Internet Addiction – Does It Really Exist?

Published: 2021-09-14 21:40:09
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Category: Learning, Computer Science

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The internet, originally the ARPAnet (Advanced Research Project Agency network), was created as a military computer network in 1969. From this point universities and different agencies started creating internal networks based on ARPAnet model. Thus, this system was expanded to the global network, which allowed to link together all computers around the world and share information and data between each other.
The internet is a giant leap for mankind due to making human’s life so much easier. First of all, the internet is the source of knowledge for all students around the world, where each student could do his own research without going outside of his room. For instance, students do not have to go to the library and borrow the books anymore, or even Xeroxed images for the references. Also, the internet is another source of entertainment, such as movies, games and online shopping. Thus, it can save your time for example to book a movie ticket or to watch a film online or even if it is raining outside the shopping can be done at home, rather than going outside.However, today the more people explore internet, the more harmful it can become for them, for instance, it can be seen if the on-line time spending is going longer than originally intended. People could spend more time on-line enjoying with their virtual friends or creating and developing their virtual communities. They feel that exchanging ideas and experience through the on-line chat is accessible and more enjoyable for them, rather than doing it in real life and this could lead to the internet addiction, which it does not involve the use of an intoxicating drug- likewise, it is very similar to pathological gambling. The usage of the internet as a substitution of real-life connection and therefore, they are unable to join it usually as before.
According to Mark Griffiths (2007), there have been done different surveys on different categories of internet users. The first survey was focused on 496 people that were answered on 8 different questions regarding internet usage. Participants who have responded to ‘yes’ on 5 or more questions were named as ‘dependents’. Finally, 396 people have been classified as ‘dependents’, and they spend around 38.5 hours a week compared to ‘nondependent’ 4.9 hours a week and the main aim was to use internet for the chat rooms and different forums, and it has been concluded that “the more interactive the Internet function, the more addictive it is and dependents reported that deteriorations in many areas of their lives such as health, occupational, social and financial. Later on, almost the same method was used by Virtual Addiction Survey (VAS) online between 17 251 participants. The results showed that ‘dependents’ felt out of control, timelessness, loss of boundaries, however, the amount of ‘dependents’ were less (6%) than in the previous survey. Both surveys were tested on excessive internet users. The second survey has been done on the vulnerable group (students) and for example, in 1997 Scherer studied 531 students at the University of Texas at Austin. During this survey, 13% of students were classified as ‘dependent’ and used the internet around 11 hours a week, when ‘nondependent’ used it for 8 hours a week. Almost the same situation has been seen at Rutgers University and a mixture of colleges in the United States and Europe. Thus, the minor difference in weekly usage shows that ‘dependents’ could be hardly called addicted people or excessive users. More recently Mathy and Cooper in 2003 have done a different survey according to the duration and frequency of internet use across five domains. The results were shown that the frequency was related to the past mental health treatments. Participants who admitted to past and current behavioural problems with alcohol, drugs, gambling and also, they were new Internet users. From these surveys, there is a clear difference between addiction to the internet and on the internet. For instance, the gambling addict which appears in online gambling could say that the internet is just a place where they (addicted people) conduct their chosen behavior, therefore the internet place a role of a sort of platform for the addicted people. These people illustrate addiction on the internet, rather than to the internet. However, some kind of internet functions such as chat rooms, that cannot be used anywhere else except on the internet could lead to the addiction to the internet, rather than on the internet, but at the same time there are common things between these two different addictions, which is a negative consequence- are excessive internet use, relationship breakdowns, loss of control and neglect of work and social life.
What are the outcomes? Internet addicted person is not the only one victim in this case – family, academic results and the financial problem can be caused. These symptoms are like other addictions, either passive (Television) or active (Gambling). The quality of the relationship between real people or in the addicted family will decrease because internet addicted people prefer to spend their time in solitary confinement and become socially awkward. Creating on-line personas could cause that they (internet addicted people) will change their personality. Usually, these people are suffering from low self-esteem feelings and fear of disapprobation from other people in real life. Therefore, they will prefer to spend more time on-line rather developing their skills in real life. This is what called socialisation and why people suffer from internet addiction, without knowing that. For instance, it is much easier and quicker to chat with a person via email, chat room or any other sources on-line, rather than going out and spending own energy and time on this extra activity. This is the first step, then it is started working more like a black hole by adding more “benefits” over the essential once and therefore people cannot realize that the time, energy and money, for example, they spend is way more excessive that it was before they could distinguish on-line and off-line life.
To detect and solve internet addiction, firstly, it is needed to remove any on-line personas that have been created, especially the one that are not real and used to express emotions on-line. For example, instead of posting something on-line the addicted person could start writing a poem or a novel, low self-esteem feelings and fear of disapprobation could be solved by visiting gym on everyday routine with 10-30 minutes walking before and after gym to relax and meditate, because it also helps to spill out all negative energy as well as making new real friends in there. Secondly, try to make more real friends, that on-line friends, it is healthier to meet with your friends, discover something new and exchange your ideas and experience with them in the real world, rather than in the chat room, which could cause to the different problems and addictions, such as excessive internet usage will lead to the health issues. Furthermore, most of the ‘dependents’ are weak emotional people, thus, it is very recommended to spend more time and stay in touch with family and close friends, so that the risk factor of becoming internet addicted will decrease; for instance, it is better to sit down and talk about the problem, rather than researching it online alone and keeping this negative feeling and information inside, which will make the person even more stressful and weak emotional and will lead to the problems that were discussed before. The golden rule is time management, it was shown that the students around the world, which was thought that they are ‘vulnerable’ group, are less internet addicted than the others, due to the time management and permanent busyness helps them to follow the routine and spend less time in internet for the unnecessary things, such as online games, chat rooms, shopping, movies and more.
In conclusion, the internet has become a daily part of our life. For most of the people, it represents a great information tool and a great, and fast opportunity to communicate and socialise. However, it has been alleged by different academic surveys and research that excessive internet use could be pathological, and addictive and it comes under the tag of “technological addiction”. This report has illustrated background of the history of the internet, what is the internet addiction and why people become addicted to/on the internet, does the internet addiction really exists, why they suffer from it, even if they cannot realise it by themselves. Also, the report investigated the optimal solutions on how to resolve internet addiction step-by-step. Nevertheless, of all critical points regarding internet addiction, it appears that if internet addiction exists it affects only small amount or percentage of people around the world, however, it is unclear if they are being addicted to the internet or on the internet. Thus, further research is needed.

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