The New Generation: Internet and the Side Effects

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The New Generation: Internet and the Side Effects

Submitted to:
Professor Tonio Sadik

Submitted by:
John Yoo (4578772)

SOC 3116 C

November 16th 2011

The article, "A Fantasy World Is Creating Problems in South Korea" published by Choe Sang-Hun from The New York Times discuss the growing issue of internet gaming addiction among adults in South Korea (Choe, 2010). With the emergence of the internet, more and more people around the world communicate with one another on a day-to-day basis through this modern communication technology. As the digital generation in the 21st Century continues to stay online, there is a need to critically examine the issue of whether or not there is a correlation between the amount of time people spend online (including surfing the web, social networking, instant messaging, online gaming, etc.) and its effects on their social behaviour. This essay will focus on how people interact online based on certain theories that may explain the increase of internet addiction and the potential consequences these issues may bring to our next generation.

In comparison to the previous generations who have grown up mostly with books and outdoor activities, the generation Z or the “internet” generation today are integrating the digital culture into their early lives. For these generations, the Internet, playing videogames, downloading music onto an iPod, or multitasking with a cell phone is no more complicated than setting the toaster oven to bake or turning on the TV. However, it is important to note that internet was first developed for the military and was not used commercially until 1990’s when its information-sharing and communicative functions attracted the interest of corporations and then of the general public (Gackenbach, 2007, p. 18). Nowadays, it is a mandatory condition for employees to use internet at work, to use e-mail and share files. Furthermore, due to the rapid development of the internet and other innovative tools such as smart phones being able to be connected anywhere all times, it is unimaginable how much one can do in a small amount of time. Thus, if people today do not participate in online activities, they usually tend to feel excluded or powerless or, at the very least, out of date (Gackenbach, 2007, p. 19).

As much as the internet being the new way to communicate and share information efficiently, Karl Marx pointed out that “certain new technologies have incredible power to shape human behaviour and social structures” (Wallace, 1999, p. 13). Whether his theory is the complete truth or not, through various research and past investigations, one may hypothesize that excessive usage of internet for a long period of time may actually shape human behaviour. On the contrary to the hypothesis, several studies have examined the association between time on the Internet and social and psychological factors, and these studies seem less likely to find negative associations. Morgan and Cotton’s (2003) study of college freshmen found that increased time spent shopping, playing games and doing research was associated with higher levels of depression, but sending e-mail and visiting chat rooms was associated with lower levels (Shields & Kane, 2011). This may be true as many college students tend to communicate through online chat rooms to either family or friends, or send e-mail to loved ones as a stress-relief from studies or work. Thus, just spending time on the internet may be too broad of a term, and need to be more specified as to what type of internet usage. From the journal “Social and Psychological Correlates of Internet Use among College Students”, Gordon et al. (2007) also argues that the reasons why individuals use the Internet must be taken into account in order to understand associations (Shields & Kane, 2011).

Our personality is the source of our emotions, cognition, and behaviour (Amichai-Hamburger, 2005). Most of the time...
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