Student thoughts: Society’s love for the Internet is an addiction

Maytinee Kramer / Contributing writer

opinion@fiusm.com


Do you ever have feelings guilt and pleasure when your image shows up on a screen?  Do you grab your phone first thing in the morning?  Even worse, do you text and drive? We can all admit that at some point, we have a desire to be online, but many times, it’s not for work related reasons.

Internet addiction and the dangers of excessive computer gaming are nothing new, but the subject is receiving fresh attention with an alarming trend in China. It is estimated that roughly one in ten children between ages 10 and 19 are addicted to the Internet. Even here in the U.S. we are attached to our  tech –  social media, our smartphones, our tablets, the Internet – but it seems we are too attached, possibly to the point of addiction. A 2014 study showed that 16 percent of 18 to 25-year-olds dealt with compulsive Internet use.

In the U.S., Internet addiction is not formally recognized as a mental illness, but many acknowledge that the phenomenon is more complicated than a simple social problem. Growing concerns have called for medical practitioners and health officials to offer therapy and treatment centers for these addictions.

Research has shown that excessive technology and Internet use can cause dependence and addiction, both psychologically and physically. The brain naturally develops patterns of use through human relationships, but with Internet use quickly replacing in-person social interaction, this function of the brain can quickly make bad habits compulsive, and in cases such as this, a health concern.

Technology and Internet dependence can become a source of chronic tension, physical health detriments, emotional distress, decreased performance at work and school and an inhibitor of emotional intimacy.

When unable to engage in online activities, people, especially children, become restless, angry or depressed. As the old saying goes, “monkey see, monkey do.” Children learn from what their parents do, and in today’s society, many parents are more interested and more responsive to their screens than to their children. Because of this, children feel the disconnect, which leads them to take to the Internet themselves.

Wherever you go, you can easily observe how many people are on their phone, how many children hold gadgets instead of their parent’s hand, how many are posting selfies rather than engaging in conversation.

All people are different, with some using technology more than others. We all have and understand our own wiring. Internet addiction is sucking the life out of us, taking us away from the engagement of reality.

It may be wise to take a page out of China’s and Korea’s book to develop a curriculum to teach children and adults how to protect themselves from overusing digital gadgets and the Internet.  We should all take a step back and take pleasure in the simpler things in life such as reading for pleasure, playing outside, getting creative and having face-to-face social time. Most importantly, everyone should know how, when, where and why it’s acceptable to be online.


 

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About the Author

Sam Smith
The Beacon - Editor-in-Chief

1 Comment on "Student thoughts: Society’s love for the Internet is an addiction"

  1. Great article! I definitely agree; it seems like our technologies have gone from tools to a complete lifestyle. I have to wonder what the long-term effects will be for children who have spent their entire lives surrounded by cell phones and computers.

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