Remember how awful Junior High was? Full of cool kids and bullies, name calling and cliques.
Well, some experts say that’s what the internet is – it’s junior high school all over again.
Janet Sternberg is a communications professor at Fordham University – who’s been studying how we behave online. She says, the internet is making us immature. It’s produced a Peter Pan effect – where we never grow up, and we never have to take responsibility for anything. You can write something nasty on Twitter – or email a curse-filled rant to a company – anonymously.
And the internet is also full of cliques. Just take a look at your Facebook news feed. You’ll see the class clowns posting crude pictures. The nerds “liking” the new Razor Edge gaming tablet. The drama queens posting drama-filled status updates about their latest breakup and the popular kids getting hundreds of likes on their profile picture.
And if you want to see a playground fight? Just take a look at the way complete strangers hurl insults back and forth in the “comments” section of any post.
Dr. Sternberg says that “restraint is one of the signs of adulthood.”
But the internet is the opposite of restraint. Everything is immediate.
And that instant gratification gives our brains a squirt of feel-good dopamine, which keeps us coming back.
One more reason why the internet is like junior high all over again? It feeds into our desire for attention. We’re longing to be liked and to have the most friends. And that keeps us perpetually in a junior high mindset.