to bash those that try to join in and add comments.
    Example: IM clients and someone committing the sin of mentioning Trillian.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Silver, Oct 1st, 2003 @ 8:27am

    No Subject Given

    ive just been reading over this and i cant believe what some of you are saying.... the first being : -
    "People can make fun of a teen's birth defect or whatever online, which they are unlikely to do in real life."
    the internet definately breaks down barriers, people would say things easier, but the point is, online most people wouldnt know the person HAD a birth defect, and real life? what kinda world do you live in? i think you got it the wrong way round... people are definately more likely to make fun of the birth defect in person.
    the next comment is about the site - self-injury.net and especially the forum, safe haven...
    yea you get sum people on there who are difficult, who promote si... saying things strangely similar to "when you cut that portal to the other dimension on your wrist" hmmm!!!!!
    neway these people get banned pretty sharpish!
    its also full of people! NORMAL people... you cant expect people to be perfect just because there on an internet site... its real...
    but sh is a safe place, its a place built by its members, and especially by gabs...
    "So, teens who hurt themselves get all this affection and loving attention from fellow slashers, in the name of "help". I see how this works." i dont REALLY think you do!! so nice of you to assume you know it all though. people, not just teens! you hurt themselves, get support and make friends which other people who understand them... other people who understand how they feel... for sum people they still cant deal with it all, the site doesnt keep them alive, but who said it was meant to be a miracle cure?
    ever felt lonely? because every1 around you is scared that they'll see a cut or a scar or that youll do sumthg that nobody wants you to do? if you havent felt like that then i dont think you can really totally ever judge on this.
    thats just what i have to say...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 1st, 2003 @ 8:45am

    That's the bell

    Hey, kids, go back to class, let the adults do some quiet reading on technology and for God's sakes just ingore Dorpus.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 1st, 2003 @ 9:09am

    Re: That's the bell

    Fan that flame asshole

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    anon, Oct 1st, 2003 @ 12:38pm

    Any thing can Harm Teens

    This is a moronic study. As you know every person is DIFFERENT and reacts DIFFERENTLY to every thing. Im sure the Internet could be harmful to some and like the holy grail to others. So any post to this story is pointless because there is NO Correct answer.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    pringles, Oct 1st, 2003 @ 1:42pm

    Re: Any thing can Harm Teens

    http://gabrielle.self-injury.net/index.php?showtopic=22910

    look they even made a thread about this
    becuase they are so sad.
    truely pathetic ppl

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    lookie, Oct 1st, 2003 @ 1:43pm

    Re: Any thing can Harm Teens

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    tessa, Oct 1st, 2003 @ 2:24pm

    Re: Any thing can Harm Teens

    We're the pathetic ones? Yeah, whatever

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Luzia., Oct 1st, 2003 @ 2:56pm

    Re: same old same old

    Ok, self-injury.net is not a bad place, not at all. I have been there and it hashelped me, yes, and i have met wonderful ppl from there that has helped me a lot when i needed.
    But lets face it, it`s only internet and a forum on internet is not gonna make ppl stop from cutting or is not gonna make ppl start cutting themselves. It can be triggering yes, but that`s up to the person that goes there. It does not say in anyplace: Hey teens, go cut yourselves.
    I think it`s only a pl˝ace where teens can go and say anything they want without being looked as freaks by the others. Cuz there is ppl who understands them there.
    So i support self-injury.net I think it`s an ok place for ppl who needs help. Cuz it has helped me.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Sharon, Oct 1st, 2003 @ 3:44pm

    my comment

    Are you that twat that got booted out of self haven?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    u twat, Oct 1st, 2003 @ 3:57pm

    Re: my comment

    are u that girl that used to be a gguy?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    dorpus, Oct 1st, 2003 @ 6:42pm

    Gabrielle responds

    In her words,

    From http://gabrielle.self-injury.net/index.php?showtopic=22910

    "Oops. Wasn't trying to get anyone upset. :/

    I myself was amused. This site may not be anti-self-injury but it's certainly not in the same category as the pro-anorexia sites. Maybe if I added some tips on how to cut effectively...

    Gabrielle "

    So, despite the claims of her followers that the site is supposed to "help" people, even Gabrielle admits the site is "not anti-self-injury".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    tessa, Oct 1st, 2003 @ 9:22pm

    You moron

    Just because a site isn't anti-self-injury does NOT mean that it doesn't help people. Maybe you should read the rules Gabrielle has set up for the board, which includes no tips allowed on the board, no telling people how to cut deeper, no sharing of what brand of razors to buy, etc. We don't JUDGE and CONDEMN people who self injure, which is all 'not anti-self-injury' means. Gabrielle's site is NOT pro-SI therefore it is bullshit to categorize it with pro-ana sites like Starving For Perfection that actually DO give tips.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Amy, Oct 2nd, 2003 @ 2:14am

    Re: You moron

    Er...

