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The article under consideration is “Internet use, identity development and social anxiety among young adults” by Mazalin and Moore, published in the Behavior Change Journal in 2004. It aims to measure the benefit and harm of the Internet use for personal and social wellbeing of the adult individual. The author analyzes the relationships between the identity development levels, social anxiety and the internet use on the sample of 161 adults aged from eighteen to twenty five years.
Results of the above mentioned study have shown that the more frequent internet use was associated with less mature identity statuses, as well as increased levels of social anxiety in adult males. Spending time in chatrooms, personal online browsing and online games were estimated to be the most damaging for the social development of men. Women appeared to be less active users of the Internet in comparison with men, showing less signs of socially anxiety, and better levels of identity development. Both identity status and social anxiety levels were not significantly related with the time spent online in females. Thus, the major finding of the study consists in the fact that Internet use (chatrooms, online games and personal web-browsing) may cause the lack of maturity and higher levels of social anxiety in adult males, but not in adult females.
Adolescence is at a crucial turning point in life of any individual. Today adolescence starts much earlier than it did one century ago, as the biological initiation of puberty for the majority of people in developed countries begins in much earlier age, due to advanced progresses in nutrition and healthcare. I chose the above mentioned topic to be analyzed in this essay due to the fact that today the influence of the Internet and technologies on the life of younger adults is obviously immense; however its pros and cons still cause a lot of contradictions and controversies in scientific circles.
The beginning of technological era has totally changed life of the present generation. Relationships, communication, psychological well-being were gradually redefined and re-reestimated. Today the Internet is viewed not only as a technological advance but also as a natural environment where individuals spend a lot of time. Though the Internet plays a crucial role in modern society, numerous studies reveal that it provides a context for the social life and development of adolescent in particular. As suggested by theoretical frameworks, identity issues are of top importance during the period of adolescence, since this age group is still under development to reach autonomy and increased self expression. Thus, the development of younger adults with regard to identity is very likely to be affected by internet use.
I find it increasingly important to study how the psychosocial identity formation issue during early adulthood is influenced by the medium of the Internet, because this can have a long-term impact on development and adjustment in individual`s later life . If I was performing a research on the above mentioned topic, I would be sure to use this article as a source, due to its detailed and relevant investigation of the relationship between the identity development levels, social anxiety and internet use in younger adults. Though this study is very informative and useful, it is sure to have certain limitations, such as: the author gives no evidence to prove that social anxiety is caused by increased Internet use and not vice versa. Another limitation is connected with the relatively small number of men in the sample, and the use of only students within the sample base.
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