Computer-Mediated Communication: Is it Helping or Hurting?

In recent years, the use of the Internet has exploded. The Internet has opened many doors for a widespread of information but is also used as a crutch for many. All too often people search the Internet to find a quick answer or to seek out someone who has the same ideas or beliefs that they do. Instead of searching for new information, many people are only looking for answers that agree with what they want.

An article I read recently talked about computer-mediated communication and the effect it can have. Computer-mediated communication (CMC) has both its positive and negative aspects. CMC is often a way for people to talk about subjets online that they would feel uncomfortable speaking about in person. It is also a way to create a new identity and link up with people who are similar to you. However, in many instances it can decrease awareness in these people’s everyday lives and sometimes their identity as a whole can be lost if they find themself in a group setting.

When computer-mediated communication deals with suicide and depression, it can be a very tricky path to go down. People who are often feeling lonely, sad, depressed, or suicidal will sometimes reach out to others on the Internet because they feel it is a safer place to let their feelings out. The problem with this is that many of these people will reach out to other’s who are in their same position and not at a stable point in their lives; this can lead to more detrimental thoughts and even result in carrying out the actions of suicide.

The Internet, although helpful, can be a scary place for information on suicide. There is information about getting help and contact information for people to call in a crisis, there is also a lot of information about performing the act of suicide. There was an article written on how few true sources were out there to raise awareness and bring help for those suffering with suicidal thoughts. This article talked about how easy it was to find information on how to carry out suicide but there was less information about getting help. Although I believe this is beginning to change, the amount of information that is out there on performing suicide is alarming.

There are many forums and blogs on the Internet that could be hurtful to someone who is experiencing depression or suicidal thoughts, however, there are also great spaces to interact with medical professionals who can actually help the person that is struggling.

The most important part to remember when it comes to CMC is that every instance is different. With the vast amount of information on the Internet, there are going to be sites and forums that are less helpful than others. When it comes to depression/suicide and computer-mediated communication, it is important to not lose yourself in the thoughts and ideas of others. Looking for information is not a bad thing but remembering to be critical of sources and not to fall into the group identities out there is vital too.

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One thought on “Computer-Mediated Communication: Is it Helping or Hurting?

  1. Curiously enough, it was when I was alone and without any source of communication that I tried to kill myself. Three times, while completely alone, I tried. What prompted those three was not the imput of various means of communication, but the very lack of it. hmmmmm

    What bailed me out, all three times, was intervention by the Lord. We begin to think that because we are people, we have an obligation to be there for those who experience horrible times. How can we? We are individuals, who are limited by the very skin we wear. The only way we can be of any consistent help to sufferers, is that we submit ourselves to Jesus and learn to pray with effectiveness. “The prayer of a righteous ‘person’ is powerul and effective.”

    Bottom line: The Lord is in control and we can only request His intervention, at best. Oh, I know people will tell us that they have learned how to stem the tide of horror. Ok… Sure. Show me where it’s being stemmed. The old saying comes to mind. Even a blind squirel can find an acorn once in a while.

    By His Grace.

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