    Where are the graphic pictures of people cutting themselves?
    I've been a member for quite a few months and I've never seen it.

    And Dorphus you went and looked for a thread.
    Seems you are quite interested in the site and know how to get around... Do you go there more often than you would like to admit?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    dorpus, Oct 2nd, 2003 @ 2:33am

    Re: You moron

    Graphic pictures of people cutting themselves? That's easy, go to self-injury.net's front page and look at "gallery of pain".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    Robyn, Oct 2nd, 2003 @ 3:10am

    Re: Destructive sites

    I'm another member of Self-Injury.net. I'm no longer a cutter, and I joined the board on self-injury.net around the 11-month-mark of my quitting cutting. That website, that message board, the people on the board have kept me from relapsing so many times. They have helped me keep my sanity through the madness called my life. The internet did not make me depressed, my life did. Other cutters, other depressed people don't add to my depression..they remind me that I'm not the only one going through it, and if I'm not the only one, then that means that it can get better. People on the internet (of course along with my real-life friends) have saved me from myself more times than I can count. Self-Injury.net is in no way a harming site. Of course, this is matter of opinion. And my opinion is that anyone who thinks that Gabs and her site are harming people..you're opinion is wrong.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    Silver, Oct 2nd, 2003 @ 3:35am

    No Subject Given

    many other sites have lots of pictures of self injury... im not sure if there are ne of self-injury.net but im sure there not very easy to get to..

    also you can say self.injury.net is bad cos it triggers people but people get just as easily triggered in the world by other methods...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    identicon
    lol, Oct 2nd, 2003 @ 5:41am

    Re: Gabrielle responds

    lol at her

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    Amy, Oct 3rd, 2003 @ 5:48am

    Re: Sample forum article from self-injury.net

    Maybe they had some squishy replies because it was a) a good poem and b) wanted to make sure this person was ok and not reaching out for help through their work..

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    identicon
    Bec, Oct 3rd, 2003 @ 3:59pm

    Re: Destructive sites

    People kill themselves as a direct result of visiting SH? Wow, Gabs is more influential than I thought. And there was me thinking she was running a support board... (note the sarcasm)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    identicon
    Shannon, Nov 17th, 2003 @ 4:24pm

    Re: Destructive sites

    www.suicidemethods.com
    i think that's the correct url, try it with .net or .org. haven't been there in awhile.
    anyways, you all seem to be very interested in finding a gallery of self-mutilation imagery, and that's what you will find on the aforementioned site. it's quite lovely.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    identicon
    Ash, Dec 12th, 2003 @ 4:52pm

    Re: Sample forum article from self-injury.net

    hey jerk back off the self-injury thing ok? Obviously you've never been in those shoes. I have it its harder to quit than anybody else could imagine. It's worse than drugs and we use those so called destructive sites as an outlet to quit cutting. BACK OFF since you've never been there...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    identicon
    tyler beckner, Apr 5th, 2004 @ 10:45am

    Hi AND Help

    Hi im Tyler . B and i am doing a research paper over this. If you dont mind I would like to get more information and ask ?s so please write back.

    Thank you

    Sincerly



    Tyler Beckner LIEUTINANT GOVERNOR DIVISION 33

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    identicon
    wxexnxdxyx, Apr 29th, 2004 @ 11:13am

    Re: Hi AND Help

    FUCK THAT SHIT PUNK!!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 4th, 2006 @ 4:13pm

    Re: same old same old

    skake
    that laffy taffy

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    identicon
    CATHLEEN HENSON, Aug 2nd, 2006 @ 7:56pm

    MY BEST FRIEND

    HI MY NAME IS CATHLEEN AND MY BEST FRIEND
    SHE IS IN A GROUP HOME AND SHE CUT'S HERSELF
    SHE FEELS LIKE NOBODY LOVE'S HER BUT I LOVE HER SO MUCH I'M AFAID ONE DAY SHE'S GOING TO CUT TO DEEP SO CAN ANYONE TELL ME WHAT TO DO


    CATHLEEN

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    identicon
    michelle murray, Sep 12th, 2008 @ 9:40pm

    your best friend replys

    yeah i can don't paste stuff about my personal life on the internet if you was a true friend you would talk to me not poste about me.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    identicon
    Angel, Oct 28th, 2008 @ 4:45am

    No one should encourage cutting or hurting one's self. If you have a problem YOU need to seek help and maybe your friend didn't talk to you because you're hard headed.Only God can take away your pain in a way that doesn't hurt. I once hurt myself but I finally realized it's a waste of time because I was still not happy with who I was.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    identicon
    internet 'safety', Feb 22nd, 2011 @ 4:52am

    Re: same old same old

    That's what internet boards are all about. Arguments are a beautiful aspect of the internet... you get to prove idiots wrong all the time lmao.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This