What is Internet Addiction?
Internet addiction is a relatively new trend in the medical community that attempts to categorize people suffering negative personal side effects of an over-exposure to the internet. Internet addiction, while being addressed in places such as China and South Korea, has yet to be fully accepted in North America. Internet addiction has been associated with a myriad of negative side effects such as social isolation, depression, decreased academic performance and altered interpersonal relationships.
Problems Associated with Internet Addiction
Internet addiction can affect different realms of people’s lives, including personal relationships, employment, academics, and one’s own physical health. Alfred University’s Provost W . Richard Ott investigated why normally successful students with 1200 to 1300 SATs had recently been dismissed. To his surprise, his investigation found that forty-three percent of these students failed school due to extensive patterns of late night log-ons to the university computer system (Young, 1999). Matrimonial lawyers in the United States have reported seeing a rise in divorce cases due to the formation of such Cyberaffairs stemming from excessive internet use (Young, 1999). One survey from the nation’s top 1,000 companies revealed that fifty-five percent of executives believed that time surfing the Internet for non-business purposes is undermining their employees’ effectiveness on the job (Young, 1999). The widespread availability of the internet has the potential to cause alarming personal issues for people lacking knowledge and understanding of its addictive qualities.
Internet Addiction in China
China, along with other Asian countries like South Korea and Japan, is at the forefront of diagnosing and treating people with internet addiction. Internet addiction is currently becoming a serious mental health problem among Chinese adolescents (Cao and Su, 2007). Studies of Taiwanese College students found that the incidence rate of internet addiction among Taiwan college students was 5.9%. In 2005, the Beijing judge Shan Xiuyun estimated that ninety per cent of the city’s juvenile crime was Internet-related—a remarkable notion at a time when less than 10% of the nation’s population was online (Osnos, 2014). Many in China blame increased youth internet addiction on a rigid social class system that preaches conformism and stifles any thought of upward mobility. Are we in North America blind to an increased reliance and dependence on digital technology?
Aldama, Z. (2015, January 17). Inside the Chinese Boot Camp Treating Internet Addiction. The Telegraph. Retrieved from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/11345412/Inside-the-Chinese-boot-camp-treating-Internet-addiction.html
Cao, F., & Su, L. (2007). Internet addiction among Chinese adolescents: prevalence and psychological features. Child: care, health and development, 33(3), 275-281.
Osnos, E. (2014, July 28). Talking to China’s “Web Junkies”. The New Yorker. Retrieved March 4, 2017, from http://www.newyorker.com/culture/cultural-comment/talking-chinas-web-junkies
Young, K. S. (1998). Internet addiction: The emergence of a new clinical disorder. Cyberpsychology & behavior, 1(3), 237-244.
Young, K. S. (1999). Internet addiction: symptoms, evaluation and treatment. Innovations in clinical practice: A source book, 17, 19-31.
- Documentary Movie: China’s Web Junkies
- Internet Addiction- Diagnosis and Recovery
- Internet Addiction in China
- Internet Addiction is Hard to Diagnose- CBC Radio broadcast
Is it fair to place internet addiction next to other forms of addiction such as drugs and gambling? Is North America behind the 8-ball when it comes to diagnosing and treating internet addiction? Please post your thoughts and let me know what you think!