The concern that individuals may become obsessed with medium pre-dates the Internet. The use of the term “addiction,” particularly when referring to heavy internet users, is controversial (Kuss et al. 1989). It has drawn the attention of social scientists, medical professionals, and American Psychiatric Association (APA). At one point, APA argued that excessive use of the Internet does not amount to addiction.
Kuss et al. allege, “Social scientists and medical professionals claim that there is no enough evidence to prove that Internet addiction is a complex physiological state close to alcoholism or drug addiction” (1991). Despite the disagreements, it is apparent that individuals who spend a lot of time online are unable to meet their obligations.
The Internet is to blame for the increased rate of addiction among children and youths. This paper will use qualitative data to analyze the role of the web in digital media addiction amid young people. The paper will begin with a literature review of internet addiction.
It will then discuss the methodology used to obtain information about Internet addiction. The article will also comprise a systematic review of secondary data and culminate by giving an analytical summary of the findings and recommendations.
According to uses and gratification theory (U&G), a person’s basic wants to influence his/her communication behaviors. Thus, individuals are not perceived as being consistently or evenly motivated, purposive, and active in their application of the Internet to fulfill essential needs.
Kim and Haridakis maintain, “Based on the uses and gratification theory, ascertaining factors that contribute to a particular outcome of media use begins with a consideration of potentially relevant background characteristics of media users” (991). Currently, no adequate research analyzes the role of digital media in internet addiction.
According to Kim and Haridakis, the Internet facilitates interaction amid teens without disclosing one’s identity (1003). The high degree of anonymity on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram motivates the youths to spend a lot of time on the Internet resulting in addiction.
Many times, children and teens fail to exhibit certain social behaviors due to concerns, tension, and feelings of embarrassment, particularly when dealing with strangers. The Internet alleviates these feelings, thus allowing the young people to interact freely.
Kuss alleges that the web arouses desired stimuli amid sensation-seekers (961). Kuss defines sensation-seeking as “a personality trait that reflects how willing a person is to seeking novel or arousing stimuli” (963). Research shows that the majority of high sensation-seekers demonstrate addictive internet use traits.
Sensation-seekers look for media content that can arouse their emotions. Such materials are readily available on the web. According to Fioravanti et al., the Internet serves as a consolation to individuals who lack good social skills (321). Youths who are not contented with their offline interpersonal relationships find the Internet as an effective avenue for social compensation.
The overdependence on the Internet to assuage solitude results in children and teens becoming addicted. The Internet comprises many online activities that may help to alleviate loneliness. As such, children and young people who are socially incompetent opt to engage in online activities to console themselves, eventually becoming addicted to the Internet (Ozdemir et al. 288).
External factors like television and digital media influence the lives of individuals without a locus of control. According to Akin, persons who believe that external forces do not affect their lives are unlikely to become internet addicts (407).
Research indicates that individuals without a locus of control are heavy television viewers. Similarly, they are unable to control their internet use behaviors contributing to addiction (Sahel et al. 384). They believe that external factors have an influence over their lives.
Lee et al. argue that there is a correlation between external control and excessive use of the Internet (375). Persons without a locus of control use the Internet in an attempt to gain control of their lives. With time, they become addicted to the web losing grip of their lives. Individuals with low self-esteem do not believe in their abilities and are doubtful of praises.
As a result, they prefer to adopt addictive behaviors as a way to circumvent stresses and pessimistic evaluations. Engaging in online activities enables young people to withdraw from negative assessments and cope with low self-esteem (Tonini et al. 84). In other words, the Internet serves as a valuable solace to persons with low self-esteem. The attempt by children and youths to use the Internet to bolster their self-esteem results in addiction.
Scholars suggest the use of cognitive-behavioral therapy to deal with the challenge of internet addiction. It would be hard for children and teens to recover from internet addiction without addressing the behaviors and thoughts that contribute to the challenge (King et al. 1187).
The application of cognitive restructuring can go a long way towards helping children and young people to deal with mental distortions and beliefs that force them to engage in excessive internet use. Moreover, parents and schools can use behavioral therapy to assist kids who are victims of internet addiction.
Teaching the kids responsible ways of using the Internet may enable them to observe moderate online usage. Additionally, they would avoid accessing problematic online programs that encourage them to take long on the web, thus becoming addicted.
King et al. allege that reality therapy has proved to be useful in addressing other forms of addiction like drugs, food, and sex (1191). It may also be helpful in dealing with internet addiction.
Leung and Lee posit, “The choice theory aspect of reality therapy is of particular importance as it works to help addicts make choices that allow them to control their behavior, while still meeting their needs and wants” (71). The parents and counselors can assemble the addicts into groups and use reality therapy to address their problems.
