Hello Professor and Classmates,
The topic that I have selected to speak about is Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD). Smart phones are basically hand-held computers that allow each of us the ability to carry our virtual reality addictions from location to location as we go about our daily activities. I know that this is a mouth full, but it is true, and I have this addiction as well. I am aware that there are several benefits of having a smart phone. There are businesses that use smart phones to keep clients informed when there is a change in scheduling or to find a location of a residence when providing a service such as lawn and cable services. There is also the chance that there may be an emergency afoot that requires medical assistance or law enforcement. All of the aforementioned situations fall within the parameters of what is considered to be normal use of a smart phone. I will add that certain businesses such as a day trader for a stock broker will likely look up trends or watch the rise and fall of stocks as a means to advice their clients, for these purposes the constant use of a smart phone does not constitute addictive behavior. Addictive behavior does not include constant use of a cellular phone for livelihood, I want to make that clear in this post up front.
The Negative: When smart phones become your social life, there are issues that should likely be addressed. I am a bit old fashioned and believe in face-to-face contact with human beings for social stimulation. While smart phones provide much assistance in planning activities or giving guidance, they should not be a person’s sole go-to for social stimulation. Application games, what’s App, Text Messaging, Facebook, and other applications are very trendy and many individuals cannot part ways with their smart phone as a result of an addiction to the internet while using their smart phone. The same occurs when using laptops and desktop computer systems. One statistic states that over 40 percent of the world’s population uses the internet and that there is no pathway from adaptive to pathological internet use, there is no widely used accepted diagnosis criteria (Carli V., Durkee T., Wasserman D., 2013). When you research IAD is the DSM-5 you will find that it is listed as a disorder that needs more research (American Psychiatric Association., 2013)). IAD is gaining traction but all of the details have not been worked out regarding IAD. A person is said to have an addiction once their use of the internet interferes with their lifestyle.
Discussion: While eating at Applebee’s I witnessed a woman and a child eating at a table. The child had the typical coloring and crossword diagram that is usually handed to children by the restaurant’s staff. The child tried to show the mother her work but was ignored multiple times. The mother sat at the table with her smartphone in her hand and I thought to myself, what is the point of taking your child to dinner if you are not going to use the opportunity for a bit of parental bonding. From where I sat, I could see that the mother was browsing repeatedly between facebook and Instagram. Could the mother be addicted to the internet and social media or is she simply within what is considered to be the norm for internet usage. I would argue that social media is not a part of family dinner unless it is being used in a family type of setting and every member associates what is occurring on social media to their dinner. I believe social media can enhance family gatherings but if you use it to the point of ignoring immediate family members such as your children then it may be time to take a break from it.
Social Stigma: There is definitely social stigma associated with internet addiction. There is a very popular argument that is made regarding the youth particularly here in the United States. The older population states that the younger population depend far too much on their electronics, to include their smartphones. They believe these “millennials” are weak and lack good old fashioned morals. While I understand exactly where the dinosaurs (older population, myself included) of American citizens are coming from, I believe we push the social stigma that continual use of the internet leaves no room for physical interaction, at least not in the regard that way we experienced it growing up. In some cases addictions are not bad, I am sure some people have had a spike in interest by using the internet and they were able to acquire enough interest in it that they became program developers. Some people also believe that to become extremely good at anything, you must have some sort of obsession, while obsession and addiction appear the same they are completely two different things. Addiction is said to help a person escape reality while obsession becomes a part of their daily lives. Should we call this internet business an obsession or an addiction? If we call it an addiction then this means that the person uses the internet to escape reality, if we use the aforementioned definition. This would be more appropriate for video gamers in my opinion and not for people who use social media sites like facebook and Instagram. These sites typically use factual information from other individual’s lives and allows the user to publish real time live adventures. The line appears somewhat thin when talking obsession versus addiction. In any case there is much social stigma associated with each of these.
Positive points of addiction: If a person is addicted to working out their body then this is likely not a bad addiction to have. The upside of it is that the individual may lead a healthy lifestyle with would likely promote longevity. A person who is addicted to video games may find the need to create their own. In this instance their addiction to video games would have sparked an interest enough to drive a creative mindset in the individual that they can use as a form of lively hood. The chances of developing a social media platform such as facebook or Instagram is likely slim to none so I do not believe addictions to these websites can lead to anything that would be beneficial. A person may find the need to promote their business and in this case their addiction to social media would supplement their income because they will likely know the ins-and-outs of where to go on social media to pull in the targeted crowd of people needed to sustain their business. Addictions can be vises but they can also be a way to enhance our lifestyles particularly and internet addiction.
Carl D. Nelson Jr.
American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Retrieved from http://dsm.psychiatryonline.org/book.aspx?bookid=556Links to an external site.
Carli V., Durkee T., Wasserman D. (2013). The association between pathological Internet use and comorbid psychopathology: asystematic review. Psychopathology 46(1),1-13