ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

What makes the Internet Addictive for users?

Updated on July 6, 2017

Introduction

Internet addiction is compared to pathological gambling which a disorder is pertaining to impulse control. A number of internet users have gone on to develop a psychological attachment to internet gadgets including smart phones, computers, Ipads, tablets and so on alongside online friends and activities which they create on these gadgets. The internet has brought with it aspects that allow users to make friends, socialize, meet and exchange ideas or information through social networking sites, chat rooms or virtual communities. However, it is common to see some internet users spending endless hours on their Smart Phones, laptops, and desktops while chatting with their online friends, blogging or doing research on topics of interest. In a number of occasions, this habit has landed such users into trouble with for instance their spouses, family members, workmates, supervisors and their managers. This essay analyzes the factors making the internet to be addictive for users.

According to studies, 10% of internet users are addicted (Meerkerket al). However, until today, researchers are yet to explain about what internet addiction disorder is. Additionally, the topic of internet addiction has not received much attention from researchers the same way as other mental ailments. This implies that the exact number of people who are affected by the condition is yet to be identified. Furthermore, not many researchers have developed an interest or studies in this case pertaining to what make individuals become internet addicted while others do not find themselves in similar situations. According to the new version of the Statistical and Diagnostic Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), internet addiction is a disorder to require further research. A study conducted by Zboralski et al indicated that internet addiction had become widespread, particularly among the younger populace. Specifically, the study established that for every four children exposed to the internet, one of them is internet addicted. This statistics is quite alarming and certainly requires further and urgent analysis. It is because of this knowledge that the author of this research was triggered to initiate a study establishing the factors behind internet addiction so as to provide a green light for possible intervention.


According to a study conducted by the Iowa University, internet addicts utilize the internet as a place of escape, or solace whenever they feel depressed, overwhelmed, anxious, stressed or lonely. The study went on to establish that internet addiction was more prevalent among the male populace between the ages of 20 to 30 and who were suffering from depression and emotional related issues. The study further noted that certain individuals especially those with emotional problems may resort to using the internet to solve such issues. However, there are still those who have a historical background for other types of addiction including gambling, sex, alcohol, and or drugs (Parsons). Furthermore, being unhappy and stressed has also been found to contribute significantly towards the development of the internet addiction. Others who are also at risk of internet addiction are those who are socially dysfunctional, that is those who find it hard to relate with their peers, those who are overly shy and those with communication issues.

What this study implies is that depression, stress or other mental and emotional problems plays a key role in influencing one into using the internet for a long time. Since most individuals with emotional and psychological issues could be socially disengaged, they will then pre-occupy themselves with the internet as a way of passing time, seeking solace from online friends, seeking advice or information on how to deal with their problems or simply because they have become used to checking messages, chatting with existing and new friends or doing research as a form of engagement.

A study done by the American Journal of Psychiatry reported that internet addiction constitutes three different subcategories. These subcategories include text messaging or emailing, gaming and sex preoccupations. Common components in these subcategories include tolerance, excessive use, negative implications and withdrawal (Pearson).

Nonetheless, it ought to be considered that the experience of each person in how or when to use the internet differs. While there are those who rely on it exclusively for jobs, there are those who use it for social purposes including connection with family and friends. Ultimately, use of the internet becomes a problem when the user begins to neglect other important aspects of life such as physical relationship with family, school or work activities because of the internet.

Another study by Cash et al noted that the internet has a rewarding nature for its users, and that it is this rewarding nature that is responsible for internet addiction. According to this study, addictions are accountable for activating different brain areas which are connected to pleasure. These sites are collectively identified as pleasure pathway. Whenever there is activation of these sites, the production of dopamine, as well as other types of neuorchemicals by the brain is increased. As time goes by, the brain’s reward center develops a need for increased stimulation so as to produce similar feelings. Consequently, a person may require engaging in higher amount of specific behavior pattern as a way of evading withdrawal symptoms.

Indeed, this finding is backed by various other psychological studies which establish that the internet harbors similar effects just like those of gambling, and substance abuse. For instance, a journal by Current Psychiatry Reviews also observed that internet addiction affects individuals normal cognitive functioning by causing psychological disturbances, neurological complication and social problems (Cash et al).

The social connections which people make while on online can as well contribute to their internet addition. While some internet activities can be beneficial such as when seeking important information or advice, chatting for relaxation of finding lost friends and relatives, some activities may cause psychological and even physical problems on the user. Furthermore, these online friends may be influential either positively or negatively according to the kind of communication they engage in, thus causing emotional attachment between and among friends. Moreover, this addiction may make one fail to recognize the importance or even have time to have physical connections to friends and relatives.

This study by Cash et al ideally presents a scientific explanation on why internet addiction occurs among users. From this study, I can deduce that a consistent use of certain behavior, which in this case is engagement in the internet, causes activation of certain parts of the brain. In simple explanations, when an individual for instance, occasionally involves himself/herself in internet related activities including chatting on social media, research, or gaming, there are specific parts of the brain identified as pleasure paths which gets activated. Within time, a person will need to engage himself/herself in similar behavior so as to achieve the same pleasurable or satisfactory feelings. Therefore, in short, an individual becomes addicted in internet because of regular and consistent involvement.

This analysis has unearthed a number of factors behind internet addiction for most people. Among these factors as identified by the research include emotional problems such as anxiety, stress, depression and other mental disorders, history of addiction in other aspects including alcohol, gambling, drug use or poor personality leading to poor or inability to interact with peers. It would therefore, be important if the stakeholders including the government and its associated agencies design means of identifying risk factors and vulnerabilities that can pre-dispose individuals into internet addiction.

However, a more scientific explanation on the causes of internet addiction may be derived from a study by (Cash et al). As per this study, it is the consistent use of certain behavior, which in this case is engagement in the internet that causes activation of certain parts of the brain noted as (pleasure paths). In simple explanations, when an individual for instance, occasionally involves himself/herself in internet related activities including chatting on social media, research, or gaming, there are specific parts of the brain identified as pleasure paths which gets activated. Within time, a person will need to engage himself/herself in similar behavior so as to achieve the same pleasurable or satisfactory feelings. The validity of these findings are backed by various other psychological and social studies. For example, the Current Psychiatry Reviews also observed that internet addiction affects individual’s normal cognitive functioning and processes by causing psychological disturbances, neurological complication and social problems. Therefore, in short, an individual becomes addicted in internet use and related activities because of regular and consistent involvement.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)