October 23, 2019
Is the internet addictive?
The emergence of new technology always brings with it concerns about the effects it might have on users in terms of physical and mental health. The Internet, and specifically social media, is no different. One worry is that the endless novelty and pressure to engage with social media whether photo, video, or textual updates, is leading to some people using these tools throughout the day and even the night to the detriment of what one might refer to as normal "offline" life.
New research published in the International Journal of Business Information Systems, has focused on how internet addiction might be measured. Habib Ullah Khan of Qatar University in Doha, Qatar, has worked with Helmi Hammami of the Rennes School of Business, in France, to look at the behavior of internet users in France. The study shows that what might be referred to as internet addiction has some correlation with the users' age but the picture is rather vague.
It is difficult, after all, to determine whether frequent and/or prolonged use represents addiction as a healthcare worker might perceive it in the context of addiction to drugs of abuse, for instance. Moreover, the present study seems to conflict with the standard perspectives and concepts in several ways and the team suggests that there might now be a need to re-evaluate theories of addiction in the context of so-called internet addiction in order to better understand how and why such a problem might arise and to see how to differentiate more clearly between regular and frequent use of these tools and what might be perceived as problematic dependency.