Alarm Bell about Internet Addiction Having been widely used since the sass, the Internet has become an integral part because of its popularization and incorporation into virtually every aspect of modern human life. The Internet allows us to access various information and global communication in a very convenient and effective way. Unfortunately, the excessive misuse of it can alter the development of human being society, especially the young generation.
Therefore, I believe that it is necessary to raise the alarm bell about the Internet addiction among the teenagers due to its negative effects as well as consequences in three aspects: interpersonal (physical and mental), occupational (at school and at work), and social (relationship with family as well as community). Just like other types of addictions such as drug addiction or alcohol addiction, Internet addiction leads to many serious health hazards to both teenagers’ physical and psychological fields.
Since Internet addicts spend most of their time sitting, staring and focusing before the monitor screens, their bodies lack of active exercise while their brain are stimulated in high pressure. Hence, their vision and immune systems are easily weakened, increasing their vulnerability to assorted diseases. The lack of exercise due to excessive use of computer by maintaining a sitting posture may also risk suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome, back pain, and eyestrain.
The Internet addiction also increases the danger of sleeping disorders (insomnia, apneas, nightmares) among teenagers (Western and Leukocyte 5). Many psychological and medical experts have agreed that the sleep is the essential function to human beings which helps to repair brain cells and promote formation of new neurons in the brain, so it is extremely important for the adolescents to grow up and develop. As a result, it is very harmful if adolescents skip sleeping because of heir addiction to the Internet.
Moreover, many Internet addicts are so focused on their “own world” that they forget to eat or drink; this may lead to malnutrition or even death. In the documentary “Digital Nation”, it shows the “PC bangs” in South Korea where adolescents are glued to the screens, expressionless. Some even play for more than 50 hours at a time without food or water. In fact, there have been a few deaths as a result of this (Digital Nation). Not only the physical side, but teenagers also have to face some psychological problems due to their Internet addiction.
In the essay “Internet Addiction or Excessive Internet use”, Waistband and Leukocyte have reviewed many cross-sectional studies to prove that there are high risk of mental disorder among Internet addicts such as “affective disorder, anxiety disorders (including generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder), and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder” (3). It is also found that there is a positive relationship between Internet addiction and depression, as well as aggressive behaviors.
Since the teenagers can be easily attracted and addicted with the harmful content in the Internet for a long time such as adult ex websites, online gaming, online chat systems and Bulletin Board System, the exposure to malicious and uncensored content online has perverted teenagers and has caused them to be more aggressive and violent. In the other words, they can be influenced and are likely to have aggressive behaviors. The above physical and psychological harmfulness caused by Internet addiction can bring teens many problems in their occupations.
Since they spend too much time and efforts on their Internet usage rather than other activities, the Internet addicts usually face a lot of problems with their studies and work. All of we know that for 24 hours per day, people should divide into three equal sections: work/study, recreation, and sleep. Each section should last for eight hours. However, for Internet addicts, they arrange their schedule differently by spending most of the time for being on- line instead of studying, working or sleeping.
Without enough time for study/ work and lack of sleep as mentioned above, the Internet addicts have a shortage in the decision making function and a strategy learning/working lag. Students cannot concentrate and focus on their study if their minds are thinking of the Faceable newsfeed or the online games all the time. Academic problems caused by Internet addiction include decline in study habits, significant drop in grades, missing classes, increased risk of being placed on academic probation, and poor integration in extracurricular activities.
For instance, Chunk Young II, a fifteen-year-old boy from Korea, dropped from the top half of his class to the bottom after being addicted to the computer games (Digital Nation). Similarly, employees with access to the Internet spend numerous hours of their working day engaged in non-work related Internet use. It can be said that Internet addiction can lead to poor academic reference in school and impaired functioning at work. Besides the negative effects mentioned above, the more dangerous consequence is the social relationships of the Internet addictive teenagers.
According to Nine and Revering study in 2000, it is showed that there are about a quarter Of Internet addicts spends little time with their friends and families and 1/1 0 of them does not pay attention to the outside world (CTD. In Says 2). From this statistic, it can be understood that the adolescents may use the Internet for too long periods, isolating themselves from other forms of social contact, and focus almost entirely on the Internet rather than broader reality of life. Constant Internet use detracts time that could be spent with meaningful and productive social relationships.
