The Psychological Causes Of Internet Addiction
The internet has good qualities as well as bad qualities to it. But, it seems that the good qualities outweigh the bad qualities most of the time. At the same time, the bad qualities may seem small, but they can cause great problems for internet users. Also, the bad qualities can cause individuals to commit acts or pick up behaviors that are unbecoming for them.
The internet has some good qualities to its usage like you can stay in connect with family and friends who live far away, you can find love on the internet, you are able to start a business using the internet, and the internet is good for students to complete assignments. The funny thing is that most individuals now live their everyday life on the internet because they complete work on the internet, they communicate with others on the internet, and they spend their leisure time on the internet. Many companies and schools require their employees and students to have 24/7 access to the internet in order to complete work assignments and class assignments. You can even do business with others in different countries due to the internet. The internet has made the world seem so small and everyone closer than before.
Despite the many good qualities concerning the internet, there are some bad qualities concerning the internet as well. And such bad qualities, can cause one to become addicted to bad behavior associated with access to the internet. One bad behavior that one can pick up from using the internet is addiction to pornography because anyone can easily access pornography on the internet. Also, one can pick up the addictive behavior of gambling on the internet because it is easy to gamble on the internet now. Many children are being preyed upon by pedophiles on social media sites and the police have had to learn how to combat this problem. Also, the internet is a hotbed for many different types of financial schemes.
The internet is not a good place for individuals with addictive behavior to browse without parameters. It is not good for a recovering gambling addict to have access to online casino sites. The main reason that some individuals may be addicted to the internet is because they are living a dull life. Whereas, on the internet, they are able to create a wonderful life for themselves. Also, pedophiles can hide behind the computer screen to catch and attack their prey (young children). When accessing the internet, you have to be careful and set parameters for yourself and your family regarding what will be accessed on the internet.
Internet addiction is a growing problem for the whole world: estimates show that from 5 to 10 % of world population have this problem. Internet addiction is defined as any online-related, compulsive behavior which interferes with normal living and causes severe stress on family, friends, loved ones, and one’s work environment (Johnson, 2009). Internet addiction has been called Internet dependency and Internet compulsivity.
On one hand, Internet should not be regarded as a means of addiction. “Addicted Internet users are addicted to a favored kind of social stimulation and not to the Internet itself, although it is also true that the Internet has made it vastly easier and more convenient for someone to develop such a compulsion”(Bocij, 2006). Therefore, those who tend to become addicts in real life. Have the same chance of becoming Internet addicts. On the other hand, the availability of Internet, propagation of new online possibilities and the lack of moral and social responsibility are the main driving forces causing people to drive into Internet compulsion.
One of the countries most vulnerable to this problem is Korea, where 90% of population have Internet access. Korea is ranked fourth in the world by the amount of home broadband subscribers. Also, Internet cafes are wide-spread, and Internet access is rather cheap. The problem of Internet addiction has already been closely examined and addressed by Korean government. To understand why this problem is so important for Korea, it is enough to analyze the statistics (Johnson, 2009):
– the average Korean high-school student spends 23 hours per week playing video games.
– 2.1 percent of children (from 6 to 19 y.o.) are affected severely enough to warrant treatment.
– about 80% of those who need treatment will also require medication.
– about 20-24% of those who need medication will also require hospitalization.
As one of the means for addressing this problem, a rescue camp for those who suffer Internet compulsivity was opened. The participants of rehabilitation programs arrive there and stay for a 12-day session. They are not allowed to use computers, and access to cell phones is limited by 1 hour per day. Also, lots of physical activities and actions aimed at establishing connection with real world are included.
Other actions of Korean government aimed at addressing the growing umber of Internet addicts is the idea of regulating the amount of Internet access and filtering content; the hotlines for those suffering Internet addiction are already available. However, despite these, obviously reasonable decisions, there are many depraved actions of the government related to the expansion of Internet dependency. For example, the availability of Internet and online gaming is a disease that has distracted many people (especially teenagers) from real life. However, government supports the online gaming industry and maintains Korea’s status as the capital of world gaming – for example, the world championship on computer games takes place in Korea. The biggest lie in all the situation is that though everyone is aware of Internet addiction, the government still supports and promotes the Internet cafes and uncontrolled usage of resources there, and does not make global attempts to address the situation. Though local solutions for those who are already addicted have been invented (and in this situation Korea is the pioneer – it managed to recognize such social problems which haven’t been identified clearly in other countries yet), there is no sound solution for turning people, especially young people, with their face to real life.
In my opinion, though Internet popularity itself should not be blamed for causing addiction, the tardy actions of the government and its “dual standards” – which encourage computer gaming business and internet cafes – together with the lack of adequate social programs for youth have partly added to the dimensions of the problem. However, current concern of the government and its set of actions aimed at reducing Internet addiction and its causes indicate that the problem has been recognized. Therefore, I believe that in future the number of Internet addicts and those in the “risk zone” will reduce.
Bocij, Paul. (2006). The dark side of the Internet. Greenwood Publishing Group.
Johnson, Nikola F. (2009). The Multiplicities of Internet Addiction. Ashgate.