Internet Addicts in Danger
Internet chat rooms have become a devastating disadvantage to the social interaction and growth of people in the world. More and more of the world’s youth are becoming addicted to Internet chat rooms. Not only are Internet chat room relationships leading to impersonal contact of people hiding flaws behind anonymity, they are leading to the abduction of many underage individuals.
In an article published in The Age, a magazine in Melbourne, Australia, Doctor Mubarak Rahamathulla has researched teenagers that have become "pathologically addicted" to Internet chat rooms. Rahamathulla argues that this addiction could damage their social skills as well as their ability to form intimate relationships. Rahamathulla says that "The young people who are introverts who are having difficulties establishing a rapport with others are going to go deeper into these kinds of forums to interact with others, that will further shrink their social network." In Rahamathulla’s research he found that while Internet chat rooms are not the ideal form of communication for most of these "addicted" teens, it is better than no interaction at all. The research revealed that these teens are lonely, usually unpopular and that chat rooms contribute to some teenagers fearing one on one situations. Internet chat rooms do not seem like they are targeting this specific demographic, when it is considered that there are chat rooms for basically every interest any human in the world could think of. So, if Internet chat rooms are not targeting lonely, unpopular teenagers, but those are for the most part the people becoming "addicted" to these chat rooms, are these chat rooms making the people who are interested in them addicted and lonely and anti-social?
Buffalo News in New York recently published an article by Elizabeth Barr that discusses the issues of regular chat room users and specifically those of music chat rooms. Barr opens the article with this passage: "Check any other message board; they’ve got them for every conceivable subject. Comic books, sci-fi movies, long distance running- you’ll find someone chatting about something at any given time of day. And the discussion, for the most part, will be supportive, informative and good-natured. Not on the music sites. These well meaning forums intended to foster peace, love and understanding are a snarling snake pit, with fans one-upping each other with unfounded knowledge and unpopular ideas going down in flames." What Barr addresses in her article is a reflection of what is going on all over the Internet. In chat rooms on millions of different sites people are pretending to be who they are not, because they want to express opinions about a topic they feel passionate about, without being criticized. The idea is that if your screen name is chastised for a certain opinion, you are not really being chastised. It is this mentality that keeps people logged into chat rooms all hours of the day, every...