Social Anxiety V The Internet

Discussion in 'Opinions, Beliefs, & Points of View' started by Perfect Melancholy, May 20, 2010.

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  1. Perfect Melancholy

    Perfect Melancholy SF Friend

    Okay I was curious and thinking about this a lot, with the development of technology is the internet a good or bad thing. Yes there are sites like this one developed to help people who are struggling etc. And I know for one thing I would not be here if it wasn't for sites like this and people I have meet online.

    Also it has made getting help more accessible with self help guides and online support services, but are these any substitutes for professional clinical treatment?


    On the other hand is it an easy escape out, I mean I struggle to talk to people in normal everyday scenarios, I have had girlfriends but all of them have just happened, is the internet a means to an end. Are we making things worse because we can hide behind a text message, email, or pc screen?

    On the same hand it may also put people of seeking help, and also encourage them to hide behind a screen as a form of self reliant coping mechanism, I know I do sometimes I panic if I am not logged on my laptop even though I just sit there, In Japan they now have rehab clinics for anyone people who are addicted to the internet.

    I guess I was just curious to see peoples thoughts and reactions to this?
  2. Prinnctopher's Belt

    Prinnctopher's Belt Antiquities Friend SF Supporter

    The internet isn't a viable substitute for physical contact. It just makes a connection faster; but as they say, brevity over quality is a formula for destruction.
  3. SAVE_ME

    SAVE_ME Well-Known Member

    Until you sign up on facebook and have people from the real world adding you as a "friend" every 5 minutes...people from nursery, primary school, high school, work, college, brothers, sisters, Aunts, Uncles, grandparents, that nice old next door neighbour you haven't seen or spoken to since you were yay high...and much of your personal life becomes public knowledge and then it doesn't seem like much of an escape anymore. I used to be a lot more comfortable using the internet because of it's anonymity. I could post on forums like this one without having to worry that friends or family would find out I was suffering from depression. But it seems like everyday something else comes along to breach your privacy just that little bit more until you have virtually none. There's a veil between the online world and the real world and it's getting thinner and thinner all the time. Nowadays, one of your family members or rl friends takes an embarrassing snapshot or recording of you on their mobile phone and within seconds it finds its way to the world wide web and you can almost instantly become an internet meme. Et voila! Goodbye privacy! You don't even have to own a computer to do it either. It's scary! I hate what the internet has become.
  4. Perfect Melancholy

    Perfect Melancholy SF Friend

    I agree with what you have written, even things like messenger to be honest I hide offline it is not because I don't want to talk to people it is just that I do not feel comfortable having people know I am online.

    The internet used to be a place you could hide from the world, feel safe and secure in its anonymity now a simple search you can pull up all sorts of details on people just knowing there full name and location.

    But at the same time I really do not know were I would be without it, for a start I would have had nothing to do but watch tv the last week and I cannot focus for long periods of time.

    But at the same time is it healthy I spend so much time online, is it stopping me achieving what I want to, I really do not know.
  5. Lovecraft

    Lovecraft Well-Known Member

    It all comes back to nature vs nurture. How much of this comes from people not being raised in an internet world, and how much is inherent?
  6. aoeu

    aoeu Well-Known Member

    Well, both my parents had pretty strong social anxiety. I suspect the internet thus had little effect in causing my social anxiety as a result. I think the internet is a good thing for social anxiety: I don't think I would be outgoing in real life no matter what, so I'd just be alone without it.
  7. alison

    alison Well-Known Member

    I'm definitely torn on this.

    On one hand, I've met a lot of people through the internet (one forum in particular) that have helped me through so many things. Friends I've met online have helped me get into therapy, stop certain destructive behaviors, give advice that I'd be too afraid to ask someone in real life for... they've even helped me with my homework lol.

    But on the other hand, when things are tough, I like to isolate myself from the real world. Especially when I was an undergrad living in a single, I would stop going to classes and just be by myself for weeks. Before my forum days, I would get bored and force myself to face my anxieties and be with people. But now, its so easy to just hang out on my laptop and not get out of bed for days.
  8. plates

    plates Well-Known Member

    There are things like net addiction, I went through something similar many many years back- (I cannot believe it), I remember going to SA boards where many many people were addicted to the net and had no contact with people outside of their computers, which reflected in a lot of their posts.

    It really depends on how you use it. If you use the net responsibly- or if you abuse it. I personally do not have any need to hide; talking to people on this forum isn't different to how I talk to people offline- I talk frankly and I'm friendly (but sometimes I bite my tongue far too often and I use this place to offload when I feel like I can't take anymore)- and the online world is not safe, I found out through personal experience.

    I'm not socially anxious but I'm definitely prone to be addicted to the net, not in terms of social contact but music! I can lose time just listening to music online and, from personal experience, being online for too long does me no good mentally. Getting rid of my net connection in my flat many years back was one of the steps that helped me organise my time better.
  9. Perfect Melancholy

    Perfect Melancholy SF Friend

    Thank you for the replies so far, there have been some really interesting comments, I am still torn on this matter. For example on thing the internet has done for me from a self development angle is I have learnt how to code and build websites, okay I am not great but I have done a couple for friends and they like them so that is all that matters! It gives me something to do when I am alone.

    Another thing that makes it so easy though to fall into the online trap is that you can control who you talk to. You dont have to force yourself to talk but you know people are there if you need them and I agree with what ggg4567 says in a way.

    Alison I agree I am torn too, it is such a hard one to decide on, I try and keep an open mind but also at the same time trying to figure out if it is doing more harm then good?

    aoeu I would be interested to hear, has it helped you with your anxiety? knowing that you can talk to people online while not having to go out? It has me but at the same time is stopping me going out in a way.

    Lovecraft I understand what you are saying about nature v nurture but in the world we live in a lot of people are now brought up with the internet, I mean take my generation I am 26 I was brought up on tv, and video games the internet seems the natural progression on this. Say for example your a kid and your dad worked away well instead of calling you might talk to him over skype, thus bringing the internet back into the environment we live in.
  10. aoeu

    aoeu Well-Known Member

    I think it's helped with anxiety, actually. It's provided me with opportunities to actually interact with people safely and learn from that - if I blow a conversation on the internet it's much less painful than blowing one in real life.

    I don't think it's stopped me from going out. I think it's actually helped me in that regard, as it has helped me meet people to go out with. The only friend I've seen in person in about a year now I met online, and we see eachother lots. She's currently trying to get me to meet some of her friends but I can't make that step :\
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