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The
present day era is the age of scientific technological advancement which
manipulates our daily life. Digital evolution has helped to increase the speed
of communication, made our life more comfortable and has built bridge between
people on opposite sides of the globe. Internet is relatively a new technology
which has brought in enormous transformation in our lives. Today, in terms of
internet usage, India ranks second with 354 million internet users, ahead of
many other countries including the United States (280.7 Million).

The Internet is an exciting new medium that is evolved into
an essential part of everyday life all over the world. It has opened a new
domain in social interactivity with the promise of increasing efficiency and
worldwide understanding. However, it is very
obvious that the Internet provides not only social connection and
entertainment, but also academic and scientific information as well. It is used by some to facilitate research, to seek
information, for interpersonal communication, and for business transactions. One
of the most important tools of education in the present era is internet. The Internet has introduced improvements in
technology, communication and online entertainment, but it is also incredibly useful for education purposes as well. But on
the destructive edge, it can be used by some to indulge in pornography,
excessive gaming, chatting for long hours, and even gambling. (Anusha, 2016). Inappropriate internet use may lead to various legal
problems such as being arrested for posting hateful posts on Facebook, Twitter,
cyber-bullying, deaths while taking selfies, illegal online gambling,
cyber-stalking, committing technological crimes, posting threats online, and
being recruited by extremist agencies. There have been growing concerns
worldwide for what has been labeled as “internet addiction.” (Goel,
2013).

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The term “internet addiction” was proposed by Dr.
Ivan Goldberg in 1995 for pathological compulsive internet use (Singh 2016).
Though internet primarilyfacilitates research, information seeking
interpersonal communication and business interactions, for some users it has
become the central focus for their lives and a temptation that is hard to
resist. The sources of high risk are the
adolescents.

Today’s
students integrate technology into all aspects of their lives for multiple
purposes, particularly socializing, entertaining and shopping as well as doing
homework by using the Internet. Consequently, in the education field, attention
has turned to integrating technology into the curriculum. The Internet has
developed as the primary medium for communication and socialization, particularly
among adolescents. However, excessive Internet use may detrimentally affect
academic performance, family relationships, and emotional development among
youth (Tsitsika, A 2011).

Along with the increased popularity of the Internet
escalates psycho-social problems among the adolescent populace which include
academic performance deterioration, sleep deprivation, obesity, depression,
ADHD, introversion, neuroticism personality traits and anxiety. In this context
a study was conducted by the researcher to measure the impact of addiction to
internet among adolescent boys and assess the need for social work
intervention.

METHODOLOGY:

Today’s world is characterized by
sweeping changes such as globalization, modernization and exposure to media.The
transition period of adolescence creates a state of turmoil and stress that
makes the adolescents vulnerable to many kinds of problems such as psychosocial,
anxiety problems and reproductive health related issues (Sinha, 2014). In
addition to this, young adolescents have to tackle other problems such as
scholastic problems, family problems, identity problems, peer pressures and
substance abuse. Easy access to internet and related gadgets leads makes them
use it frequently to such an extent that they get addicted to it at some point.

 

In this perspective, the researcher
conducted
a study in Mysore city with the following objectives:

       
i.           
To understand the pros and cons of
internet usage among adolescents

      ii.           
To study the impact of internet
addiction among adolescent boys

    iii.           
To suggest preventive and curative
measures in Social Work point of view

For the study, 10 high schools in Mysore city were
randomly selected by the researcher using Simple
Random Sampling method.

The study adopts exploratory
research design and simple descriptive statics was used. The sample size for
the study is 100 students i.e., 10 students from each of 10 schools. A
structured questionnaire was administered which contained three parts:

1.
Socio-demographic information,

2.
Details regarding patterns of internet use, and

3.
Young’s Internet Addiction Test (IAT).

Part
1 consisted of socio-demographic information which consisted of questions like
age, gender, availability of Internet at home,whether working parents, gadgets
at home etc. Part 2 included details regarding patterns of internet usage which
included place of Internet use, parents control on length of Internet usage, type
of websites used and purpose of usage. Part 3 was comprised of Young’s Internet
Addiction Test (IAT). This was adapted to evaluate the respondents’ level of
internet addiction. It consists of 20 questions wherein each item is scored
using a five-point Likert scale. It covers the degree to which internet use
affect daily routine, social life, productivity, sleeping pattern, and feeling.
The instrument has exhibited good psychometric properties in previous
researches. The reliability for this questionnaire is 0.899 in Cronbach’s alpha
the higher the score the greater the level of internet addiction. (Young,
K.Y.S. 2007).

Inclusion and Exclusion:
The study included adolescent boys studying in regular high schools of Mysore.
The study excluded boys from residential school and adolescent girl students.

