The Internet culture has currently evolved into a dangerous being with a force of its own. Some teenagers are living their entire lives on the internet – playing in virtual reality, engaging almost exclusively in online relationships, staying glued to their computer screen for hours on end.
Not only is this behavior unnatural, it affects the way these kids are learning to socialize and react to the physical world around them. It also makes them vulnerable to online predators and may give them an inaccurate view of true human nature, because the way people act online does not always correspond to the way they would act in real life. Parents need to learn about child safety on the internet.
Facts About Internet Safety for Teenagers
Teenage Chat Rooms
Online chatting, or technology in place of human relationships, is essentially a safeguard against real human emotion, because all you see are words and text smileys. Teenagers are able to ask someone out casually on AIM before actually approaching them in person.
This helps them salvage their feelings a little if they get rejected, but it is an unrealistic way to approach the issue of relationships and mating because sometimes those things that may potentially help us grow as people need to be taken care of in the real world, and not subjugated to cyberspace.
As if living in this fast-paced Corporate America hasn’t caused enough estrangement between people, the Internet is slowly but steadily alienating adolescents from each other while all the time tricking them into believing that they are staying connected.
Internet Safety Tip
As much as we may think sometimes that the online people we meet and interact with are always authentic, the issue is that we can never really know the entire scope of their attitudes or behavior, because we are seeing only what they project onto a computer screen.
There are so many other aspects of behavior that has to contribute to the overall demeanor of a person that seeing this one tiny portion just isn’t enough to make accurate judgments about people.
Another defect of building relationships mostly or exclusively online is that you start to become emotionally dependent on people who you are only virtually familiar with. You may discover that the person you trusted and thought you knew actually turned out to be totally different than how you’d pictured them.
Basically, knowing only somebody’s online persona can lead to false expectations, which leads to disappointment in the other person and feelings of shame about yourself.
Online Social Communities
Because the Internet cuts out a big part of human emotion, teenagers who spend excessive amounts of time online and not enough in the outside world tend to become emotionally bankrupt or lose a sense of proper human behavior when interacting with someone face-to-face.
People in chat rooms and online forums are often excessively rude and inflammatory for almost no reason at all, perhaps only because they are hiding under the anonymity of their computer screen and their words.
This is a dangerous road to go down, because it’s as if you’re leading a double life; one in which you are suppressing all your emotions, and the other in which you’re expressing them inappropriately to complete strangers. This will ultimately lead to consequences such as loss of identity, resentment of the socially apt, and pent up emotions of fear and anger that may hold dangerous consequences.
While online chatting and communicating over the Internet is a great tool for networking and making friends, it is important to limit the amount of time teenagers spend solely on the Internet, as it may detract from their honing important real-life social skills and possibly lead them into the path of predators, especially in chat rooms with no registration.
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