The Negative Effects of Excessive Internet Usage
By: Kristofer Snyder
The Digital Immigrants vs.
The Digital Natives
What is IAD?
What is the problem with
Does Excessive Internet
Use Lead to Depression?
Examine why symptoms of Internet
Addiction and its side-effect of
Multitasking are detrimental to the
mindsets of the young populace.
Results suggests that College
Students’ and Adolescents’
cognitive abilities and overall
mental health is at risk due to
their assimilation with Internet
and Digital Technology.
It is now clear that as a result of this ubiquitous
computerized environment and the sheer volume of
their interaction with it, today’s students “think and
process information fundamentally differently from
their predecessors because different kinds of
experiences lead to different brain structures” says
Dr. Bruce D. Perry of Baylor College of Medicine.
As we shall see in the next installment, it is very
likely that our students’ brains have physically
changed – and are different from ours – as a result
of how they grew up. But whether or not this is
literally true, we can say with certainty that their
thinking patterns have changed (Prensky, 2001).
The “Digital Natives” are the people who have
spent their entire lives surrounded by and
using computers, videogames, digital music
players, video cams, cell phones, and all the
other toys and tools of the digital age.
College students (yes, you and me)
and adolescents are likely to suffer the
consequences of the Internet.
“It is almost second nature to check my Facebook or email; it was very hard for
my mind to tell my body not to go on the Internet.”
“Texting and IMing my friends gives me a constant feeling of comfort. When I did
not have those two luxuries, I felt quite alone and secluded from my life. Although
I go to a school with thousands of students, the fact that I was not able to
communicate with anyone via technology was almost unbearable.”
“With classes, location, and other commitments it’s hard to meet with friends and
have a conversation. Instant messaging, SMS, and Facebook are all ways to
make those connections with convenience, and even a heightened sense of
“My short attention span prevented me from accomplishing much, so I stared at
the wall for a little bit. After doing some push-ups, I just decided to take a few
Dramamine and go to sleep to put me out of my misery.”
“On a psychological note, my brain periodically went crazy because I found at
times that I was so bored I didn’t know what to do with myself.”
“I clearly am addicted and the dependency is sickening. I feel like most people
these days are in a similar situation, for between having a Blackberry, a laptop, a
television, and an iPod, people have become unable to shed their media skin.”
acknowledged the diagnosis
of Internet Addiction
Disorder (IAD), realized by
Dr. Ivan Goldberg, M.D., in
Mental health professionals
recognize IAD as a serious
disorder, and are treating it
as a dependency equally as
destructive as alcoholism
and drug addiction (Sylvie,
Let’s Do an Exercise
Dr. Clifford Nass (Stanford University) Experiment:
For “Digital Natives,” Multi-Tasking is attempting to
balance their Internet and digital media use with their
1. Mental Fatigue and Exhaustion
2. Lack of Concentration due to short attention spans
3. Limited/Poor Memory
PLUS, it’ll kill you!
Effects of Excessive
Effects of Multi-
= Symptoms of
Loss of Social Interaction Lack of Concentration Low Self-Esteem
Desire for Entertainment
Exhaustion and Mental
Poor Motivation/ Lack of
Need for Constant
Chat Rooms, SNS)
Poor Memory/ Limited
Anxiety/ Fear of
Rejection and a Need of
EXCESSIVE INTERNET USAGE
CAN LEAD TO DEPRESSION
“Increased levels of depression
are associated with those who
become addicted to the Internet”
Internet addiction and its side-
effect of multitasking are the
building blocks that construct
symptoms of depression
because both activities
encourage low self-esteem,
poor motivation, fear of rejection
and the need for approval – the
foundation associated with
depressives (Young, 1998).
The “Digital Natives’” still-maturing brains are being shaped to process
information rather than understand or remember it.
This current Internet driven era encourages college students and
adolescents to be poor thinkers and learners.
Young people are more primarily concerned with their social, rather
than their academic life, it is likely that students are better at
remembering what their closest peer wrote on their Facebook “wall”
instead of what was written by their professor on the chalk wall.
Multitasking is analogous with extreme Internet consumption, making it
difficult for college students and adolescents – society’s upcoming
leaders – to sustain keen mindsets while heading into the future. It is
now clear that as a result of this ubiquitous environment and the sheer
volume of their interaction with it, today’s students “think and process
information fundamentally differently from their predecessors because
different kinds of experiences lead to different brain structures.”
True human freedom is
classically defined as:
“The ability to think, act
and choose with minimal
interference by outside
powers” (Kirn, 2007).
Carr, N. (2010, May 20). Digital Screen Dependency: How “Real Life” is Now “Lived.
Retrieved from http://britannica.com/blogs/2010/05/digital-screen-dependency-how-real
Kirn, W. (2007, November). The Autumn of the Multitaskers. Retrieved from http://www.
Prensky, M. (2001, October 5). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. Retrieved by http://www.
Sylvie, C. (2007, April 5). Internet Addiction Disorder. Retrieved from http://www.associated
Young, K. (1998). CyberPsychology & Behavior The Relationship Between Depression and
Internet Addiction. Retrieved from http://www.liebertonline.com.ezproxy.lib.utexas.edu