Internet addiction can be described as an obsessive and compulsive use of internet (Simmons, 182). Internet use, including web surfing, instant messaging, shopping, and visiting chat rooms can become a problem when it begins to interfere with an individual's job or social life. A person is said to be an internet addict when the compulsive behavior interferes with normal functioning, and causes stress on the addicts, their family, friends, as well as loved ones. It has been recognized as a mental disorder by the American Psychological Association. There are no official diagnostic criteria or behavioral patterns that define this disorder. However, the possible signs of internet addiction include lack of sleep, fatigue, poor academic and job performance. According to Attanasio & Rowan University (2008) spending a lot of time online is a sign of internet addiction. It starts with casual internet use which then progresses to excessive and compulsive use. While most individuals use the internet daily with little problem, using the internet becomes the top priority in the lives of addicts (Padwa & Cunningham, 43). In addition to interfering with an individual's duties, internet addiction may have adverse effects on one's education.
Internet has made a huge contribution in support of education. The massive amount of information found on the internet has had a positive effect on educational success. Students can access various resources online to assist them with their studies. If used appropriately, internet can enable a student attain high academic achievements. However, if used inappropriately, internet has the potential to negatively affect the academic performance of a student. Internet addicts tend to neglect their academic responsibilities. Such students fail in their academics because, instead of studying, they prefer to engage in other internet activities like web surfing, instant messaging and chatting with friends.
A lot of problems come about as a result of internet addiction. Such problems relate to family, finance and academics. To some extent, internet addiction may result in social problems. Internet addicts lack real life associations. They spend most of their time on the internet. They do not have much of a social life. They would rather surf the internet than associate with friends. Interactions with fellow students can affect a student's academic achievement and the development of various social and cognitive skills (Schneider, Gruman & Coutts, 228). Internet addicts avoid such interactions and, therefore, miss out on cooperative learning. According to Schneider, Gruman & Coutts (2005) cooperative learning enhances both academic and social competence in students. Internet addicts miss out on group discussions, which are, vitally important for academic success. They, therefore, perform poorly in their academics.
An addict may spend the whole night surfing the internet, thereby, depriving himself of sleep. Lack of sleep may result in muscle fatigue and impairment of the psychological faculties of perception, memory and reasoning (Meddis, 55). Sleep deprivation affects concentration and attention (Jastreboff & Hazell, 40). According to Jastreboff & Hazell (2004) students who deprive themselves of sleep are susceptible to emotional fluctuations and are less able to think logically. This negatively affects their studies and academic performance. They cannot concentrate in class due to exhaustion. They cannot be attentive in class. Their retention rate is significantly reduced. This negatively affects their academic performance. Such students perform poorly in their examinations.
It is important to address the concern of internet addiction, which is ravaging the education sector. It is a vice against academic success of the students. Students should be made aware of online addiction and the hazards that come with it. Both parents and teachers should ensure that students positively use the internet to engage in constructive activities. They should be made aware of the massive amount of information found on the internet which may assist them in their studies. Even so, school administrators and teachers should ensure that they limit the time allowed for students to spend on the internet. This will reduce cases of internet addiction in our schools and, therefore, enable the students achieve highly in their academics.
Attanasio, M., & Rowan University. (2008). Internet addiction and social satisfaction
Jastreboff, Pawel J. & Hazell, Jonathan W. P. (2004). Tinnitus retraining therapy: implementing the neurophysiological model. Cambridge University Press
Meddis, Ray. (1977). the sleep instinct. Routledge
Padwa, Howard & Cunningham, Jacob. (2010). Addiction: a reference encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO
Schneider, F., Gruman, J. & Coutts, L. (2005). Applied social psychology: understanding and addressing social and practical problems. SAGE
Simmons, Linda L. (2008). The everything heath guide to addiction and recovery: control your behavior and build a better life. Everything books