The internet is arguably the greatest invention of the 21st century, which has immeasurably changed the lives of people all around the world. With just a few mouse clicks, we have a wealth of information at our fingertips.
However, the question at large is whether today’s generation has overshot the protocol regarding the usage of the internet. Behavioural science experts, who have closely studied the current crop of adolescents and young adults, are of the opinion that there has been a perceptible shift in the pattern of internet usage, from prudent to excessive to an almost compulsive disorder.
Young people today are connected to the internet 22/7. Whether it is searching for information, researching for school projects, chatting with friends, posting on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, playing games or just randomly scrolling down their newsfeeds, it’s easy to see how kids and teens get so immersed in the lures of the net, that they lose track of time.
And soon, the need to constantly be wired to the internet turns into a full-blown addiction. The internet then becomes a menace instead of a boon, negatively affecting adolescents’ school work, health and social lives. Unfortunately, by the time parents realize there is a problem, the horse has already bolted the stables.
However, is excessive usage of the internet really an addiction? While the jury is still out on that one, the fact remains that it is slowly entering the realm of a behavioural disorder. Counsellors testify to the fact that they have had to treat many young adults for compulsive usage of the internet as it had started affecting all areas of their lives- interaction with family, emotional well-being and, especially, studies.
Additionally, children as young as twelve are hooked to the internet, particularly online role-playing games. These games are never-ending- multiple levels and multiple opponents and playing partners from all corners of the globe ensure that there is always someone available to play with.
For adolescents, social media has become a place by which everyone measures their sense of worth. Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat are barraged by a continuous stream of pictures and updates full of glitz and glamour. Social media, therefore, often becomes a cause for dissatisfaction with life, loss of confidence and feelings of uselessness.
In such a frightening scenario, the need of the hour, while using the internet, is to exercise some caution and a whole lot of judiciousness. Remember,
- The internet is a powerful medium for obtaining knowledge and for knowing what is happening in the rest of the world. Make use of it to make strides in your career, education and life.
- Refrain from mindlessly scrolling through other people’s updates on social media. It is just wastage of time, energy and mental faculties.
- The internet is not your sole purpose in life. Set aside a limited time for the internet, say 30 minutes, and then stick to it.
- Pursue a real hobby such as dance, or take up a sport and devote all your free time to it