The online digital age otherwise known as the internet currently has a colossal impact towards the society we live in today. Social networking sites such as Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter and various other platforms contribute to create our online personas. As a 20-year-old male social media plays an immense roll in my life, from communicating with friends too keeping up with the latest trends. Updating as well as checking my social media is simply a routine to me, it’s the first thing I do as I wake up and the last thing I do before bed. Stuck in a social bubble and unable to escape, it is clear that social networking is the way of the present as well as the future.
Since technology has advanced drastically in recent year’s, mobile devices are able to carry out more tasks and provide countless hours of entertainment compared too technology in past decades. The advancement of mobile communications such as Long Term Evolution (LTE), has made accessing web 2.0 applications available whilst on the move. This has allowed many including myself to check, update and view my online platforms with a swipe of a button. Allowing an upward trend of streaming services (e.g. Netflix, YouTube, Stan), social media profiles, as well as the popularity of real-time and interactive mobile games (Tomažič and Jakuš, 2009). Social networking sites are online gateways to virtual realities with the ability for individuals to interact with real-life friends, as well as meeting people with similar interest (Kuss and Griffiths, 2011). The overall convenience of accessing our web 2.0 applications such as Social networking sites whenever and wherever we want has caused some sort of addiction. Do you have an addiction? I’ve designed a simple test that I believe may answer whether or not you are addicted to the dark dark web.
How many web 2.0 applications do you have access too?
How many times a day do you check your web 2.0 applications?
Are you able to go several hours without checking your web 2.0 applications?
Are you able to last a week without checking your web 2.0 applications?
Although this test is not a literal means in determining whether or not you have an addiction, it is a sure way point in establishing a baseline of how dependent you are too the digital age. In order to answer these questions, I must state the limitations these questions may impose. Such as access to the internet (data limits and Wi-Fi availability) and restriction of mobile devices e.g. (work, schooling, driving). However, found attached are my own personal results.
Can we really call this an addiction?
Before exploring further, it is important to define the term ‘addiction’. Internet addiction can be generalised as an impulse control disorder, the inability to resist temptation, urge or failure of self control (American Psychiatric Publishing, 2013). Dr. Kimberly S. Young had established the five different types of internet addiction these include computer addiction (platform gaming software), web surfing addiction (blogs such as this one), net compulsions (gambling sites or online shopping addiction), cyber sexual addiction (online pornography or chatrooms) and cyber-relationship addiction (maintaining social relationships) (Kuss and Griffiths 2011). Social networking sites can be described as a cyber-relationship as we maintain as well as establish our online personas.
Unfortunately, through the use of my own questionnaire I too have an addiction to the web. The temptation that was imposed whilst my attempt to go several hours without checking my web 2.0 applications were horrendous, as I was only able to last 2 hours without checking my counterparts.
Is it really a bad thing?
It is important to note that there is no such thing as a good ‘addiction’ as too much of a particular stimulus can be detrimental. It is all about moderation and how you go about controlling said stimulus. The physical risk factors associated with internet addiction is quite minimal compared too the psychological factors imposed by frequent use of the internet. A popular physical risk factor associated with internet addiction include inconsistent sleeping patterns due to late night logins (Young, 1999). I too have sacrificed sleep to revamp my online profiles as well as keeping myself entertained during the early hours of the morning. Subsequently causing eye strains, headaches, sleep deprivation, as well as weakening the immune system making an individual prone to diseases. Although lack of sleep doesn’t seem like a big deal they’re other forms of problems associated with addiction.
The internet has been boasted for its ability to improve the educational aspect of learning, with the ability to access unlimited amounts of resources. However, it has been condemned by teachers, affirming that it decreases school performances. A study conducted in a Senior Ghanaian high school regarding the link between Social networking participation and academic performance has shown that the two variables are correlated. With findings of the study revealed a decrease in academic performance when they started participating on social networks (Mingle & Adams, 2015). However, the study also boasts about the gains associated with social networking sites such as improvement in reading skills, availability of research as well as the sharing of information and ideas. Nevertheless, the misuse of social media in an educational setting is still apparent with students such as myself are prone too maintaining our social profiles.
As I have stated before it is all about moderation and how we use such sites too ensure this addiction does not take a hold of us. It is up too the individual to know when and where is the right time to access our virtual selves. Although it’s easier said then done, through my own tests I have determined that I myself need to cut down on the amount of time I use accessing my social networking sites before it takes over me and my life.