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Unraveling the Web: A #SciencePerspective on Internet Addiction

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Medriva Correspondents
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Unraveling the Web: A #SciencePerspective on Internet Addiction

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Understanding Internet Addiction

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As the digital age advances, questions about the addictive potential of the internet continue to arise. The internet has integrated itself into nearly every aspect of our lives, from work to social interactions, and even our leisure time. The ubiquity of internet use makes it difficult to discern when its use becomes excessive or potentially harmful. This article aims to provide a #SciencePerspective on this issue, delving into the complexities of internet addiction and its potential implications on individuals.

Internet Use and Gaming Disorder

An article published in ScienceDirect discusses the developmental changes and mutual connections between risk factors and symptoms of gaming disorder (GD), a condition that is closely linked to internet addiction. The study highlights significant predictive factors for GD development, including stress, ADHD, aggression, and of course, internet addiction. Interestingly, the study found no differences among participants with distinct GD trajectories in terms of gender, age, or gaming time. This indicates that the risk of developing GD is not necessarily higher for any particular demographic, but is more closely linked to internet addiction and related factors.

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Internet Addiction Among College Students

Internet addiction is not limited to the gaming community. A scoping review has found that it is prevalent among college students from 20 countries, affecting their academic performance and sleep quality. The addictive nature of the internet can lead to procrastination, impacting students' academic achievements. Prolonged hours spent surfing the web can also disrupt normal sleep patterns, leading to poor sleep quality.

Internet Use and Mental Health

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The correlation between digital media use and mental health has been a topic of research since the mid 1990s. The use of the term 'addiction' to describe excessive internet use and social media use is a subject of ongoing debate. A 2018 review by psychologists at Ramon Llull University suggested that excessive digital media use should be referred to as problematic use rather than addiction. It was found that females are more likely to overuse social media, while males are more likely to overuse video games. However, removing digital devices can have a detrimental effect on learning, family relationship dynamics, and overall development.

The Role of Cyberpsychology

Cyberpsychology, an interdisciplinary domain focusing on the psychological effects of human interaction with digital technology, especially the internet, has provided important insights into this issue. Research in this field has shown that excessive social media usage can increase feelings of social isolation and is closely linked to depression and inadequacy. Behaviors on social media platforms like Facebook have been associated with adverse relationship outcomes.

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Adolescents, Social Media, and Health-Related Behaviors

Research also sheds light on the association between adolescents' social media use and health-related behaviors. A study conducted in the Netherlands found that adolescents at risk of problematic social media use (PSMU) were more likely to exhibit unhealthy lifestyle behaviors, such as alcohol consumption, smoking, poor eating habits, and lower physical activity. The study suggests that time spent on social media may replace time otherwise spent on health-related behaviors.

Final Thoughts

The exploration of internet addiction presents a complex, multifaceted issue that requires careful consideration and further research. With its widespread use and integration into our daily lives, understanding the potential risks and effects of the internet and social media on our mental health and lifestyle is crucial. This understanding will help us create effective strategies to balance our digital and real-world interactions and ensure a healthier, more productive relationship with technology.

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