There is plenty of complaints about how social media--texting in particular--may beharming children's social and intellectual development. But a new study suggests thatconstant instant messaging (IM'ing)and texting among teens may also provide benefits,particularly for those who are introverted( 内向的).
British researchers studied instant messages exchanged by 231 teens, aged 14 to 18. All ofthe participants were "regular" or "extensive" IM'ers. In the U. S., two thirds of teens useinstant messaging services regularly, with a full third messaging at least once every day.
The researchers analyzed 150 conversations in the study, and reported the results in thejournal Computers in Human Behavior. In 100 of these chats, the study participant beganIM'ing while in a negative emotional state such as sadness, distress or anger. The rest wereconversations begun when the participant was feeling good or neutral. After the chat,participants reported about a 20% reduction in their distress--not enough to completelyeliminate it, but enough to leave them feeling better than they had before reaching out.
"Our findings suggest that IM'ing between distressed adolescents and their peers mayprovide emotional relief and consequently contribute to their well-being," the authors write,noting that prior research has shown that people assigned to talk to a stranger either in reallife or online improved their mood in both settings, but even more with IM. And people who talkwith their real-life friends online also report feeling closer to them than those who justcommunicate face-to-face, implying a strengthening of their bond.
Why would digital communication trump human contact? The reasons are complex, butmay have something to do with the fact that users can control expression of sadness andother emotions via IM without revealing emotional elements like tears that some mayperceive as embarrassing or sources of discomfort. Studies also show that the anonymity( 匿名) of writing on a device blankets the users in a sense of safety that may prompt people tofeel more comfortable in sharing and discussing their deepest and most authentic feelings.Prior research has shown that expressive writing itself can "vent" emotions and provide asense of relief--and doing so knowing that your words are reaching a sympathetic friend mayprovide even more comfort and potentially be the rapeutic. Researchers also found thatintroverted participants reported more relief from IM conversations when they were distressedthan extraverts ( 内向的) did. As Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in aWorld that Can't Stop Talking, wrote recently for TIME: Introverts are often brimming overwith thoughts and care deeply for their friends, family and colleagues. But even the mostsocially skilled introverts sometimes long for a free pass from socializing or talking on thephone. This is what the Internet offers : the chance to connect--but in measured doses andfrom behind a screen.
1. What is the finding of the new study by British researchers?
A) Instant messaging will hinder children's social and intellectual development.
B) Introverted teens may benefit from constant instant messaging.
C) Two thirds of Amebean teens use instant messaging every day.
D) American teens aged 14 to 18 are extensive instant messaging users.
2. What can be inferred from the results of the study?
A) Teens are more likely to send instant messages when feeling distressed.
B) Instant messaging can help completely remove teens' negative emotions.
C) Chat via instant messaging services makes participants feel good or calm.
D) Constant instant messaging can help teens control their negative emotions.
3. According to the authors of Computers in Human Behavior,
A) talking to strangers on the Internet can improve the mood
B) face-to-face talk can strengthen the bond between friends