Internet Addiction: Government Policy or Personal Responsibility?

analytical Essay
4491 words
4491 words

Internet Addiction: An issue of government policy or a personal responsibility?

BIS 421/CSS 411 - Spring 2010

“Why is it drug addicts and computer aficionados are both called users?” – Clifford Stoll


There is no doubt the presence of the internet is increasing at a rapid pace. A Pew Internet and American Life Project study finds two thirds of all Americans use the internet to frequently participate in internet related activities (Fellows, 2008). Another study shows that 55% of all Americans have high speed internet in their homes and even higher among college or academic arenas. (Saville et al, 2010). Needless to say, the possibility of becoming addicted to the internet is now easier than ever. The average American is presented with internet opportunities everywhere he/she turns; daily activity is analogous to running a digital gamut. Reading the newspaper or a book, watching TV, saying hello to an old friend, purchasing you Mother’s day flowers all can be done on the internet. Is all of this digital connectivity a good thing or are we taking it too far. The following paper will attempt to define internet addiction; present pending disorders correlated to the increased use of the internet; solutions implemented abroad and then propose a U.S. public policy to combat the battle.

Digital/internet addiction is a growing problem, which is inclusive but not exclusive to adolescents; college students and middle aged Americans. Other nations have addressed this problem by implementing government mandated policies such as; age restrictions for internet café’s; black-out periods; videogame restricting software; and other measures. However, the U.S. has yet to properly address this growing but silent disease. The ...

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...ed May 18, 2010, from Newsweek Online:

Saville, B. K., Gisbert, A., Kopp, J., & Telesco, C. (2010). Internet Addiction and Delay Discounting in College Students. The Psychological Record, 60, 273-286.

Sorboro, J. (2010). Prognosis Negative: Psychiatry and the Foibles of the Diagnostic and Statiscal Manual V (DSM-V). Skeptic Magazine, 15(3), 44-51.

Wack, E., & Tantleff-Dunn, S. (2009). Relationships between Electronic Game Play, Obesity and Psychosocial Functioning in Young Men. CyberPsychology and Behavior, 12(2), 241-244.

Young, K. (2010). A Growing Epedemic; Signs of Internet Addiction. Retrieved May 18, 2010, from Net Addiction:

Zhen, L. (2009, July 14). China bans electro-shock therapy for Internet addicts. Retrieved May 18, 2010, from Reuters :

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that internet addiction is an issue of government policy or a personal responsibility. a pew internet and american life project study finds two thirds of all americans use the internet to frequently participate in internet related activities.
  • Argues that digital/internet addiction is a growing problem, which is inclusive but not exclusive to adolescents, college students, and middle aged americans.
  • Argues that technological progress and american dissatisfaction complement each other.
  • Explains that the x and millennia generations are "digital immigrants" who are born into a digital world with an innate computing skill set.
  • Explains that internet addiction is a mental health issue that closely resembles and includes symptoms of other addictions.
  • Explains that dr. kimberly young was the first researcher to address the academic arena regarding internet addiction.
  • Describes the reasons why they feel preoccupied with the internet, need to use it with increasing amounts of time, and unsuccessful attempts to control, cut back, or stop internet use.
  • Describes the reasons why people use the internet to escape from problems or relieve a dysphoric mood.
  • Explains that psychiatric disorders are constructed through society and sanctioned in the diagnostic and statistical manual (dsm).
  • Explains that the proposed version of the manual includes a number of disorders that are creating skepticism among stakeholders in the field.
  • Argues that the internet is a communication medium that allows others to converse and connect to other individuals, making the psychiatric disorder plausible.
  • Explains that internet addiction is growing predominantly among males, although cases of female addiction are documented. asian countries have the highest level of internet addicts.
  • Explains the risk factors for internet addiction in a case study of adolescents in the southern chinese city of guangzhou.
  • Analyzes the findings of the case study, stating that males are 50% more likely to become addicted to the internet than females.
  • Explains the physical, social, and financial costs of internet addiction. the addicted user may spend time online rather than working on social relationships, career advancement, or other "healthier" activities.
  • Proposes a long-term study where research is done on internet addiction correlated to health implications.
  • Explains that the extreme user has a number of social costs ranging from one partial withdrawal from society to one total withdrawal.
  • Explains that the constant chase with the jones's is creating a society where the next consumption of one thing is providing.
  • Explains that there is a body of research that contradicts the above costs; it even goes as far as saying online addiction may prove beneficial in some social circles.
  • Explains that addiction is costly financially and shows the magnitude and dependence of games/software, even in a recession year.
  • Explains that rehabilitation facilities in the u.s. are only private, meaning costs can reach tens of thousands of dollars.
  • Proposes a public strategy but first, let us examine other cases from abroad.
  • Explains that the korean government has implemented a number of policies to alleviate addiction.
  • Explains that china has some very intense cases of internet addiction and even more intense strategies to break youth internet addiction.
  • Explains that while life-threatening cases may be more of an exception than the rule, it is rather unsettling something like death could be a result of internet addiction rehabilitation. china has implemented policies that are less life threatening and builds awareness.
  • Explains that the internet-addiction campaign funds eight in-patient rehabilitation centers across the country, but human rights activists are opposed to some of the treatment methods currently being used.
  • Opines that a u.s. public policy should bring awareness but not limit individual’s freedom.
  • Opines that a policy should be multi-faceted, bring about change and address the issue directly.
  • Proposes a budget for internet addiction help, which allows individuals with-out the means to pay for the expenses. additional measures may come about more easily if an internet driver’s license is made mandatory.
  • Opines that internet addition is a growing problem that, if left unchecked, could create large problems in the near future.
  • Opines that implementing such policies will require action that is motivated through a better understanding of the risk variables and the negative attributes associated with internet addiction.
  • Explains that 2 million internet addicts in south korea are targeted for help.
  • Cites collier, r., demick, b. (2009, april 22), china's internet-addiction camps turn deadly.
  • Cites jiang, j., peng, z.-w, mai, and jing for their research on internet addiction among adolescents.
  • Explains npd group's 2009 u.s. video game industry and pc game software retail sales reach $20.2 billion.
  • Cites prensky, rosen, saville, gisbert, kopp, telesco, and sorboro, j.
  • Cites wack, e., tantleff-dunn, and young, k. (2010). a growing epedemic; signs of internet addiction.
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