Hours wasted away typing useless messages, surfing the meaningless website, or playing nonsense games are injurious to personal relationships with the one who really matter like family and friends. The social isolation, as a result of Internet addiction, that takes the teenagers away from the social activities and weakens the discourse relationship, might cause the feeling of incapability and social despair in teenagers. In the documentary Digital Nation, the mother Of Chunk Young II -? the fifteen year- old Korean boy whom we mentioned above- says “[my son] that inability to communicate with me, his own mother, makes me so sad. Unfortunately, her situation is not an exception. There are more and more cases which have been reported linking with the abnormal behaviors of Internet addictive teenagers to the people surrounding them. In the past, when people had problems in their lives, they used to confide to their family members or close friends for asking advice. However, the situation is changed now; the managers nowadays stick to the Internet by logging in their PC or smart devices, keeping chatting with strangers or finding the solutions by Google- inning.
The invention of social networks like Faceable or Twitter was supposed to increase and tie the relationship between people. However, the result is contrast. The more people depend on those networks, the more they become lonely. There is a quote in the essay “Is Faceable making us lonely? ” which Stephen Marcher claims that, ” Faceable is interfering with our real friendships, distancing us from each other, making us lonelier; and that social outworking might be spreading the very isolation it seemed designed to conquer” (2).
By using the example of the death of a former Play Boy playmate as well as many statistics and experts’ opinions, Marcher believes that the overuse or dependence on this type of social network is responsible for the increasing of loneliness of modern people. Marcher also states a noticeable article written by researchers at Carnegie Mellon showing that an increase in Internet misuse is compatible with the increase of loneliness. This contradiction between chance to connect and lack of human contact is called “Internet paradox” (Marcher 5). Becoming addicted to the Internet, the teenagers lose their human interaction.
Moreover, they accept the unreal contacts which replace the real one. In the other words, by participating deeply in an artificial community, the Internet addicts teenagers lack real world face- to- face human interaction because talking through the computer network is greatly different from face- to- face contact. It’s just like that if someone play the football video game really well, that does not mean he can play football in the real life. Since Internet addicts usually eliminate themselves from the social environment, their social relations have turned UT to be negative.
Therefore, they cannot get many benefits from the social support. Like an endless cycle, the Internet addicts will spend more time on the Internet and expect more from the Internet for help. The example, which Marcher displays in the beginning of his essay, that Yvette Vickers had died for a very long time but no one discovered. Her computer was on when she died as it was the only connection she made with the outside world. She made contacts with distant fans through fan conventions and Internet sites instead of keeping in touch with her friends or family (Marcher 1).
That can be portrayed as tragicomedy, and this type of tragicomedy has been shown more and more popular nowadays. On the whole, by the time connecting people, the Internet itself also makes the people isolate and decrease social skills to be more dependent on it. No one can deny that the Internet has played an important role that cannot be replaced in our modern lives. Therefore, many Internet supporters emphasize the advantages of the Internet usages such as convenient, popular and helpful rather than focus on the side-effects of the Internet in case of excessive use.
They also may say hat the dangers listed are overstated and pessimistic about the situation of the Internet users. Those supporters argue that since there is no universal definition of Internet addiction, they believe that the quantities as well as quality of the Internet that they have used are suitable and appropriate; as a result they are not Internet addictive and are not affected by the consequences. In fact, since the Internet has attached closely to peep?s daily life, they can hardly realize how they depend on it.
For example, they keep checking emails every five minutes and say that is just because of keeping in touch with their jobs. They spend several hours chatting with friends on instant messages on Faceable instead of hanging out and talking with them face-to-face. The first thing they do every morning is checking Faceable newsfeed instead of doing morning exercises. According to Marcher, “among 18-to-34-year-odds, nearly half check Faceable minutes after waking up, and 28 percent do so before getting put of bed” (9).
Although the statistic is simple, it shows the reality that how people depend on the social network as well as the Internet, even though they do not realize it. Moreover, people think that they can handle their behaviors and not be easily influenced actively by the Internet because it is just a tool supporting human life. Their argument may be right and reasonable, but only if it’s applied on disciplined people. However, to the teenagers or adolescents, they are immature and too young to developing the self-control against the temptation of the Internet.
It can be said that the adolescent period is the most important developing stage of human life spans. Therefore problematic computer usage that is time consuming and spoils functioning in important life domains is very dangerous to teenagers as well as the whole society. For many reasons above, I strongly live that it is necessary for us to raise the warning alarm on the Internet excessive use or Internet addiction among the teenagers. Today, the popularity of Internet usage is likely to increase Internet addiction, especially to teenagers.
The online games and social networks such as Faceable, Twitter make individuals interact and increase their activities on the Internet more and more. This situation makes individuals, especially adolescents, spend more time on the Internet. As a result, technological advancement is likely to increase Internet addiction day by day. Therefore, not only Internet addicts but also all the Internet users must be informed about the dangers of Internet addiction and preventive programs must be developed. Ignoring this problem and not developing solutions mean standing by bigger troubles that will rise in the future.