Self Destructive Behaviors and Internet Usage
- By Sam George
- Published 05/6/2006
Sam George is the Executive Director of PARIVAR International - a non-profit initiative to address the needs of youth and families of Asian Indian origin in North America and to the Asian Indian community worldwide. Parivar means family in many Indian languages. Sam George also serves as one of the founding directors of Urban India Ministries
www.UrbanIndia.org Sam George and his wife, Mary have spoken at premarital and family events in many countries. They are parents of two boys and make their home in the northern suburbs of Chicago. Sam is the author of the book “Understanding the Coconut Generation: Ministry to the Americanized Asian Indians." Check out this website www.CoconutGeneration.com Coconut (brown on the outside, white on the inside) is a metaphor for the Americanized Asian Indians. Sam George can be reached at email@example.com
I recently read about a new study that found how spending a lot of time on the Internet can induce self-destructive behaviour among young people. The researchers at Cornell University, headed by Janis L Whitlock, 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.
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.
Internet usage is considerably higher among Asian Indian American youth. Emails, instant messaging, chat rooms, music download, games and others internet offerings are absolutely impossible to live without for this generation. This is also indicative of their extremese sense of loneliness and their quest for community (virtually). Sadly, some are falling prey to pornography and other destructive behaviors.
How can you help young people to be responsible with Internet? Couple of years ago, I decided to do “digital fast” on a regular basis. I found it to be harder that letting go of my favorite food or television show. For someone like me who stays wired all the time, I just wanted to tell myself that world will go on just fine without being plugged in. I wanted to become more conversant with real reality than virtuality!