Modern information and communication technologies and the behavioral changes in adolescents with a psychiatric diagnosis



Year of publication 2023
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Individual and Society [Človek a spoločnosť]
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Education

Web Přímý link na online fulltext článku
Keywords adolescent; behavior; internet; communication; research; addiction; health
Description For the current generation of teenagers, computers, smartphones and social networks are seen as a completely natural part of their lives. However, the overuse of social networks has been associated with a number of risks such as the possible development of addiction, procrastination and the negative effects on the psychological, physical and social aspects of health. The aim of the research was to analyze the overuse of modern communication technologies on the behavior of adolescents with a psychiatric diagnosis. The research questions related to the participants’ approach to using the internet, the influence of online activities on their behavior, the causes of risky behavior in cyberspace and the factors enabling these risks to be mitigated. The study adopted a qualitative research design using professional documentation, interviews and observations. These were used to compile and analyze case studies of six participants with a psychiatric diagnosis who had been hospitalized in a medical facility. In the monitored group, there were symptoms of overuse or addiction to the internet accompanied by an excessive preference for online activities, withdrawal symptoms and conflict behavior. All the participants lacked a harmonious family background. During their time in cyberspace, they shared experiences with peers, looked for role models, friends and advice and expected support, understanding, recognition and appreciation. High number of their online contacts contrasted strongly with their low activity in the real social world. They used the internet intensively to compensate for their unfulfilled emotional and sexual areas, needs in family and school life as well as sharing their worries, fears and psychological pain. Problem behavior in cyberspace often led to the occurrence or worsening of psychological problems. The support that teenagers found on the internet did not meet their expectations. The use of modern technologies for teenagers brings a certain satisfaction of needs, stress relief, entertainment and education. People with mental health problems can find temporary relief in the online world. Although in the long run, this approach can be risky if a functional support is missing. Moreover, a good environment at school, reliable friends in the real world, varied and high-quality content of free time play a vital role in preventing the overuse of online activities or addiction to them. It is essential that the adolescent experiences success, reward and positive motivation to receive adequate feedback. Appropriate therapy and counseling services can help in cases where problems occur.
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