Taking a Stance — My Opinion

Being able to live without technology and the Internet all together seems close to impossible nowadays. People are just a text or email away, and with social media, we can follow close friends, acquaintances, and even total strangers for the sake of staying connected or making new connections. People have become so obsessed these days, making me think: ‘Is there a way to get rid of this addiction?’ The old fashioned ways of trying to communicate (such as writing letters, and even making phone calls nowadays) are but a thing of the past, something this new generation would not want to adapt to living in fast paced life with faster internet connection. Personally, I find the internet and all it has to offer, such as social media, as a necessity and an essential when it comes to communicating, but I also do find that this obsession with the internet is also starting to become a problem, an addiction that is starting to get out of hand.

According to Catherine Steiner-Adair in an article for CNN, she writes that “… about 16% of 18–25 year-olds are involved with compulsive internet use (2015).” With quite an amount of young adults hooked to the internet, Steiner-Adair also mentions the issue of whether or not compulsive internet use should even be considered an addiction, and it looks like it very well may be. The DSM, or Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, already includes ‘Internet Gaming Disorder,’ so why not include internet addiction? The symptoms and even withdrawal effects for internet addiction are found to be very similar to that of substance addiction.

Although Steiner-Adair claims only 16% of young adults use the internet compulsively, it does not necessarily mean that all young adults use the internet out of compulsion. internetaddictiondisorder.org states:

“It is undeniable that the Internet provides people with the abilities to easily acquire information, learn new things, gain and maintain relationships, and make money. In short, the Internet has been instrumental in improving our quality of life.”

It is true that the internet has improved our lives with its efficiency, speed and accuracy, but due to such praiseworthy traits, this would only drive people to continue using the internet even more often and whenever they can. Going back to Steiner-Adair’s claim, while 16% of young adults were said to use the internet compulsively, what about for those in the younger age group? According to Webroot, 21% of the youth (8–18 year-olds) spend nearly 16 hours a day, and 63% claim to be moderate users. With so many of the youth already being introduced to the internet and its admirable traits and benefits, it allows for these children to build up a strong dependence on the internet.

While removing the use of internet is too radical of a move and is near impossible, one idea would be to limit the time we use the internet. While the necessities of internet use varies from person to person, the most ideal move to make to get closer to a resolution of internet addiction is to not introduce such things to children at such a young age. In recent observations, many of us can definitely see lots of children as young as 3 being handed an iPad or a smartphone in order to behave, which just leads to them being exposed to the dangers of internet addiction at a young age.