The internet can be criticized and praised for its various contributions, but one worthwhile addition it has made to our culture is that it holds people accountable for their actions. How many times have we seen videos go viral of a person doing something they should not have done and the world unites in reprimanding them. We are now constantly aware of smartphones and recording devices being all around us, and we monitor our behavior so that we are not tried by a jury of our internet peers. In a similar sense, we are held accountable for the opinions and actions we make about addiction and mental disorders online.
In recent years, there has been a surge of information made public on the stigmatization of mental disorders and addiction. Awareness has increased greatly on the seriousness of mental health issues and new levels of respect have been achieved on the matter. Therefore, intolerance of mental disorders and addiction online is quickly chastised and reprimanded. We are developing a collective consciousness on mental health that is more ethical than it has been in the past. This is positive in the sense that it promotes tolerance and discourages discrimination.
As quality information on addiction and mental disorders is shared and passed around online, mental health is socially negotiated between groups of people. One of the ways that humanity determines that something is true is through social negotiation: forming collective opinions through public discourse. One of the ways we determine our societal values on addiction and mental disorders is by debating together and challenging one another’s beliefs. It is very common for people to hold incorrect perceptions of addiction and mental disorders as they have been largely misunderstood through out history.
Although the internet is guilty of increasing certain conflicts, when it comes to addiction and mental disorders, the internet has set many misconception straight and circulated a great deal of valuable information.