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 THE INTERNET AS A MEDIUM FOR INTERACTION

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raj_mmm9



Number of posts : 1850
Age : 55
Registration date : 2008-03-08

PostSubject: THE INTERNET AS A MEDIUM FOR INTERACTION   Sat 5 Apr - 14:52

It is the interactivity of the internet that possibly has the most profound impact on health and healthcare. The universal and pervasive e-mail is making fundamental changes to the way that people work. E-mail communication between doctors and patients is becoming part of medical practice—although a US survey suggests that doctors are reluctant to embrace this new medium until they are convinced it will save time or money(this is understandable, although impacts on effectiveness and quality might also be considered).

The revolution in communication and knowledge exchange between individuals is most evident in the phenomenon of virtual communities. In the health area, an example is support for people with HIV. Peer to peer support in virtual communities benefits from the absence of traditional barriers to access; and online anonymity can be helpful for those who have stigmatizing or embarrassing conditions. The international possibilities of virtual communities allow individuals with rare diseases to find peer support and allow all users to draw on a wide range of health perspectives and experience.

There are concerns that the lack of professional moderation or facilitation in most virtual communities may lead to inappropriate and disruptive use, or to the dissemination of inaccurate messages. (This applies, of course, to any forum where consumers meet face to face.) There are also concerns that participation in virtual communities may become addictive for some users. Problematic or addictive internet use is most commonly associated with the interactive functions of the internet—online shopping, gambling and chatrooms (especially sexual flirtation or ‘cybersex’). A syndrome of uncontrollable internet use to the detriment of other activities such as work or social life has been characterized. Other symptoms of addiction such as irritability and low mood when access is denied, or an increasing tolerance to the length of time spent online, may also be present. Data on incidence are lacking.

There has been speculation that internet use could lead to depression or social isolation. There is a need for high-quality research in this area, with carefully chosen control groups. The work to date suggests that there is no consistent major effect.
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