Several pertinent issues face our modern civilisation living in our Post-Modern world. The continued regional conflicts in countries like Syria, Afghanistan, Mali and Sudan in Africa, and the recent escalation of conflict between India and Pakistan over the contested Kashmir region have highlighted the mental health challenges to both the armed forces fighting in these regions as well as the local populations living in the war-torn zones.

Child soldiers who are forced to fight with the different militias experience levels of violence that no one should ever be forced to face, especially not as vulnerable children. Women and young children are forced to flee from their homes crowding into refugee camps with very little food, water, warm clothing, and personal hygiene requirements. In summary, they live in squalid conditions that are a breeding ground for diseases like typhoid and cholera.

It is therefore reasonably acceptable to assume that the victims (and perpetrators) of these conflicts have a strong chance of ending up with mental health challenges like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. And, from a layman’s point of view, the world seems to be gearing itself up to face these challenges head-on and provide the needed medical care to the people facing these challenges.

The impact of the World Wide Web on our youth

However, there is a sizeable group of global young people who are negatively affected by the world we live in as a direct or indirect consequence of spending time online. Much is made of the advantages of being connected to the Internet.

However, as noted by LinkHelpers Website Design Company because of the open nature of the World Wide Web, there is a side of the Internet that is harmful to the mental health of our youth, especially young teenagers.

Many people have heard of the “Dark Web” and the concept of “peeling back the onion layers” or “onion routing” to gain access to websites that are considered part of the Dark Web. Browsers like Tor are used both by legitimate users who want to browse the Internet anonymously and by groups of hackers who attempt to gain illegal access to restricted sites that contain censored and illegal information.

Because of the open nature of the Internet, it is a simple for teenagers to gain access to these sites where they can view unimaginable violence, pornography beyond the norm, as well as purchase illicit drugs. Consequently, the young people who spend time in these parts of the Internet run the risk of ending up with a serious mental illness, and they do not seek help until it is often too late.

Cyberbullying and online games like the variants of the games encouraging acts of self-harm and even suicide are causing untold harm amongst the world’s youth. Again, teenagers do not talk or seek help until it is often too late. And, they end up with serious mental health issues which can result in acts of violence like school shootings or even commit suicide being committed by these vulnerable youth because of what is available for consumption on the Internet.

Final thoughts

It is reasonable to assume that Internet watchdog bodies, NGOs, and governmental organisations should take the initiative to block users from these types of websites. However, this is easier said than done.

Often the only way for these teenagers to get timeous help is for parents, community leaders, religious leaders, and school teachers to watch for the signs that there are challenges in the youth that they are involved with or have oversight over to intervene before it is too late.

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