Teens who spend time online not dorks after all – study
Get more sex, drink more. Don't wear seatbelts either
News today which upsets the stereotype of teenagers who spend a lot of time online or otherwise fooling with computers: rather than being lonely dorks with poor social skills who seldom leave their bedrooms, such kids are in fact more likely to get squiffy, have sex and even to take drugs than their less tech-savvy peers.
The revelations come in research conducted lately in Canada among 10 to 16-year-olds by epidemiology PhD candidate Valerie Carson.
"This research is based on social cognitive theory, which suggests that seeing people engaged in a behaviour is a way of learning that behaviour," explains Carson. "Since adolescents are exposed to considerable screen time – over 4.5 hours on average each day – they're constantly seeing images of behaviours they can then potentially adopt."
Apparently the study found that high computer use was associated with approximately 50 per cent increased engagement with "smoking, drunkenness, non-use of seatbelts, cannabis and illicit drug use, and unprotected sex". High television use was also associated with a modestly increased engagement in these activities.
According to Ms Carson this is because TV is much more effectively controlled and censored in order to prevent impressionable youths seeing people puffing tabs or jazz cigarettes while indulging in unprotected sex etc. The driving without seatbelts thing seems a bit odd until one reflects that old episodes of the The Professionals, the Rockford Files etc are no doubt torrent favourites.
"TV and video games have more established protocols in terms of censorship, but internet protocols aren't as established," says Ms Carson. "Parents can make use of programs that control access to the internet, but adolescents in this age group are quite savvy about technology and the internet. It's possible that these types of controls aren't effective in blocking all undesirable websites."
If you want to you can read Carson and her colleagues' paper here, courtesy of the journal Preventive Medicine. ®
oooooh and online survey
since I spend all my time in the basement surfing the internet, I will enjoy this. Let's see:
Question 1, do you have sex?
Oh crap, better make something up quick, "10 times a night". Yeah that ought to stick.
Question 2, do you wear a seat belt?
Well I don't own a car, so no.
Question 3, do you partake in the consumption of alcohol?
I am partaking in it now.
Question 4, how many friends do you have?
I will just put 7, as that is the number of n00bs I have pwned today.
Teens who spend time online not dorks after all..
That's what I was trying to tell them while they were flushing my head down the toilet.
Missing the point
Just using a computer to browse social networks isn't the same as writing the next great social application or hacking NASA looking for extraterrestrials. I'll bet that there are still a large number of "lonely dorks" out there. Too much emphasis is given today to the supposed ability to use a computer mistaking that for understanding them and being able to USE them.
The ability to click a link does not a dork make, lonely or otherwise.