Ever since the very dawning of mankind, man used his brain to express himself as an inquisitive, curious being. He would see, touch, smell, taste, get acquainted with his immediate surroundings. Upon connecting certain pieces into a unique puzzle, man would come up with a great idea, and as the chronological cycle would move on, many of those ideas would surface – starting from stone tools, fire, wheel, all the way to modern times, where the human race has and still is experiencing a humongous technological outbreak. With this outbreak of the Internet, new, sophisticated technical devices, portable gadgets, virtual reality devices, smart self-driving vehicles, credit cards, kitchen appliances, new medical treatment techniques, people simply feel more comfortable with the utilization of technology and thus they heavily rely on it, without putting a lot of thought into the consequences that may be merely horrifying.
These consequences may achieve the maximum impact on the future generations, especially the children, who might not be able to fully think for themselves and therefore their ability to think and act on their own ought to exacerbate. Another inevitable truth that must not be neglected is that, with relying on social networks so much, the youngest users might experience difficulties when trying to express themselves and establish an open, interpersonal communication in real life, which could prove to have a devastating effect on them. Spending too much time in front of TVs and computers makes people (children especially!) become overweight or even obese, further causing additional unwanted health problems, addiction being one of them.
The abundance and variety of technological inventions seemingly causes a completely opposite and unwanted effect – instead of humans being masters of technology, they subject to it willingly or unwillingly, and it brings them more complications than actual perks. They often disregard their serious tasks and resort to their favourite devices, which can basically be perceived as their newly grown limbs. The technology develops faster than people can adapt.
Dr. David Greenfield, the founder of The Center for Internet and Technology Addiction and Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, one of the world’s most famous speakers on behavioural addictions, is widely credited and praised for process addiction and dopamine-behavioural addiction connection.
As Dr. Greenfield has noted in his paper, Virtual Addiction: Sometimes New Technology Can Create New Problems, “The Internet and other digital technologies are only the latest in a series of “improvements” to our world which may have unintended negative effects… technology is amoral; it is not inherently good or evil, but it is impact on the manner in which we live our lives”. According to Greenfield’s recent study, large amounts of dopamine are released into the brain while playing video games, and if those games are taken away from the addicted player, they can “often show behavioural problems, withdrawal symptoms, even aggression” (Paturel, 2014).
On the other hand, Dr. Brent Conrad, a clinical psychologist, suggests that “For most people, there is nothing wrong with occasional use of the Internet or video games as a way to relax, to learn, to connect with family and friends, or simply as a form of entertainment”, but he puts the emphasis on moderation and balance.
The author of this piece of research has chosen this topic owing to its soaring popularity and omnipresence, and with the goal of raising awareness of the long-term importance of the topic, with the hope that it will be beneficial to all further endeavours in this area.
For the purposes of obtaining data, an online questionnaire written in English language was created in a Google Docs form and administered online over the course of five days – between April 25 and April 30, 2018. The questionnaire consisted of nineteen questions, of which seventeen were mandatory. All of them were formed as multiple-choice questions.
Regarding the selection of this method, the questionnaire has a number of advantages; first and foremost, it is considerably more time-efficient than a live questionnaire/interview would be and the results can usually be quickly and easily quantified, it is completely anonymous and it is generally more objective than an interview would be.
The survey has also been distributed on the social networks such as Facebook and Skype. The majority of the respondents were the students from the Faculty of Philology in Belgrade, but there were also students from the School of Electrical Engineering, the Faculty of Law, and the Faculty of Economics. As for the number of participants, a total number of 100 respondents of various ages, nationalities (Serbia, Romania, Slovakia, The Netherlands, Germany, Bulgaria, France), occupations and beliefs took part in this survey. There would have been a larger sample of respondents had the questionnaire remained online for a few days longer. Regardless of the current number of respondents, the data derived from this survey seemed to be sufficient for a complete and feasible conclusion.
The author of the survey has decided to take the questionnaire down from the Internet since it was deemed that the aforementioned number of included participants would be sufficient for data gathering. Unfortunately, there is no way of proving how much thought a respondent has put in and how truthful they were. One more fact that should be taken into account was the disproportion of male to female respondents, but it didn’t appear to be an obstruction to the study itself due to the popularity and flexibility of the subject that is becoming popular increasingly.
Discussion and Analysis
This chapter of the research deals with the results that have been gathered. As it was previously mentioned, there were 100 respondents who took part in this survey. With regard to the gender of the participants, there was a noticeable disproportion between male and female participants, with the ratio of 80 male to 20 female respondents. This situation was slightly disappointing but it had no effect on the study because all of the questions were not explicitly gender-related.
Taking the age of the participants into consideration, the largest number of participants (88%) belonged to the age group between 18 and 25 years of age, the majority of them being students and young adults. A viable explanation of such a great number of people belonging to this age group is simply because people from that age range are more than familiar with the technology of today and they are bound to have been exposed to it in any possible way. The second largest group of the participants would be those who belonged to the age group between 35 and 55 years of age, amounting to 5% of the total number of respondents. It is also worth noticing that there were 4 underage participants and 3 participants that belonged to the range of 26-35 years of age. Due to the fact that the largest age group was actually the group comprising