The Student News Site of Rock Bridge High School

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The Student News Site of Rock Bridge High School

Bearing News

The Student News Site of Rock Bridge High School

Bearing News

The two faced resource

art by Ellie Stitzer

Lack of sleep. Loss of focus. Isolation from family and friends.
These are not symptoms of drug addiction. This is the price nearly one in 25 teenagers in high school may pay for excessive internet use, according to an article from Reuters. It’s a condition just as damaging as any other addiction that creeps its way into the lives of teenagers everywhere, and it’s called internet addiction.
[heading size=”16″ margin=”10″]Internet addiction increases knowledge but prevents focus[/heading] With smart phones in the hands of 70 percent of teenagers in the United States aged 13-17, according to a study from Nielsen, teenage internet use may have become a worldwide trend. Amongst these teenagers throughout the country, junior Jaehyung Rhee routinely struggles to stay focused on her work and loses track of time on her device multiple times a week.
“When you’re watching YouTube videos, you really don’t know that time is passing. You don’t really have to think about anything else. You just watch some videos and time passes by so quickly,” Rhee said, “same with Facebook and Instagram; you just look at the photos, you just look at contacts. I say, “Ten minutes more, 30 minutes more,” and I can’t stop, and it’s 11 o’clock when I look at the [time].”
Her lost time online isn’t shocking, considering 82 percent of people said they stayed online far longer than expected, according to an article from Elements Behavioral Health. Marc Potenza, a psychiatrist at Yale University and director of the program Impulsivity and Impulse Control Disorders, said that internet addiction is, in fact, real. He believes people who lose track of time on the internet are more prone to developing this addiction.
“I think that there may be individual differences with respect to how people perceive the passing of time,” Potenza said. “Certain individuals may find that if they become engrossed in a topic of interest — and the internet enforces rapid access to a wide range of material — they may find that time passes more rapidly as they become engrossed in that topic.”
Rhee said she spends an average of five to six hours a day on the internet, and stops to check her phone about every 30 minutes at school. For her, this continuous routine and urge to be up to date on social media is unstoppable, and although she tries to balance the time she spends online and speaking face-to-face with people, she still struggles to refrain herself from reaching for her device.
“I tend to look at my phone even when I’m with friends, and I can’t concentrate as much as I want to without my phone,” Rhee said. “When I’m doing homework or when I’m doing research I tend to drift off onto other sites and I can’t focus that much. It’s not like I get terrible grades because I do eventually stay up finishing the work, but I don’t [think] I fulfill my potential.”
Along with a feeling of disconnect when away from the internet similar to what Rhee experiences, other effects of internet addiction include poor impulse control, isolation, time distortion, depression, anxiety and lower productivity, according to an article from Since the introduction of the internet was in 1982, Potenza believes that internet addiction is a relatively recent problem. Because of this, he said there has been little research on the causes and further knowledge to explain internet addiction.
“I think compared to other areas of psychiatry there’s been relatively little investigation of internet use and possible problematic [challenges] of internet usage,” Potenza said. “For these reasons, there is a gap in our understanding of the potential impact of how internet use [can affect people]. Hopefully over time there will be research in this area and information about some of the questions that have been [asked].”

“When I’m doing homework or when I’m doing research I tend to drift off onto other sites and I can’t focus that much. It’s not like I get terrible grades because I do eventually stay up finishing the work, but I don’t [think] I fulfill my potential.” — junior Jaehyung Rhee

Unlike Rhee, junior Sergey Gruzdev does not believe the internet is a distraction in his life. Instead, he finds it more informative and useful than an interference to his work.
“It’s a huge wealth of all sorts of information [and it’s] really easy to access. I don’t have to go over to the library and spend all this time searching the library because the machine searches much faster,” Gruzdev said. “It is also really good for connecting people. For example, I’ll message my friends who went to West Junior High [with me], but now I’m in Rock Bridge, and they’re at Hickman, and we can’t really talk much, but we can message each other using the internet.”
Although he uses the internet as a way to get work done, going to sites like Wikipedia, and MyMathLab allows him to balance school work with entertainment on the internet, using sites like YouTube on occasion. Even though he uses the internet for both educational and entertainment purposes, he doesn’t find it challenging to get off when he needs to.
“I’ll occasionally lose track of myself if I get into something, but if I look over at the clock and then I see it’s late, it’s pretty easy [for me] to get off. No difficulty,” Gruzdev said. “Especially with YouTube saving where you left off in a video, you don’t have to rewind, you don’t have to find the video again.”
Despite his ease of “unplugging,” he uses the internet about three to five hours a day depending on the work he has to accomplish. From allowing expanded availability and connectivity amongst people around the world, for him, the internet does more good than harm.
“I have a friend in Russia and he’s across the world [with different time zones] so I can’t really talk to him much, but I can message him or email him,” Gruzdev said. “[The internet] certainly makes communications with far away people easier and it makes getting information easier.”
With over three billion internet users around the world, according to an article from Internet Live Stats, there are varying viewpoints of how the internet has impacted the world. Potenza believes there are still signs that everyone, no matter if they are a teenager or not, should look out for.
“I think that one should be mindful of the potential negative impacts of engaging in these behaviors,” Potenza said. “For example, if people who are close to you question the extent to which being on the internet is interfering with things like school work, relationships, and others, then these are signs that individuals should consider seriously.”
By Grace Vance
art by Ellie Stitzer

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  • J

    Joy ParkApr 20, 2015 at 10:08 pm

    I thought that this topic on internet addiction was so relatable! The story has impact and prominence, as almost every teenager and adult around the word comes into contact with social networking and research/knowledge from the web. Your sources/quotes gave genuine insight to the struggles/benefits of internet use from the average teenager’s perspective, which I enjoyed.

  • S

    Skyler FroeseApr 19, 2015 at 5:52 pm

    I think the worst thing about having like a clinical addiction from the internet is that there is literally no way to stop. Most classes have a lot of online work, ordering food is online, news is online, etc. There is no way that someone would be able to quit cold turkey

  • L

    Lauren HofmannApr 19, 2015 at 3:52 pm

    I can really relate to staying online for a long time and not realizing it, I had no idea that doing that could be causing things like anxiety or time distortion.