We’ve all been there; surfing Youtube for silly cat videos, stalking crush on Facebook for hours on end, and posting weird sh*t on Instagram multiple times throughout the day to feed our narcissism. If you do any of these, you’re probably an Internet addict or as I like to say a net-aholic.
As if wasting multiple hours surfing the net aimlessly wasn’t bad enough, internet addiction can cause mental health problems such as anxiety, inattention, depression, executive functioning issues, impulsiveness and ADHD in individuals. Don’t believe me, well, I have this study to back me up.
Researchers at McMaster University in Canada included 254 student participants in their trial to investigate the effects of internet and social media in university-age individuals.
For the purpose of the study, the investigators used the Internet Addiction Test (IAT) to test the participants level of, you guessed it, Internet Addiction, which has been developed and used since 1998 (surprising I know right back then there was no Instagram or Facebook, so my guess is people used to get addicted to Yahoo or AOL for some reason) and also a new testing scale they designed on their own.
Results showed that 33 of the 254 students surveyed met screening criteria for internet addiction according to the Internet Addiction Test.
Chief Researcher Michael Van Ameringen, who serves as a professor at McMaster University said, “We found that those screening positive on the IAT as well as on our scale, had significantly more trouble dealing with their day to day activities, including life at home, at work, school and in social setting.”
According to the research, university students had the most difficulty controlling their use of video streaming sites with 55.8% struggling, 47.9% couldn’t control their social media use and 28.5% had difficulty staying away from instant messaging tools. All of which I can totally relate with unfortunately.
As if this weren’t bad enough if you use Armenigan’s and colleagues’ algorithm, there were thrice as many students who met criteria for problematic internet use (107 flagged up in the test), which is more likely to reflect modern Internet use, rather than the slow as a snail dial up internet that our grandmas used.
All joking aside though, these shocking observations call for serious medical interventions, and it’s time we took Internet Addiction seriously, due to the high risk of mental health problems associated with it.
Not only is internet addiction bad but social media itself can have serious health consequences as well. It can promote violence, cyberbullying, disturb sleep cycles and by watching pictures promoting sex, drugs and risky behavior can make people act irrationally and influence them to follow such behavior to gain online popularity.
I am of the opinion that all of us get rid of laptops and our smartphones, and just start smoking weed instead, hey, its lot safer man.