We have reached a stage in life that WhatsApp has become an essential form of interaction. Its extensive roots can be found across all age groups, especially teenagers. Today’s youth spends hours in the virtual world, mostly during evenings and night-time.
Now, a new study headed by Arie Kizel from the University of Haifa in Israel has concluded that WhatsApp lets young people articulate themselves in ways they cannot at school.
The study which aims at analysing the way people feel the virtual space was recently published online. While, many parents are alarmed about their kids confronting cyber-bullying on social media platforms including WhatsApp; researchers claim that the app provides the teenagers with a more informal forum than schools, to converse and openly express themselves.
Arie Kizel conducted a study where the participants said on record that they felt that there was respect for language on WhatsApp. Kizel exclusively underlined the importance of WhatsApp group chats by saying, “The group chats are based on trust among the members of the group, and this enhances the possibility to be in contact.”
The study was done on two groups comprising of eight members each. The members basically fell between the age group of 14 to 17-year-olds. Thereafter, the participants were asked to examine texts acquired from the class WhatsApp group.
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Questions like, “What do you feel about the relationships that were created in the virtual domain?” “What did the group give you?” “What didn’t the group give you?” “How was this group different from groups that don’t operate online?” were required to be answered.
“On WhatsApp, I usually feel that I am not being judged, particularly because there isn’t any eye contact or physical contact, only words and signs. So, I feel more intimacy and security. I expose myself more, but it isn’t embarrassing, maybe because I don’t see people’s physical reactions,” one participant in the study explained.
Another participant stated that chatting on WhatsApp groups is an cosy and private experience because it’s a place wherein the participant can write without the fear of being overheard.