According to Winkler et al., the most challenging part of dealing with internet addiction is identifying the problem and conquering the denunciation of obsession amid the children and teens (319). Scholars argue that establishing preventive mechanisms is useful in dealing with internet addiction.
School administrations must initiate programs aimed at ensuring that students do not spend a lot of time on the web to avoid possible addiction. Moreover, parents should make sure that their children engage in outdoor activities to prevent them from spending too much time on the Internet. School counselors should take a proactive role in collecting and sharing information about awkward internet use among the students.
Additionally, schools should offer in-services training to equip teachers with skills in internet addiction and how to detect early signs. Winkler et al. suggest that school counselors must enlighten parents on how to supervise and limit internet usage amid their kids (322). Moreover, they should inform students about the dangers of excessive use of the Internet.
The researcher relied on qualitative data from peer-reviewed journals that focused on internet addiction. The journals that were less than five years old qualified for the study. Additionally, the journals had to have used quasi-experimental or randomized control trials to analyze the correlation between the Internet and addiction. Moreover, all the eligible studies were available in English.
Journals that were available in languages such as French were ineligible for this research. The investigator conducted a literature search with contributions from individuals with experience in internet addiction to determine sources that shed light on the relationship between the Internet and internet addiction. The researcher used Google scholar and EBSCO host to gather the requisite journals. A total of 12 journals were used for the study.
The researcher reviewed the identified sources to extract relevant qualitative information. They used regular data extraction form to gather essential information. The factors considered in data extraction included research design and the results of each study. The researcher used six distinct domains to evaluate the possibility of biases in each source.
They included sequence generation, blinding of participants, allocation concealment, outcome assessors, selective reporting, and comprehensiveness of outcome data. The pollster contacted the authors of the selected sources to clarify areas that were not clear and request for additional data. A third party aided in resolving the risk of bias evaluation and divergence in data mining.
After the researcher had obtained adequate data, they conducted meta-analyses with the help of review manager software. In the cases where the investigator could not retrieve data from the sources or get clarification from the authors, they did not come up with their values for the sake of the study. The researcher used a random-effects model to compute a weighted mean difference in the cases of dichotomous and continuous results.
In situations where the disparities between the findings were significant, the researcher conducted sensitivity analyses, which enabled them to analytically purge the peer-reviewed journals from meta-analyses to assess the robustness of their results.
The researcher made the decision to remove studies from meta-analyses based on their possible cause of inconsistency. The investigator relied on narrative analyses in circumstances where it was hard to conduct meta-analyses.
All the scholarly journals confirmed that the Internet plays a significant role in causing digital media addiction among children and teenagers. Four of the selected journals confirmed that the web contributes to excessive digital media usage amid children and adolescents due to its capacity to alleviate loneliness and shyness and arouse sensational emotions.
The Internet serves as a consolation to kids and teenagers who feel lonely or are unable to make friendships. The kids and adolescents spend a lot of time on the Internet resulting in addiction. Five of the journals concluded that the Internet could influence the lives of individuals who lack locus of control. It interferes with the kid’s and teens’ offline life.
Eventually, they develop detrimental internet use behaviors that prevent them from discharging their daily activities. Excessive internet use results in teens and children escaping reality. They become engrossed in online life, therefore being frustrated whenever there is no opportunity to access the Internet.
In summary, the findings of the study indicated that excessive internet use amid kids and youths leads to addiction. The Internet has the power to alleviate loneliness and shyness in young people. The study found that some teenagers spend a lot of time on the web because it is the only avenue, which enables them to interact with others without exposing their real identity.
With time, the children become addicted to the Internet as they cannot establish friendships with their colleagues. External forces have influence over kids and teenagers who do not have control over their life. The Internet is one of the external forces that have extensive control over the life of children and youths.
The kids spend a lot of time on the web in an attempt to gain control of their life. The longer they stay on the Internet, the more they become addicted. The study found that the Internet comprises a lot of interesting digital content. Therefore, teenagers who are sensation-seekers are likely to get addicted to the web as it fulfills their desires.
The findings raise the question about whether kids are addicted to the Internet or the content accessible via the medium. Therefore, future studies should concentrate on differentiating between possible addiction to the digital medium and obsession with the information that is available through the Internet.
One should acknowledge that individuals addicted to the Internet spend a lot of time browsing with no certain objective. On the other hand, those addicted to the content accessible via the web like pornography, view the medium as a conduit through which they gratify their desires.
School counselors and parents should monitor the internet usage of their kids to determine if they are addicted. Additionally, they should educate children and youths on the dangers of spending a lot of time on the Internet.
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