Navigation Links
'Finding yourself' on Facebook

American teenagers are spending an ever-increasing amount of time online, much to the chagrin of parents who can't seem to tear their children away from Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook. But despite the dangers that lurk on the web, the time that teens spend on the Internet can actually be beneficial to their healthy development, says a Tel Aviv University researcher.

Prof. Moshe Israelashvili of TAU's Jaime and Joan Constantiner School of Education, with his M.A. student Taejin Kim and colleague Dr. Gabriel Bukobza, studied 278 teens, male and female, from schools throughout Israel. They found that many teens were using the Internet as a tool for exploring questions of personal identity, successfully building their own future lives using what they discover on the Web.

Prof. Israelashvili's research, which was published in the Journal of Adolescence, encourages parents and educators to look at engagement with the online world as beneficial for teens. Social networking, he says, is a positive example of Internet use: "Facebook use is not in the same category as gambling or gaming." As a result, Prof. Israelashvili says, researchers should redefine the characteristics of the disorder called "Internet addiction" in adolescents.

Redefining internet addiction

The TAU researchers asked the teens to rate themselves in terms of Internet use, ego clarification, and self-understanding, and how well they related to their peer group. The researchers discovered that there was a negative correlation between Internet overuse and the teens' levels of ego development and clarity of self-perception. Prof. Israelashvili refers to it as an indication that some Internet use is destructive and isolating while some is informative and serves a socializing function.

These results show that the current understanding of adolescent Internet addiction demands redefinition. Psychiatrists now classify an "Internet addict" as a person who spends more than 38 hours on the Internet every week. But it's the quality, not the quantity that matters, argues Prof. Israelashvili. The researchers determined that many teens who participated in the study met the psychiatric standard of "Internet addiction," but were actually using the Internet as a tool to aid in their journey of self-discovery.

Prof. Israelashvili says that there are two different kinds of teenage "Internet addicts." The first group is composed of adolescents who really are addicted, misusing the Internet with things like online gaming and gambling or pornographic websites, isolating themselves from the world around them. The other group of teens can be defined as "self clarification seekers," whose use of the Internet helps them to comprehensively define their own identities and place in the world. These teens tend to use the Internet for social networking and information gathering, such as on news sites or Twitter.

Adding in family time

Parents and educators should change the conversations they have with teens about Internet use, the researchers urge. The Internet is a big part of our modern lifestyle, and both adults and children are spending more time there. As a result, what is important is how that time is used. Students must learn to use the Internet in a healthy way as a source of knowledge about themselves in relation to their peers around the world, recommends Prof. Israelashvili.

If parents still don't like the amount of time their teens are spending in front of the computer, they should consider becoming an information resource for their adolescent children, encouraging a healthy flow of conversation in the household itself. "Too many parents are too preoccupied," says Prof. Israelashvili. "They demand high academic achievements, and place less importance on teaching their children how to face the world." Teens won't give up the Internet, but they may spend less time online if family interactions meet some of the same needs.

By the time teens reach the age of 18 or 19, they enter a new phase of life called "emerging adulthood," in which they take the lessons of their adolescence and implement them to build a more independent life. If they have spent their teenage years worrying only about their academic performance or gaming, they won't be able to manage well during their emerging adulthood and might have difficulties in making personal decisions and relate well to the world around them, Prof. Israelashvili concludes.


Contact: George Hunka
American Friends of Tel Aviv University

Related medicine news :

1. UH Case Medical Center researchers publish promising findings for advanced cervical cancer
2. Researchers Who Discovered First Genes for Stuttering will Present Findings to the National Stuttering Association
3. VARI findings may help patients with deadly kidney cancer
4. UMass Lowell researchers findings suggest new ways to diagnose and treat Alzheimers
5. Aims to Reduce Obesity Levels Through Sports Participation by Finding Sports Partners/Players/Teams
6. Research findings expected to ease treatment of low neutrophil counts in cancer patients
7. Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute physicians present findings at ACC scientific meeting
8. Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery Web Site Announces Improvements to the Patient Process of Finding Cosmetic Doctors in Their Area
9. ACS Webinar features tips for finding and building a career in public policy and chemical industry
10. Finding Good Migraine Care a Headache for the Uninsured
11. Research findings underscore needed action to safeguard lungs of young cancer survivors
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... November 26, 2015 , ... Indosoft Inc., developer and distributor of ... server to improve system efficiency and reliability. , The new Q-Suite 6 platform is ... the system avoids locking itself into a specific piece of software for many key ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... , ... The holiday season is jam-packed with family dinners, ... attendees is of the utmost importance. Whether you are cooking at home for ... a try this holiday season. , Turkey Croquettes ,     Ingredients: , ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... TyloHelo Inc ... and accessories. , Sauna accessories help improve the bather experience in the sauna, ... basic styles for the purist looking for simplicity in design to accessories that ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... On November 10, 2015, Bohrer ... Court of Connecticut on behalf of a home health care worker who provided companionship ... former home health care workers employed by Humana, Inc., Humana at Home, Inc., and ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... 2015 , ... Lakeview Health, a Jacksonville-based drug and alcohol ... and show through pictures what a positive difference it makes. The social media ... hashtag #FacesOfGratitude on their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts. Short stories can ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... DUBLIN , November 26, 2015 ... has announced the addition of the  ... in the European Cell Surface Marker ... Emerging Opportunities"  report to their offering.  ... announced the addition of the  "2016 ...
(Date:11/25/2015)...  Amgen (NASDAQ: AMGN ) today announced the ... the United States (U.S.) Food and ... to Humira ® (adalimumab). Amgen believes this submission ... FDA and represents Amgen,s first BLA submission using the ... M.D., executive vice president of Research and Development at ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... 25, 2015 AAIPharma Services Corp./Cambridge Major ... at least $15.8  Million to expand its laboratories ... . The expansion will provide additional office ... growing demands of the pharmaceutical and biotechnology markets. ... will provide up to 40,000 square feet of ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: