Technology: Are you Addicted?

Technology addiction is surprisingly real.

Advertisements

By: Ufuk Yagci

The Draw: Our Love for Technology

With the evolution of Internet and advances in technology, communication has become very easy and fast. A survey conducted in Great Britain in 2014 demonstrates the positive impact of technology on relationships. With the use of Internet and mobile devices, families and friends can stay in contact much easier than the past. Moreover, technology has made a significant impact on people’s lives with the ease of accessibility of information.

The Threat: Technology Addiction!

Unfortunately, the treats that technology offers us have some drawbacks.  Some people spend too much time in front of the screens and make technology the centre of their lives. Some people find themselves trapped in technology addiction.

What is an addiction? An addiction is a compulsive need, craving of your body and a chronic dysfunction of the brain system for the use of a habit-forming substance or behaviour. Someone experiencing an addiction will be unable to stay away from the addictive behaviour and will display a lack of self-control. Addictions get worse over time interfering with your daily life and leading to further complications such as withdrawals and permanent health complications.

Technology addiction consists of addictive behaviour to video gaming, online shopping, excessive use of social media, excessive texting or overuse of technological devices. Internet Addiction is the more common term that is used for technology addiction and is defined as any online-related compulsive behaviour that interferes with people’s lives and causes stress on their environment and relations. According to the International Journal of Neuropsychiatric Medicine, one in eight Americans suffers from problematic Internet use and the rates are even higher in many Asian countries.

Is Technology Addiction a Disorder?

Internet addiction is a psychological disorder that has been recently proposed for inclusion in the latest edition of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders of the American Psychiatric Association. DSM-V actually includes Internet addiction as a disorder that needs further study and research. An even more significant addiction than Internet addiction is the Internet Gaming Disorder. This has been defined as a “Condition for further studying by the DSM-V”. It is not an official disorder and APA requires additional research to decide to call it an official disorder. This may be because there is not enough evidence and data to determine if Internet addiction is a separate disorder or if it has another cause. Some experts call the Internet addiction as “Impulse Control Disorder”.

While mental health professionals are not still in agreement whether this should be classified as an actual disorder, research shows that internet addiction can significantly affect the behavioural development, as well as the mental and physical health. There is no doubt that many people are displaying addiction signals when it comes to the Internet, social media, use of smartphones and digital devices.

What are the Symptoms of Technology Addiction?

In 1998, “Internet Addiction Test” (IAT) was created by Dr. Kimberly Young, who is a professor at St. Bonaventure University. The IAT measures the severity of self-reported compulsive use of Internet for adults and the term Internet refers to all types of online activity. The scale and the test have been translated into several languages including Chinese, French, Italian, Turkish, and Korean.

Korea is one of the most wired countries in the world and according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, where the internet usage is relatively higher in Korea than other countries.

K-scale (Korea scale) has been developed as a checklist for diagnosing and evaluating the rate of Internet addiction in South Korea. It was created by South Korean psychologists to measure the number of Internet usage under the age of 18. The government provides health assessments and assistance to those with high K-scale scores.

Common Signals of Technology Addiction?

  • Do you have this unbearable desire to get your hands on to your mobile device to check you’re the emails or your social media account the first thing in the morning or last thing at night?
  • Do you spend more time with technology than pursuing other activities in your life?
  • Do you panic when your mobile device is getting low on power?
  • Do you get nervous if there is no Wi-Fi or connection signal on your mobile device or phone?
  • Do you go out and meet with your friends and find yourself spending time on your mobile device?
  • Do you find it difficult to unplug? Regardless of the consequences, do you tell yourself and others that your use is a “lifestyle” choice?

If you have responded the majority of the above questions affirmatively, then the danger bells may be ringing.

What Can you do to Prevent Technology Addiction?

The way technology addiction is diagnosed can differ from country to country, but statistics show that more people are suffering from Internet addiction. Here are some tips for preventing technology addiction:

Create technology free zones and times at home

Ban technology at meal times. This is an excellent opportunity for you and your family to share and communicate. Make a rule to leave all technology out of the dinner table. Turn the television off, as background television will also distract this communication.

Choose outdoor activities over technology on the weekends

Make it a rule that you cannot be online if you have not done an outdoor activity. Go for a walk, ride a bike or engage yourself and your family in any kind of healthy physical activity over the weekends. Do not forget to make this a technology free activity and leave your phones at home or shut them down and put them away from your reach.

Rearrange the family room furniture

If you have a common computer at home, place it in a communal area so that you can be around when your young children are using the Internet. Design your family room so that the television and computer are not in the area of focus.

Limit social media use

Limit your use of social media in your daily routines. Do not leave notifications on for your social media accounts. Try to put time limits on your own use of social media and log off when you are done.

Make a list of technology-free activities

Create technology free times and activities for you and your family. It is amazing how much quality time you can have without the technology. Prepare a list of activities with the family members for yourself and your family. Then try to do one each evening.

Stop always being available 24/7

Technology lets people work and be accessible no matter the place or time. Make an agreement with your co-workers on digital reachability outside of work.

Do not check your emails when you are on a vacation. In 2014, the German vehicle-maker Daimler has decided to respond with a message to all the emails that come during the vacation of the employee telling that the email would be deleted and should be resent after the vacation break (BBC News, 2014). Volkswagen followed Daimler by turning email off after office hours. New guidelines in France are ordering workers in some sectors to ignore work emails when they go home. So increasingly, companies are changing their strategies on after office hours. Bring this principle into your life and take a break!

Skip the morning digital check-in

Do not check your social media accounts or email in the morning as you wake up and over breakfast. Do some light stretching activities and mediation if possible? Your emails can wait until you get to work. Your social media accounts can wait until the time you have set for social media use.

Make a contract with your family members on technology use at home

Every family has different needs and beliefs. Therefore, it is important that you set up your guidelines and rules for technology use at home. Limit screen time for your children at home. Lead by example and make sure that every family member follows the contract terms.

Stop web searching for everything

Use your creativity and stop searching for do-it-yourself videos on YouTube. Stop searching for everything and trust your creativity and instincts. You will be amazed on how creative you might get in your projects.

Additional Reading

Internet Addiction- Symptoms, Signs, Treatment and FAQS

The American Academy of Pediatrics Just Changed Their Guidelines on Kids & Screen Time

Internet Addiction Changes Brain Similar to Heroin

Internet addiction may indicate other mental health problems in college-aged students

Should DSM-V Designate “Internet Addiction” a Mental Disorder?

References

Aboujaoude E., Koran L.M., Gamel N., Large M.D., Serpe R.T., (2006). Potential markers for problematic Internet use: A telephone survey of 2,513 adults. Retrieved from

American Psychiatric Association. (2017). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (DSM-5).

BBC News. (2014). Should holiday email be deleted?

Concordina University. (2016). Navigating the unknown: Conditions for further study from DSM-V.

Commonsense Media. ( 2015). Common sense census: Media use by tweens and teens.

Healthline. (2016). What is an addiction?

Net Addiction. (2013). Internet addiction test (IAT).

Net Addiction. (2013).What is internet addiction disorder?

OECD. (2017). OECD broadband statistics update. Mobile broadband penetration at 95% in OECD area. Retrieved from

Przbylski A.K., Weinstein N., Murayama K. (2017). Internet gaming disorder: Investigating the clinical relevance of a new phenomenon.

Statista. (2014). Thinking about effects of technology on relationships with friends and family

Techaddiction. (2017). Internet addiction statistics.

Techtarget. (2011). K-scale for Internet addiction (Korea scale for Internet addiction).

Internet Trolling and the Dehumanization of Society

How destructive is Internet Trollling?

What is Internet Trolling?

Internet Trolling is the use of a negative persona or attitude online that is designed to provoke a response of emotional reaction from others. Trolling takes place in any forum where people online are allowed to communicate with one another: TwitterFacebookYouTubeInstagram, email, chat rooms, and blogs are all places where internet trolling takes place. What internet trolls do ranges from clever pranks to harassment to violent threats. There’s also doxing–publishing personal data, such as Social Security numbers and bank accounts–and swatting, calling in an emergency to a victim’s house so the SWAT team busts in (Stein, 2016). Internet Trolling is significantly impactful on young people. In 2012 Amanda Todd  a teen from British Columbia posted a YouTube video outlining how she was bullied by internet trolls, she committed suicide shortly after the publication of her video.

Check it out: 10 Types of Internet Trolls You Can Meet Online

How Trolling is Dehumanizing?

Although often linked to genocide and war, dehumanization should not necessarily be limited to such extreme settings.  Central to the literature on infrahumanization is the realization that people on a daily basis attribute more or less humanness to other people (Lammers and Stapel, 2011). Dehumanization is attributable to an increased rift between people; a separation or disconnectedness many people blame on the increased prevalence of social media. Dehumanization is one of several means by which inhibitions against harming others are overridden.Conceiving of those whom we wish to harm as mere animals make it permissible to do violence to them, and conceiving of them as dangerous animals renders such violence obligatory (Smith, 2016). 

Cognitive Dissonance is a theory that might play a role in how people’s behaviours change when engaged in online activities.  When people act in a certain way online (trolling for example) it’s possible they might change their beliefs to justify their actions. For example, people who insult strangers constantly on Twitter are likely to be less sympathetic and caring to people they do not know. Cognitive Dissonance has also been used to explain how people participated in the Holocaust. Are the psychological processes that influence mass genocide the same that have given rise to internet trolling?  

The Rise of Internet Trolling

Internet trolling is changing the way in which people use the internet. A Pew Research Center survey published two years ago found that 70% of 18-to-24-year-olds who use the Internet had experienced harassment, and 26% of women that age said they’d been stalked online (Stein, 2016). A 2014 study published in the psychology journal Personality and Individual Differences found that the approximately 5% of Internet users who self-identified as trolls scored extremely high in the dark tetrad of personality traits: narcissism, psychopathy, Machiavellianism and, especially, sadism (Stein, 2016). Trolling is also having a huge effect on people deciding to become disengaged in certain social media platforms because of constant harassment from trolls.For example, Ghostbusters star Leslie Jones was forced to leave Twitter after racist and sexist abuse from online trolls. At what point do the benefits of digital technology become outweighed by the negatives associated with online harassment?

Useful Links

Millennials Find Technology Dehumanizing

Is Technology Making us Less Human?Is Technology Making us Less Human?

Why do People Act Differently Online?

Ghostbusters Star Becomes Victim of Online Trolling

References

Lammers, J., & Stapel, D. (2011). Power increases dehumanization. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, 14(1), 113-126. doi:10.1177/1368430210370042

Schneier, M. (2016, April 17). A ‘Battle Cry’ On Internet Trolling. New York Times. pp. 1-9

Smith, D. L. (2016). Paradoxes of dehumanization. Social Theory and Practice, 42(2), 416

Stein, J. (2016, August 18). How Trolls are Ruining the Internet. Time Magazine. Retrieved from http://time.com/4457110/internet-trolls/

Truth About Tech Use & Focus

The decreasing level of attention span in our…what was I saying?

Technology is providing amazing and entertaining new ways of learning and doing that were not available years ago. Students have access to countless sources of information, and knowledge. They also spend countless hours viewing a multitude of sites designed distract, entertain and engage their attention, often in the classroom, while they should be paying attention to the lesson. With policies in school boards that encourage students to bring their own devices (BYOD) to school, is it any wonder that teachers struggle with keeping the minds of their students on task?

Even in the “real world” adults in the worlds of business and industry easily fall prey to the countless distractions available through social networking, emails, twitter feeds, and even checking the stock market every 5 minutes.

It seems apparent that our society is changing at its core. As technology is becoming more invasive in our everyday lives, we can see the results can be disastrous at times. In one example, cities and counties around Canada are adopting laws that are geared a cutting down on distracted driving, as people are being killed or are sustaining life-altering injuries because they cannot put their cell phone down.

What is the story behind this fight for our attention? What can we do about it?

What is technology doing to our brain?

Though research in this area is taking place, it is still early in its development. In the field of neuroscience, professionals like Dr. Gary Small are studying the effects of technology on the brain. In an article, Dr.Small (2008) states that our brains are developing and learning to master the ability to process and respond to multiple digital stimuli which in turn provide instant gratification. These changes do lead to shorter attention spans and a lack of interest in other activities that provide a delayed reward like reading or even watching a longer television program or movie.

This information coincides with other research conducted by specialists such as Dr. Rich who also believe that the brains of our young people are being habituated to distraction and away from focus.

How can we help ourselves? How do we, as educators, cope with this in the classroom?

What can we do?

In some articles, researchers like Dr. Taylor (2012, December 4) suggest that it may not be a case of technology being all bad, but about which technology children use and in its frequency of use.  Others such as della Cava (2010, August 4) also take a very common sense approach in suggesting that we need to monitor ourselves and teach our students and children to set limits on use and take breaks.

The reality is that developments in technology are going to keep coming. We need not take the position as many did in the 1970s and 1980s thinking that television would destroy the brains of our youth. It did not, and technology, if used properly with self-discipline will not.

Since we have such vast tools at our disposal, I encourage educators to rise to the occasion. Put a few past teaching practices aside. Take interest in a new digital tool or two this month. Find a way to connect with your students at their level. Personally, in trying to incorporate more technology, I am seeing greater engagement and enjoyment in my students.

Help Yourself

If it is you who is struggling with finding a good balance with technology, there are a variety of online tools and resources available to you to help with distraction.  A few tools to get your started are listed below. Hang in there!

1.Focus (Mac)

2.Focusbooster (Mac/PC)

3.Freedomto (Mac/PC)

4.Dejal:Time Out (Mac)

3 Roadblocks in Teaching Technology to Educators

pic

Technological tools can be used in many ways to further student learning. The continued growth and innovations in educational technology are both exciting and challenging.

With the development of 21st-century technology, it is important to provide quality professional development (PD) for administrators and staff members in schools.  As there is an increasing amount of innovative technology being introduced, school boards must ensure that employees are not only familiar with the technology, but also become comfortable learning more about it independently.

In today’s classroom, the teachers really are life-long learners. This is not only a nice idea, it is a must! In many cases, staff are introduced to these tools during meetings or professional development sessions. In my experience, even when tools are introduced and explored, there follows a period where some staff engage in trying to use the new tools, while many do not.

What are some of the barriers in training staff members with new technology? What are causing the roadblocks in the pathway from introducing the technology to implementation? How can they be removed?

Lack of Context, Lack of Connection

According to Plair (2008), one of the reasons that teachers struggle with implementing technological tools is that they miss the connection between what they have learned in training sessions and how to use it in their own specific teaching areas (p. 71). She indicates that some educators still struggle with changing their prior understanding to see that technology is no longer something mainly explored in the computer lab or Communication Technology courses.

One solution is mentioned by Plair. “Helping teachers comfortably reach this stage calls for the professional development available through a knowledge broker.” (p.71)

This knowledge broker, within school boards or organizations, would possess a “…combination of pedagogical, content, and technological knowledge…” and could “…more effectively and efficiently scaffold instruction, match tools to content, and keep pace with innovations” (p.73). An expert such as this could help bridge the gap between the new tools and the classroom teacher through offering one-on-one support.

 Lack of Time

Educators are heavily involved with the everyday tasks of running classes, planning lessons, supervising, marking, communicating with parents and running extra-curricular activities. Because of the sheer number of tasks requiring the focus and attention of the teacher, adding any new knowledge, skills or technological training can overwhelm and discourage.

Not surprisingly, the results of a study completed by McRae, Phil, Varnhagen, Stanley, & Arkison, Bradley in 2011 found that “…competing demands on time are the most significant factor restricting a teacher’s ability to provide instruction. (McRae et al., 2012)

If teachers are already burdened with other responsibilities, their willingness and ability to connect with PD on modern technology is diminished.

What could be done to provide more time or assistance?

 Information Overload

Aside from the busyness of each instructional day, a major barrier for teachers in increasing their knowledge of technology is one of sheer volume. According to a study by Lawless and Pellegrino (2007), “Long term change through technology-infused pedagogy is…complicated by the ever-evolving nature of the technology itself.” (p.607)

As teachers become comfortable with one technology, other new and exciting tools emerge. This may cause increasing stress, leading to a break-down of innovative teaching and learning in the classroom. According to an article by Dr. Willis (2014), this stress negatively affects the brain’s ability to learn. What is true for our students under stress is true for us too!

 What else could be done?

It is safe to say that teachers who genuinely care about their students have a desire to improve their own practice to help them succeed. They will continue to learn and attend professional development seminars, often voluntarily.  Those who attend PD to gain new knowledge to aid their pedagogy and practice show notable satisfaction in learning and teaching technology (Lawless & Pellegrino, 2007).

Much is seems to be written about the need to engage our students in 21st century learning. Could not more be done to support the frustrated, overwhelmed teacher?

Dr. Willis (2014) suggests that better learning and engagement takes place when positive motivation is present. That may be something to think about.

 

References

Willis, Judy (July 18, 2014). The Neuroscience Behind Stress and Learning. Edutopia. Retrieved from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/neuroscience-behind-stress-and-learning-judy-willis

Lawless, K. A., & Pellegrino, J. W. (2007). Professional development in integrating technology into teaching and learning: Knowns, unknowns, and ways to pursue better questions and answers. Review of Educational Research, 77(4), 575-614. doi:10.3102/0034654307309921

McRae, Phil, Varnhagen, Stanley, & Arkison, Bradley (June 4, 2012). Teaching any time, any place or at any pace. ATA Magazine. Retrieved from https://www.teachers.ab.ca/Publications/ATA%20Magazine/Volume%2092/Number-4/Pages/Teaching-any-time.aspx

Plair, Sandra Kay. (2008). Revamping professional development. The Clearing House, 82(2), 70-74. Retrieved from   http://marianrosenberg.wiki.westga.edu/file/view/PlairSRevampingProfessional.pdf/372909202/PlairSRevampingProfessional.pdf

 

3 Ways to Support Technology in Education (without breaking the bank)

Students today have a lot on their plates, such as school, jobs, volunteer commitments, extracurricular activities, home responsibilities and of course, their social life.

According to Statistics Canada, 85% of Canadians have access to a home computer, 87% have access to home Internet, and 86% have cellular phones.

Good, right?

No.

Why?

Because there are still 15% of households who do not have a cell phone or a computer or an Internet connection and out of that 15%, 42% are from low-income families.

These might be your students next year; they might currently be your students, and they might not tell you about the challenges they face.

We, as educators, can’t fix Canada’s internet access problems (the CRTC is handling that).

What can educators do to help bridge the technological divide in your school and classroom?

A Tech Swap

Similar to a ski swap, communities are invited to participate in a technology sale where participants drop off gently used technology meeting a specific standard (e.g. Under five years old) and can sell it on consignment it for a reduced price or choose to donate the item. A Tech Swap provides students with smaller budgets to access modern technology for a fraction of the original price. The key point here is that the tech cannot be obsolete and has to be able to run the latest operating systems to support the applications used. An online event or a community posting that provides the details of the swap is a good way to ensure people know what schools and students need.

Crowdfunding or Cause Funding

A crowdfunding initiative using GoFundMe or Booster could be helpful for an educator looking to support their classroom technology by setting a goal and requesting donations. Social media can be leveraged to help get the message out about the funding, why the need, and who is initiating the campaign. It is important to outline the funds are being raised to support technology inclusion in the classroom. Bonus points if you can get your local news publications and businesses to help promote it.

Booster allows users to create and sell t-shirts for donations. Students can be involved in the entire campaign process where they are responsible for concept development and design of the t-shirts.

In the U.S. there is a site called DonorsChoose.org, which is used by educators to set up projects for their classrooms to receive financial support. DonorsChoose.org enables individuals to donate to the programs of their choice in any denomination, which enables contributing to a local community cause very simple.

Invest in the Students

In a report conducted by Media Insights, Canadian educators identified “lack of technical support and maintaining software and hardware” as being the number one concern when using technology in their classrooms (Johnson, 2016). As part of the commitment to technology in education, it could be both constructive and inclusive to provide students the opportunity to form a “Tech Support” club, where teams of students can create a group and provide IT support to faculty and staff during scheduled extracurricular programming. Using the student talent pool is a win-win for both participants and school staff. Placing some ownership on the students to contribute to the technology support requirements can help alleviate some of the frustrations surrounding the integration of technology into the curriculum.

I would love to hear how your schools have overcome financial barriers to creating inclusiveness in your classrooms when it comes to technology-supported learning.

