According to Simsek & Sali (2014), the internet can be a deceitful tool. While filled with opportunity and used for scientific and educational inquiry, presenting opportunities for social media membership, the internet is also something that presents an opportunity for internet addiction. This is just what Simsek & Sali (2014) investigate, using a sample of 209 students at a medium size state university. Using the Internet Addiction Inventory produced by Young (1998), combined with a psychological questionnaire, the researchers find that the amount of time spent by students on the internet was complex, and often excessive, demonstrative of many students that heled internet addictions. Students that spent more time on social media, combined with the internet, were more likely to demonstrate symptoms of internet addiction. Further, students that were male and used the internet daily were more likely to display symptoms of internet addiction. Other signs of internet addiction included students that engaged daily with multiple social media accounts, including Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and LinkedIn (Simsek & Sali, 2014). Thus, membership to social media sites, including multiple sites coupled with daily use was shown to increase the prevalence of addiction.
Nolan (2009) suggests that breaking addiction may come from appealing to pathos, or the emotional trauma that others may have experienced by isolating others through their addiction, and by working to overcome their personal addictions. These may include addictions to not only the internet, but other substances which may include alcohol or cigarettes, Nolan (2009) notes that talking publically and personally, rather than online about the positive effects of counseling and treatment may appeal to individuals that suffer from addiction. Further, court narratives suggest that there is judicial empathy through pathos for individuals that openly express their emotions along with credibility when there is logical viability of an argument for someone that has an addiction.
This suggests that one must give testimony about the effects of an addiction on their lives. For example, someone with an internet addiction may forgo personal interaction with friends and family members in favor of time on the computer, to interact with social media, or to play games, which can be isolating.
Ethically, or appealing to ethos, such actions are immoral particularly if they cause a student to begin failing, or declining in their performance, or neglecting their personal lives. In a familial situation, a family member that begins to spend too much time on the computer may fail to interact with important members of the family including one’s partner or children. Roberts (2013) suggests that users can become compulsive in their use of technology, gaming excessively turning away from the activities they once enjoy. Or, social networking can become a snare so much so that they become substitutes for real life human contact (Roberts, 2013). Thus, websites including Facebook, Twitter and other online chat engines substitute for real relationships, yet the addict fails to realize the result, and the behavior continues while their real life relationships suffer. Users may be intelligent, yet they become obsessed in a false world that is comprised of delusional fantasy (Roberts, 2013). Often such tools are used to numb the individual as is the case with any addiction, allowing the user to “unplug from the difficulty of real-word relationships” (Roberts, 2013). The solution is engaging with people, engaging in the real world and working through an addiction through recovery, counseling, group support and interacting with people through real life relationships. By engaging with one’s feelings and interacting with others it is possible to overcome the grip of technology addicting and begin to escape from the grasp of addiction.
- Nolan, J.L. (2009). Reinventing Justice: The American Drug Court Movement. Princeton University Press.
- Simsek, E. & Sali J.B. (2014). The Role of Internet Addiction and Social Media Membership on University Students’ Psychological Capital. Contemporary Educational Technology, 5(3): 239-256.