Internet addiction

The Internet has been a rapidly developing phenomenon until the 1980s, when it first came into our lives in 1960. Due to the invention of the worldwide web (www) in 1991 and the increasing number of users especially since 1995, it has become the most common communication medium in the world. Personally, I spend most of my day online. Computers and phones are among the most commonly used technology tools. Since the smartphone is more accessible than the computer, I use the computer less except for homework or distance education lessons. In this article, I will support and talk about internet use and whether this use can lead to an addiction with some arguments. Personally, the most used technology tool in my daily life is the smart phone. I use the smartphone to search for information on the Internet, to shop, to browse social media, to communicate with my social circle and to play games. This usage can reach approximately 7-8 hours per day. Here is our basic question; Is this use, or is it an addiction that the internet occupies our daily lives for hours in general? In my opinion, the answer to this question is yes.

Today, internet usage is used for different purposes. For example, socialization, information flow, communication, commerce. The internet has many advantages, as well as many disadvantages. Easy access to information, abundance of resources, communication and socialization through social media can be given as examples of the advantages of the internet. On the other hand, there are various disadvantages in terms of physical problems that occur as a result of widespread use of the internet during the day, addiction that comes with widespread use, psychological development and social development. Despite the negativities that occur when a person uses online social media and active games during the day, the disruption of daily activities, aggression and anger in the person indicate addiction. Conditions such as the “perception of beauty” and the “like” button imposed on social media are wearing out especially for young adolescents during adolescence. On the other hand, the fact that shopping is so easy changes people’s consumption habits. Even while researching something, the advertising content on the margins of the web page forces the person to focus. On the one hand, the Internet supports the development of people, on the other hand, it can cause addiction with its uncontrolled use. Internet addiction can be mentioned if excessive internet use is increasing day by day, if this desire cannot be prevented, if it causes distress and restlessness when deprived, and if it affects daily functions, social life, school and family life. Internet use up to 40-80 hours a week is in question in addiction. For the first time, Ivan Goldberg (1996) defined and discussed the term “internet addiction” and developed indicators for internet addiction in line with the substance addiction diagnostic criteria in DSM-IV. On the other hand, in 1996, Young defined internet addiction based on the DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for pathological gambling. This means that we can talk about internet addiction today.

One of the strongest predictors of internet addiction is the insecure attachment status of the person. According to research, it is seen that people who have insecure attachment from the baby’s primary caregiver due to issues such as loneliness, anger, and social inadequacy compensate for this deficiency through social media and connection in order to meet their social loneliness needs. Studies have found that there are negative relationships between internet addiction and secure attachment, and positive relationships with insecure attachment (indifferent, fearful and obsessive). Individuals who do not feel comfortable and safe in interpersonal communication and interactions tend to use online environments to communicate. He states that individuals with low self-efficacy perception in real social environments and showing symptoms such as fear, shyness and anxiety use online environments and the Internet more frequently. As a matter of fact, online environments are environments where threats posed by real social environments such as shyness, fear and anxiety are minimized. The person may hide himself, and there may be no face-to-face meeting as in the social environment. For this reason, individuals with such problems in interpersonal relationships frequently use the internet.

On the other hand, adolescents’ internet use is not much different from other people. Adolescence is a turbulent process as of the period. They use it to cope with depressive symptoms and to reduce psychological tension. In addition, Yen et al. (2008) emphasize that adolescents use the internet as a tool to cope with emotional problems. Two of Young’s eight-item diagnostic criteria for internet addiction are related to the effect of negative emotions on internet use. These; “Using the Internet to escape from problems or to get away from negative emotions (e.g., helplessness, guilt, depression, anxiety)” and “feeling restless, depressed, or angry if Internet use is reduced or stopped altogether”. According to Young, negative emotions and daily life stress cause people to turn to online environments and social media. Here we can talk about social connection and fear of missing out. As people turn to these environments, they break away from their real social environments and suppress their existing negative emotions. Especially adolescents are at risk for fear of missing out. The lack of connection with others and the anxiety of being disconnected create a negative life and mood. In this context, the use of the Internet, which has reached the level of addiction, brings with it withdrawal symptoms. When an internet addict stays away from the internet, he/she may feel uneasiness and anger. For this reason, Young’s (1998) diagnostic criterion “using the internet to escape from problems or to get away from negative emotions (eg helplessness, guilt, depression, anxiety)” also shows that the internet is used as a dysfunctional coping strategy.

As a result, I can say that today’s widespread internet use, which loses its functionality from time to time, has turned into an addiction. The Internet makes our lives easier and faster for many issues. However, when it is not used consciously, it leads to different negative dimensions. This situation varies from person to person. As I mentioned, people and adolescents with insecure attachment problems are more prone to internet addiction. Other than that, the situation is not much different for other people. In my personal opinion, I am someone who spends an average of 7-8 hours of screen time during the day. Sometimes it’s good to get away from electronics or the internet, but it takes up most of our lives. For this reason, when I stay away, I feel that there is something missing. In addition, people with depressive and social anxiety prefer online environments more than being active in social life as it reduces their anxiety levels. We can see anxiety, restlessness and anger problems as withdrawal symptoms when people stay away from the internet. These symptoms constitute an important point in addiction. For this reason, the widespread use of the internet and the feelings of deprivation in people show us that internet addiction exists.

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