Please share in the comments below.


References

Dobby, C. (2016). CRTC rules high-speed Internet a basic service, sets targets. The Globe and Mail.

Dwelling characteristics and household equipment, by province (Canada). (2015). Statcan.gc.ca.

Johnson, M. (2016). Connected to Learn: Teachers’ Experiences with Networked Technologies in the Classroom | MediaSmarts. Mediasmarts.ca.

The Daily — Canadian Internet Use Survey, 2012. (2013). Statcan.gc.ca.

Transformational Leadership: A key to Integrating Technology in Education

Leadership can make or break a technology initiative in your school. Strong leadership is key to any initiative through communication, collaboration, planning, creativity, trust, and experimentation.

A barrier to the adoption of technology in education is a lack of vision and weak leadership. For educational professionals to take full advantage of technology, strong leadership to create and guide all members of a school community in a shared vision to ensure effective integration and to transform instructional practices around educational technologies is required. This instructional concern requires an educational leader to use transformational leadership principles to create a working environment that will build confidence in the followers while facilitating the implementation of technology in the classroom.

What are transformational leaders?

Marks & Printy (2003) explain that “Transformational leaders motivate followers by raising their consciousness about the importance of organizational goals and by inspiring them to transcend their own self-interest for the sake of the organization” (p. 375). These leaders will create a working environment where trust and respect are promoted, and the knowledge and expertise of its members are treated as valuable parts of a whole program. These leaders will also analyze previous mistakes, challenge the way programs have been implemented in the past and will look to the team to find solutions to overcome these previous shortcomings.

4 Steps to Plan a Technology Initiative

Ahn, Bivona, and DiScala (2011) explain that there are multiple avenues to establishing educational technology policies and initiatives. Some more successful than others. Different school boards will approach integration differently, and its adoption will vary depending on the level of attention that these initiatives receive. Experts in educational technology integration suggest:

1. Plan with a Goal in Mind

As an educational community, develop a common vision and a goal for technology integration through collaboration and teamwork. Beginning your project with surveys to gather information from staff and students will ensure that the voices from all interested parties will be heard. This initial data can show the growth of your initiative and will help set the tone for the project. Technology initiatives should never funnel from “top-down” decisions, and policy initiatives should be reevaluated on a yearly basis.

2. Use Gathered Data

As previously mentioned, data from surveys can be used to assess educational needs, create instructional models, and determine technological devices that have been requested for your initiative. Project stakeholders should evaluate the status of school infrastructure to ensure that it can handle the influx of devices. Ultimately, project leaders should select devices that students and staff feel the most comfortable with, and that can be supported by the school network.

3.  Personalize Student Learning

Initiative leaders can ensure that policies and resources equip teachers with the right tools and ongoing support to differentiate instruction and personalize learning in their classrooms. Collaboration between teachers and students will create opportunities to examine observations and reflections, student work, formative and summative assessments, and data that is embedded within the software of different learning apps. In these classrooms, the teacher can design learning opportunities or guide learners to generate their own personalized learning experiences.

4. Personalize Professional Learning

Schools must commit to ensuring that technology training is available, ongoing, and relevant to professional learning. Leaders can collaborate with teachers to develop clear goals for professional development that align with the vision for student learning. Also, to create and promote the integration of technology in education, leaders and staff can use combinations of face-to-face, online, and blended professional learning communities. This will create opportunities for staff to see technology being used authentically to create learning networks between initiative leads and staff participants.

In the comments section below, please post examples of how educational leaders in your school or school board integrated technology into teaching practices.

References

Ahn, J., Bivona, L. K., & DiScala, J. (2011). Social Media Access in K-12 Schools: Intractable Policy Controversies in an Evolving WorldASIST 2011. Retrieved from http://ahnjune.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/ASIST2011_AUP.pdf

Marks, H. M., & Printy, S. M. (2003). Principal leadership and school performance: An integration of transformational and instructional leadership. Educational Administration Quarterly, 39 (3), 370-397. doi: 10.1177/0013161X03253412

Is Internet Addiction a Thing?

Internet addiction has become an international trend that is forcing people to reconsider the negative consequences of over exposure to the world wide web.

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?

References

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.

Additional Resources:

 

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!