Whitlock blogs on youth and mental health for Psychology magazine.
Subject: Child mental health (Media coverage)
Weblogs (Authorship)
Pub Date: 05/01/2010
Publication: Name: Human Ecology Publisher: Cornell University, Human Ecology Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health; Science and technology; Social sciences Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2010 Cornell University, Human Ecology ISSN: 1530-7069
Issue: Date: May, 2010 Source Volume: 38 Source Issue: 1
Topic: Event Code: 290 Public affairs
Product: Product Code: 8520100 Research Personnel NAICS Code: 54171 Research and Development in the Physical, Engineering, and Life Sciences
Persons: Named Person: Whitlock, Janis
Geographic: Geographic Scope: United States Geographic Code: 1USA United States
Accession Number: 230063979
Full Text: In "Youth and Consequences," a new blog for Psychology Today, Janis Whitlock, research scientist in the Family Life Development Center, sheds light on adolescent mental health in the new millennium. Her monthly posts have examined everything from cutting and other forms of self-injury among youth, to the fissures in the collective American psyche that may have influenced last year's shooting rampage at Fort Hood, to the interplay between addiction and the search for happiness in teens.

"I see promoting dialogue related to issues that bridge science and everyday life and experience as central to my work and professional passion," Whitlock said. "Psychology Today is a great venue for this, and the blogging environment allows for intellectual freedom."


In November 2009, Whitlock explored the growing narcissism among America's youth, as more of their lives are laid bare on the Internet. To what extent does our reliance on technology contribute to such egotism? And in a culture of 24/7 news, unyielding blog traffic, social networking, and tweets, are today's youth equipped to think deeply and analyze complex information in a meaningful way?


Whitlock thinks there is reason for concern, but unlike many, she is optimistic.

Rather than wring her hands with a kids-these-days lament, Whitlock explained how teens, in their online lives, gaze into a mirror that "reflects the dreams, innovations, and human agency of their elders." Thus, any examination of how our wired society affects youth must also examine its implications for adults.

She concluded her blog entry on a hopeful note.

"We may be infatuated with the two-dimensional representation of self that is tweeted, IM'd, and Facebooked back to us in lightning-fast time, but we will inevitably tire of this too--for it will not satisfy the longing to connect with our deeper self, what my student identifies as the 'natural and spiritual,'" she wrote.

"And, equipped with the consequent teachings of this age, we will discover ... that human beings and brains are much more plastic than we thought. When our individual and collective success demands that we concentrate on something for longer than four seconds, our youth will be the first to lead us out of the tweeting age and into the next age--whatever it may be."

Follow Whitlock's Psychology Today posts at www.psychologytoday.com/blog/youth-and-consequences.
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