Wednesday, January 19, 2011

How Internet addiction is affecting lives

   The Internet – millions of people rely on it for everyday tasks. From paying bills to the tasks of the workplace, it seems that internet is integrating into our lives in such a way as to be an essential ingredient. Companies now opt to have customers keep track of accounts and updates via the internet, not leaving a great deal of alternatives in some cases, leaving internet as a necessity.
Just the Facts
      Online computer use is widespread and growing. Current estimates indicate that 19.6 billion people are online worldwide, and that number is increasing at the rate of 28% a year . It was also reported that many children uses a computer at school, and school was the most common place for children to access the Internet. With these staggering numbers, there is little doubt as to the proliferation and popularity of Internet use.

Graph of Internet users per 100 inhabitants between 1997 and 2007 by International Telecommunication Union
But when is the line crossed between average use and addiction?

Few would dispute the idea that internet has transformed economic and social the same time, however, the internet’s impact on interpersonal communication and sociability remains a source of heated debate one group of researchers conclude that that platforms such as Facebook and email merely act to schedule their social life in a more structured way, saving their time  i.e. the internet leads to more and better social relationships by creating additional medium of communication with friends and family, and by enabling the creation of new relationships through internet contrast, other researchers find internet use to be socially isolating, because time on internet replaces other social activities and face-to-face interactions.
The internet can be viewed as a fantastic opportunity to reach out and connect globally, share ideas and make positive change. The availability of information, products and ideas is amazing and unrivalled.
It was found that teenagers are much heavier Internet users than their parents. While adults tend to use the Internet as part of their jobs and to get employment-related information, teenagers were more likely to use the Internet to play games, to listen to music, and to meet new people. This particular appeal has caused further concern among educators such as Michael A. Weinstein, professor of Political Science at Purdue University. In a somewhat Archie Bunkerian way of expression, he believes Internet users will "lose the savvy and skills and patience to conduct social relations in the corporeal world," and that the Internet will intensify the negative effect television has already had on our social skills. Taking his view then, it is assumed that we are encouraging our children to become social nitwits!
While not yet defined as a true addiction, many are suffering the consequences of obsession with the online world, unable to control their use. From gaming to sexual and emotional relationships, the internet is taking over lives. More and more people will be confronted with consequences such as divorce and physical symptoms which will force them to seek both medical and psychological treatment. Online marital infidelity can lead to divorce and harm personal relationships. 
An article published in Perspectives in Psychiatric Care states, “The Internet has properties that for some individuals promote addictive behaviours and pseudo-intimate interpersonal relationships”. “Some physical symptoms include "cyber shakes," dry eyes, carpal tunnel syndrome and headaches. "A focus on the computer and lack of attention to daily reality is indicative of poor judgment and results on lowered grades in school, job loss, and indebtedness.”

The Internet is most assuredly alluring with its research and communicative capacities. But overall, technology can be considered a positive enhancement to growth. This feature is eloquently affirmed by author Don Tapscott (1999):
“…When kids are online, they're reading, thinking, analysing, criticizing and authenticating - composing their thoughts. Kids use computers for activities that go hand-in-hand with our understanding of what constitutes a traditional childhood. They use the technology to play, learn, communicate and form relationships as children always have. Development is enhanced in an interactive world."

1 comment:

  1. As an Australian internet service provider, I have the responsibility to guide my kids with the proper use of internet to avoid this condition.