RESULTS:

Table 1:
Socio-demographic characteristics: (n=100)

Socio-demographic
variables

N=100

%

Age

13-14

31

31

14-15

33

33

15-16

36

36

Class
studying

8th std

31

31

9th std

33

33

10th std

36

36

Medium
of instruction in school

English

75

75

Kannada

25

25

Place
of stay

With parents

95

95

Relatives

5

5

Father’s
occupation

Business

21

21

Private

27

27

Government

25

25

Self-employed

36

36

Mother’s
occupation

Home
maker

40

40

Business

12

12

Private

12

12

Government

18

18

Self-employed

18

18

 

Table
1 depicts the socio-demographic details of the respondents. For the study,
students from 8th, 9th and 10th standard (13,
14 and 15 years respectively) were selected. Questions on medium of instruction
and place of stay were asked since they have relevance to internet use. 75%
respondents are from English medium school and 25% are from Kannada medium.
Occupations of parents were asked. 60% of respondent’s mothers are working
mothers.

Table 2: Details regarding patterns of internet use

Patterns of internet use

N=100

%

Place of access to
internet

School

43

43

At
home

25

25

Cyber
café

32

32

Others

0

0

Most used gadget for
accessing Internet

Desktop

42

42

Laptop

13

13

Tablet

12

12

Mobile
phone

33

33

Reason for using
internet

For
assignments or academics related

77

77

Playing
online games

12

12

Social
networking

11

11

Others

0

0

 

Table
2 depicts the using patterns of internet and gadgets. 43% of the respondents
have access to internet in schools, 25% of them use internet at home and 32%
respondents go to cyber café. 33% respondents use internet in mobile phones
while 23% use in laptop, 42% use internet in desktop and 12% in tab. Maximum
respondents use internet for academic related issues like for writing
assignments or searching information. 12% of them play online games and other
11% of the respondents are into social networking sites.

Table 3: Prevalence of addiction:

Type
of prevalence

YIAT Criteria

Frequency

Prevalence found
(%)

Mild

Score 31-49

12

12

Moderate

Score 50-79

6

6

Severe

Score 80-100

00

00

 

According to YIAT, if the
respondent scores between 31- 49 points, he has mild addiction, 50-79 points
score says moderate addiction and 80-100 point score says the person is
severely addicted to internet .

From
the study, although severe addiction was not found, mild and moderate addiction
of identified.

DISCUSSION:

According to WHO, young people
between 10-19 years of age are considered as adolescents . The following study
tried to explore the levels of internet addiction among adolescent boys. YIAT
was used to know the prevalence of addiction. According to previous studies,
male students have more tendency towards internet usage (Krishnamurthy,2017).
Hence the researcher focused on adolescent boys for the study. Adolescence is
the age which marks an important time in the process of human development, the
passage between childhood and adulthood. It is a time of turbulence when young
children go through physical, biological, social and psychological changes as
they grow from childhood to adulthood (NASW, 2003).Many experts in adolescent depression believe that the developmental
tasks of adolescents, because they require mastery of new social competences
make this particularly a vulnerable time for the development of behavioral
mal-adaptation, especially depression, and we do indeed see a dramatic rise in
prevalence in this age group.

Internet addiction
is a growing problem which needs immediate intervention. Among the different
age groups, school students who struggle to cope up with academic performance
or have peer and behavioral concerns are more susceptible to internet addiction
(Arthanari S,2017). The study emphasizes the following:

1.     
Higher
the age, higher the usage of internet

2.     
Working
Parents also have a stake in this concern since they spend less time with their
growing adolescents

3.     
Respondents
staying with their relatives (5%) have more tendency towards going out to cyber
café or playing online games since parental supervision is less when compared
to others(95%).

4.     
Students
today depend more on digital technology for their academic requirements where
parent’s monitoring and guidance is a must

5.     
Social
networking and online games have also poked in where these younger ones are
exposed to it at a very young age.

 

SOCIAL WORK INTERVENTION:

 

Social Work is primarily
practice-oriented. Social work practice includes interventions with various
sections of the population, especially the marginalized sections, who are more
in need. The level of social work intervention to be applied here is at the preventive
and curative level. The curative approach concentrates on solving the problem
once it has happened. For this,
primary methods of social work can be applied in
practice where client’s problems can be addressed in individual and group level
with a holistic approach where the worker can include parents, teachers, counselors
and mental health professionals. Awareness on overuse and encouraging
appropriate utilization has to be promoted for the healthy use of Internetat
the preventive level.

 

CONCLUSION:
Internet has become part and parcel of our lives making things easy. In
adolescence, excessive use of internet leads to issues of behavioural disturbances affecting one’s
physical and mental health and social well-being. Comprehending the need of media in today’s scenario
is very essential not only for adolescents but for people of all age groups. 

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