The Peter Pan Syndrome

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Here's one trend I've observed from hanging out in messageboards that are usually geared towards interests that are normally for kids (Ragnaboards, 4chan's /a/, some other anime web forums). People who stay there long enough and hang out with the people who also visit the site tend to slow down their rates of social maturity, if not halt it altogether.

The Peter Pan Syndrome is a term for people who tend to get stuck in the childhood phase, and for the duration of their lives stick with whatever things they took interests in as juveniles. While the causes of this psychological state are often attributed to childhood trauma or hormonal imbalances, there is a growing evidence (at least for me) that the conditional environments brought about by social networking through the internet can cause PPS as well.

I've personally stayed in a site called Ragnaboards for many years already. I remember starting to stay there at age 18, at a time when the average age of the people who also hang out in that place is 18. Back then, people were talking about things 18 yo were talking about, enjoying things that particularly nerdy teenagers enjoy (anime, videogames, porn etc). Overtime, I grew older, but the core age of the messageboard stayed 18. The older people went away, the newer, younger people arrived, and the interests were kept the same.

Because people in a message board are basically nameless, these shifts in the identities of the people I interact with are negligible. From my perspective, they're all about my age, and they're still talking about things that are for teenagers. Becuase of this, I tend to get the conditioning that for my age, these teenager things that I enjoy are still normal to enjoy even as I got older.

By contrast to real life, we are forced to stick a more constant set of people whose core age increases with time as compared to the staticness of an online clique. People, as a peer dynamic, tend to move on from childish interests to more mature ones becuase others do too.

It is basic instinct for the animals to take behavioral change cues from peers. In human society, the same case is just as prevalent albeit not as apparent. Because the cues that normally exist in society are attenuated online, the human developmental cycle misses the cues it needs to move on and social maturity is halted.

It must be such a good time to become a psychologist.
With the advent of the internet, a plethora of new dynamics have been introduced to existing psychoses and at least a dozen new ones become available every few months.

I could write a thesis on this just to smack the faces of useless psychology graduates who just copy shit from books and journals and call it a thesis.

But then again, I'm lazy. Ill write an article about it here on my blog, sit on it with my ass, and wait 5 years for some douche to figure out the same thing and personally message him that I've done it before.

Arrogance is a luxury.

1 comment:

rei said...

Whoah! It really makes sense.. I left RB since I'm done with my teen years.. @_@


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