Mental Health: Global Challenges of XXI Century
The Cognitive Methods of Protection the Adolescences’ Mental Health in the World Wide Web

(Oksana Strilchuk)

Institute of Social and Political Sciences NAES of Ukraine


Introduction. The problem of saving the mental health in the Internet appeared with the understanding the fact that a network contains both opportunities and threats and is not absolutely safe environment for the human. It is especially important in the case of the young generation. The network is the global communicative space which provides everybody’s personal participation. We divide the dangers of the network into the personal and the social ones. The inner psychological problems of the Network use like the Internet Addiction Disorder refer to the personal threats and the different external influences belong to the social ones. They could have the obvious and the hidden content. The obvious social dangers in the Internet are connected with the external psychological pressure and the violence such as propaganda, cyberbulling, cyberharasment, recruiting to the terrorist organizations. The hidden ones are connected with the catching in the Network which is not noticeable for the young person. In this case we mean the mechanisms of individual influence on the user by keeping track of his digital behavior. The network content forms according to the preferences of the certain person who can get information without any additional efforts. The trust to the network grows too much and the adolescents begin to revalue the role of the Internet in their life. The own internet activity turns into the subject of the strong emotional feelings instead to stay the communicative channel.

The teen age is the crisis period of the young person development. The forming of adolescent’s identity is accompanied by the dependence of the external evaluation, the seeking of own social role and the desire to be emancipated. The teenager’s identity transformations are often not controlled during the virtual socialization. It is caused by the freedom of choice and behavior in the Internet and the possibility of external intervention. The adolescents become the object of the third-party influences while using the Network as the source of communication and self-realization.

Purpose. We needed to research how the teenagers were able to detect the threats of the Web through measuring the level of their reflective, critical and analytical perception. In what way they can identify such mechanisms of external influence as suggestion and infection. It was also necessary to research the power of emotional feelings about the personal Internet activity which would help us to predict teenagers’ stresses caused by the Web. The final goal was to create the program of the safe interaction with the Internet which was based on reflective approach.

Design/Methodology/Approach. The theoretical analysis of the different approaches devoted to the problem of the digital safety of the youth. The study of the media culture as the source of preventing the negative media influences. The development of our own diagnostically tools according to our main purposes. The researching how the adolescents were able to regulate their personal Internet activity with using the Internet Disorder tests. The feather creating of the program devoted to the safe interaction with the Web.

Results. The data which were received had proved our assumption that the adolescents were not skilled enough to analyze the information qualitatively. They have a high level of trust to information without critical reflection. A lot of them are not able to identify the hidden influences and to resist the obvious ones. The diagnostic of the Internet Addiction Disorder showed the low level of the ability to control the own Internet activity. While investigating the emotional component we have also came to conclusion that the virtual activity was more valuable for the teenager then the real achievements. Basing on the research we have developed the program of the safe interaction with the World Wide Web which could be provided in the school curriculum.

Limitations and strengths of the study. The strength of the study is in the expanding the vision of the problematic Network use from the subject of psychotherapy to the cognitive ability to identify different external influences. Too wide circle of problems and the fast loose of actuality caused by the rapid evolution of the Web are the limitations of the research.

Practical/Social value. The policy of the mental health saving in the digital world has the limited outlook in Ukraine. It is mostly directed on the studying of the informational war threats what is not enough. Our main purpose is to create the universal program of protection the adolescents’ mental health in the Web which will cover more wide range of the problems then it covers today.

Originality/Conclusions. So, the researches of the human Internet safety have been gone beyond the exploring the Internet Addiction Disorder although it is still staying actual. There are more theoretical researches and less practical work in this sphere. The state regulation and the self-limitation in the Internet use are considered to be the main preventive measures. The Web corporations try to deepen the technologies of the influence on the youth which are impossible to be learned. Despite the opinion that the new technologies give only opportunities we should remember about the risks. The disappearance of the anonymity in the World Web turned it into the tool of the personal hidden influence. The user of teen age doesn’t realize the power of the external impact on his digital and even real behavior. The state regulation and the self-limitation are the temporary and not very effective measures. When the young person will be able to create the own cognitive filter through the developing of the reflective, critical and analytical perception of the information it will help to avoid the main dangers of The Web. The introduction of these cognitive technologies in the modern school should become the priority topic for the public social policy in Ukraine.


Keywords: adolescences, mental health, young person, identity transformation, external influence, reflective perception, public social policy.

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