The internet offers countless benefits but there are also drawbacks. A peak on a forum thread that debates the hottest topic may show you some of the ugliest parts of the human nature.
European scientists have started an initiative that aims to find out if heated forum discussions may influence in the long run.
The group will receive funding from the European Union, and an international team of researchers from multiple fields will be formed, in order to create a comprehensive study.
As billions of people use the internet daily, its effect should be observed and categorized for the best interest of humanity. The research will be spread over several areas. One of them is the toxic attitude encountered in competitive online gaming, best exemplified in titles like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Overwatch.
Another interesting topic is the possible existence of genetic traits that may increase our vulnerability when it comes to issuing encountered while browsing the Web, like biomarkers, or more traditional clues like the time spent on a certain website.
One researcher has declared that it is important to remember that the internet is not a passive platform, and some regulations should be added in order to assure that everybody benefits from interacting with it.
One of the most hotly-debated topics is the problem of loot boxes in virtual games, considered by many health and government authorities as covert gambling, since you are paying real money in order to try your luck.
The initiative also aims to solve some of the highly-debated issues found in the field. When the World Health Organization added video game addiction to its International Classification of Diseases some researchers argued that gaming and porn addiction are not a standalone issue, being instead a sign of a larger problem, like depression.
More than 100 researchers from 38 countries have been already recruited as the study will soon start.
Ed Steen is a reporter for Miami Morning Star. After graduating from University of Florida, Ed got an internship at NPR and worked as a reporter and sound engineer. Ed has also worked as a reporter for SI Magazine. Mark covers entertainment and community events for Miami Morning Star.