(May 2003 - March 2007.) Tama's thoughts on the blogosphere, podcasting, popular culture, digital media and citizen journalism posted from a laptop computer somewhere in Perth's isolated, miniature, urban jungle ...

Wednesday, October 01, 2003
The Net: Almost as Bad as them darn Books!

Australian IT reports "'Net may harm kids': academic":
A UNIVERSITY lecturer studying the effects of the internet on teenagers believes the technology may have damaging psychological consequences. Dr Mubarak Ali Rahamathulla, a lecturer at Flinders University in South Australia, is staging one of the first Australian studies into the psychological impact of the internet on teenagers aged between 15 and 17. He said prolonged internet use may have damaging psychological effects on introverted teenagers who were uncomfortable communicating with people in a one-on-one social situation. Dr Rahamathulla said given their already poor social skills, shy teenagers felt more at home communicating through a technological medium, and thus were in danger of becoming even more introverted or not being able to relate to people in real life situations at all. Dr Rahamathulla also was investigating teenagers' attraction to using webcams as a vehicle to push their sexual boundaries.
So the Internet is to blame, eh? Actually, it might the the reporters who deserve my wrath, but why do people keep assigning agency to the amorphous global digital networks that call under the rubric of "the Net"? Or, indeed, the naughty, naughty Net according to many reports! *sigh* The Net doesn't do anything by itself it a medium or, more accurately, a convergence of media, so why blame it? We've established the books don't make anyone do anything ... ideas might, and the distribution of ideas might and, yes, the medium has an impact of those ideas, but the books is not the devil. Nor it the Net. Nor, I'd like to add, are 15-17 year old shy teenagers, although they tend to get blamed for a lot (and the report has all the trappings of a who-to-blame-after-Colombine reaction to me!). (Yes, this has turned out to be more of a rant than I expected ...).



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