The risk of youth wasting huge amounts of time on social networks like Facebook
and Twitter as well as the shared videos of YouTube is well known, but a Tel
Aviv University researcher claims that these resources can actually promote
psychological development. Prof. Moshe Israelashvili of TAU’s Jaime and Joan
Constantiner School of Education, with his master’s degree student Taejin Kim
and colleague Dr. Gabriel Bukobza, studied 278 teenage girls and boys from
schools throughout the country.
They found that many teens were using the
Internet as a tool for exploring questions of personal identity, successfully
building their own future lives using what they discover on the Web.
study, published in the Journal of Adolescence
, encourages parents and educators
to look at engagement with the online world as beneficial for teens. Social
networking, Israelashvili says, is a positive example of Internet use: “Facebook
use is not in the same category as gambling or gaming,” he insists, and as a
result researchers should redefine the characteristics of the disorder called
“Internet addiction” in adolescents.
The teens were asked to rate
themselves in terms of Internet use, ego clarification and self-understanding
and how well they related to their peer groups. The researchers discovered there
was a negative correlation between Internet overuse and the teens' levels of ego
development and clarity of self-perception.
This, he said, is an
indication that some Internet use is destructive and isolating while some is
informative and serves a socializing function.
These results show that
the current understanding of adolescent Internet addiction demands redefinition.
Psychiatrists now classify an “Internet addict” as a person who spends more than
38 hours on the Internet every week. But it’s the quality, not the quantity that
matters, argues Israelashvili.
The researchers determined that many teens
who participated in the study met the psychiatric standard of “Internet
addiction” but were actually using the Internet as a tool to aid in their
journey of self-discovery.
There are two different kinds of teenage Web
addicts, he continued. The first group is composed of adolescents who really are
addicted, misusing the Internet with things like online gaming and gambling or
pornographic websites, isolating themselves from the world around them. The
second can be defined as “self-clarification seekers” whose use of the Internet
helps them comprehensively define their own identities and place in the world.
They tend to use the Internet for social networking and information gathering,
such as on news sites or Twitter.
Parents and educators should change the
conversations they have with teens about Internet use, the researchers urge. The
Web is a big part of our modern lifestyle, and both adults and children are
spending more time there. As a result, what is important is how that time is
used. Students must learn to use the Internet in a healthy way – as a source of
knowledge about themselves in relation to their peers around the world,
recommends Israelashvili. If parents still don't like the amount of time their
teens are spending in front of the computer, they should consider becoming an
information resource for their adolescent children, encouraging a healthy flow
of conversation in the household itself.
“Too many parents are too
preoccupied,” the researcher says. “They demand high academic achievements and
place less importance on teaching their children how to face the
Teens won't give up the Internet, but they may spend less time
online if family interactions meet some of the same needs.
“By the time
teens reach the age of 18 or 19 they enter a new phase of life called ‘emerging
adulthood,’ in which they take the lessons of their adolescence and implement
them to build a more independent life. If they have spent their teenage years
worrying only about their academic performance or gaming, they won't be able to
manage well during their emerging adulthood and might have difficulties in
making personal decisions and relating well to the world around them,” he
WHAT DRIVES CAR BUYERS?
What makes a driver ready to buy a car
or discourages him or her from doing so? Sales data cannot provide enough
information to accurately forecast the extent of sales, and especially not the
proportion of people declining to buy. This information is very important to
auto companies like General Motors, which has signed a research collaboration
agreement with the Hebrew University’s Yissum Research Development
The first research project in the collaboration is aimed at
learning how to maximize car sales.
Under the terms of the agreement,
General Motors will fund research projects of interest led by HU staffers and in
return will be granted a right of first offer for procuring an exclusive license
to use any invention or product that results from the research.
Israelis will develop accurate mathematical models that will take into account
not only sales data but also information on people who have decided against
buying a car. Prof. Jacob Goldenberg and Keren Hadad from the marketing
department of the university’s School of Business Administration will lead the
project and provide an in-depth analysis on the rate of buying and factors
contributing to the decision process.
The HU group has developed a
mathematical diffusion model that incorporates potential consumers' decisions to
decline to purchase in response to negative forces acting upon them.
are proud to collaborate with GM, a world leader in vehicle manufacturing. Our
researchers combine excellence and creativity and offer a unique outlook on
consumer decision-making that could have a significant impact on market
understanding and sales in many fields and help with long-term company business
planning,” said Yissum CEO Yaacov Michlin.