1. Statement of the Problem
Technology has advanced greatly in the last 20 years. The greatest advancement was the way we communicate. The Internet and Cell-phones have changed the way information is shared, the way we communicate and the way many of us spend our days. I find this all very interesting. I am now 23 and I have witnessed the world change from, house phones and letters, to the Internet and cell-phones. I remember when my family got caller ID for our home phone and I remember when the Internet was slow and nothing but simple text filled websites. I was always good with computer and electronics, even as a kid, my parents could never understand them and I had no problem. As I got into high school, I started using the Internet more, especially for communication, and was introduced to social networks such as Facebook. Now fast-forward to today and the Internet and my smartphone are the only ways I communicate. Facebook has become a huge company with over 800 million users (Facebook 2011). and I have a smartphone that enables me to look up information instantly almost anywhere. I realize now that I cannot go without these technologies and I know that it is the same for many, if not most people. I also realize that services such as Facebook are changing the way we interact and I don’t know if this is a good or bad thing. All of my experiences and observations have led me to wonder a few questions. My first question is whether the Internet is helping us or hurting us? My second question is whether the use of the Internet and cell-phones is making us more connected or less?
2. Review of Literature
I found multiple studies on the use and abuse of the Internet and the included services it provides. Some of these studies were outdated, not because they were over 10 years old but because the Internet and its associated culture changes at an alarming rate. The most recent professional journal article was written in 2011 on the use of Facebook and how Facebook affects people psychologically and sociologically. There has been research into Internet Abuse but the Internet only became available to households in the last 15 years. Computer or video game addiction, which is excessive or compulsive use of computer and video games with resulting adverse consequences, is not clinically defined as a part of behavioral addictions in DSM-IV. There is no official diagnosis or definition of the disorder in any official diagnostic system (Weinstein 273). Internet Usage
One study titled, Problematic Internet and cell-phone use: Psychological, behavioral, and health correlates, investigates Internet usage and cell-phone usage, in 2006. The study showed the reliance the participants have on the Internet and their cellphones, with 177 out of 337 students using the Internet 7 plus hours per week. Out of the 177, 15 indicated that they use the Internet over 40 hours per week. 40 hours a week translates to almost 6 hours a day. The participants were asked what activities were they used on the Internet, and over 97% of the 337 participants indicated that they used the Internet to search information for academic purposes, and 63% of the participants, used the internet to searched for personal purposes. 56% of the participants used the Internet for online homework. Over 93% indicated that they used the Internet to communicate with friends (C. Jenaro et al. 312). Another activity that is widely used on the Internet is watching videos. Youtube is the largest video streaming website in the world. Youtube had 100.9 million users in 2009 (Chau 66). 17 percent of Youtube’s users are teenagers. “Over half of this population reported that they registered to become a member to post comments.” (Chau 66) Youtube also allows registered users to create a personal profile page similar to Facebook, called Youtube Channel, that allows for you to display your own videos as well as bios of yourself....