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Teens who write blogs are not just trying to get attention and tell the world
what they think, researchers at the University of Haifa who studied the subject
Writing blogs helps youths cope with emotional and social
stresses, they concluded.
Thus, said Dr. Meyran Boniel-Nissim and Prof.
Azy Barak, the young generation writing missives for cyberspace is more
effective therapeutically than their writing a diary for their eyes
Young blog writers who know someone is reading their words bolster
their self-confidence and help them cope with difficulty, the researchers found.
In previous generations, writing personal diaries or articles that no one else
would see was found to be therapeutic. But this does not work in the online
generation, said Boniel-Nissim and Barak.
Publicity about their thoughts
helps them cope better with such difficulties, they said.
identified 161 youths aged 14 to 17 who were diagnosed using a questionnaire
with social and emotional difficulties. They were randomly divided into six
groups. The first two groups were asked to write an Internet blog dealing with
their personal stresses; one group wrote a blog that was open to comments; and
the other did not allow any.
Two others were asked to write a personal
blog dealing with general matters, one open to comments and the other without.
The fifth wrote a diary on their personal computer that was not shown to anyone,
while the sixth was a control group who did not write anything
This activity went on twice weekly for 10 weeks, and all the
blogs were supervised by the researchers to ensure that they did not receive
insulting or damaging replies.
Questionnaires were sent to all
participants before, immediately after and two more months following the
The content and language of the blogs were analyzed from the
The results were that emotional and social difficulties were much
alleviated in those who wrote a personal blog about themselves, compared to
those who wrote nothing.
Among those who did write blogs, the teens who
wrote about their emotional and social difficulties showed a marked improvement
compared to those who wrote only about general topics. Those who received
comments on what they wrote fared better than teenagers who received no
The Haifa researchers concluded that blogs offer the advantage
for troubled youths of airing their problems, getting feedback, social support
and offers for help.
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