Hi, this is Calum Irving, here today talk about Internet use and addiction, which some of you might be familiar with seeing as you're on the Internet listening to this right now. Today I'll be talking to 4th year psychology student Catriona about Internet users and addiction. Catriona is currently in the process of writing her dissertation which surrounds the topic of Internet use and individuals that are likely to use it. I posed some questions to Catriona about why Internet addiction is such a huge current topic, it's current place in mental health diagnoses and how to spot individuals that are more likely to suffer from the addiction itself.
This is what Catriona had to say.
There’s been a rise in scientific studies that are looking at internet use due to the increased eh number of users and devices on which we can access the internet. Over the past 2 years’ internet users have increased by over 2 billion and on average people spend around 6.2 hours a day accessing the internet. Due to this massive rise in internet use, internet addiction has become a much larger problem. And some psychologists have suggested that internet addiction should be classified as a diagnosed mental health disorder.
As with all mental health disorders it’s necessary to understand the types of people that are more susceptible to suffering in order to aid treatments.
Studies so far have suggested that people that are low on interpersonal relationships but are curious and more open to ideas are more likely to suffer from internet addiction. It’s also been noted that shy in introverted individuals are more likely to be addicted to the internet, especially in women using social networking sites. This makes sense at it implies that people that don’t have the communication skills to interact with others on a day to day basis take to the internet in order to interact.
The most predictive trait in internet use and addiction is high levels of neuroticism which are more often associated with anxiety. Unsurprisingly it has been shown that anxious individuals are more likely to suffer from internet gaming addiction huh and are less likely to upload photos to social networking sites. However anxious woman are found to be more social in the internet. It is not really sure why this is the case but is speculated that as women are naturally higher in neuroticism and therefor have higher levels of anxiety it could be that they have learned to cope in a different way. And find it easier to be more social on the internet.
With the internet constantly expanding and updating it’s important to continue to look at what factors might cause problematic internet use that could lead to addictions Recognising patterns will make it easier to implement possible treatments if internet addiction is ever recognised as a diagnosed mental health disorder.
Interlude between interviews.
Also, today we are talking to a possible Internet addict herself, Natalie. Just a teenager, Natalie grew up surrounded by the ever-growing society of Internet users.
So Natalie do you think you are addicted to the internet?
Well, I wouldn’t say that I was addicted to the internet but I do use it quite a lot.
How often do you use the internet?
Ah, I pretty much use it all the time because when I’m at college I’m obviously on the internet and then I’m all. Be on my phone talking to my friends on facebook and that.
Do you use modern devices like a smart phone to access the internet most?
Yeah I would say I use my phone quite a lot to google things and go on social media.
Would you say you prefer to interact with people over the internet rather than face to face?
No I’d rather prefer to em interact with them face to face but I feel like the internet comes in quite handy for if you can’t see people face to face all the time.