Friday, 24 February 2012

The benefits of blogging for teenagers

There have been a lot of articles written warning us about the negative effects of the internet and social networking sites on our lives. However it seems that blogging may actually be beneficial for us - and particularly for teenagers who suffer from social anxiety, according to new research published by the American Psychological Society.

The researchers at the University of Haifa, Israel believe expressive writing in any form, such as a personal diary, gives us an easy way to communicate. They believe this therefore helps us better relate to others and allows us to release emotional distress by expressing ourselves freely, which in turn, can improve our self-esteem.

They surveyed high school students who reported some level of social anxiety, assigning each student to one of four groups: two groups blogged online but only one opened their blog up to comments, another group wrote a private diary and the last group did nothing.

In support of results published online in APA journal Psychological Services, the researchers concluded that writing a personal blog significantly improved well-being in terms of self-esteem, social anxiety, emotional distress and a number of other positive social behaviours, compared to those who wrote a personal diary or did nothing. Furthermore, bloggers who wrote specifically about their difficulties and opened their blogs up to comments improved the most.

Considering the documented prevalence of cyberbullying and online abuse amongst teenagers, the latter finding may be surprising. However, almost all responses to participants' blog messages were supportive and positive in nature in this study.

So it would seem that a problem shared, really may be a problem halved after all.

First Psychology Scotland has centres in the following locations:

Edinburgh: 0131-668-1440, www.edinburghtherapy.co.uk
Glasgow: 0141-404-5411, www.glasgowpsychology.co.uk
Aberdeen: www.aberdeenpsychology.co.uk
Borders: 01896-800-400, www.borderspsychology.co.uk

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