Are You Hooked?

A look at our digital dependency.

How often do you check your smartphone for messages? Do you spend hours playing online games or checking social media? If so, you may be one of the 40 million people in the U.S. that are addicted to the Internet. Although the idea of an Internet addiction is still a relatively new concept, many experts are beginning to consider it a form of behavioral addiction, similar to gambling.

Tom Ward of Futurism examines the growing problem of our digital dependency and possible addiction to the Internet. He notes that there is a lot of ongoing research into this issue, but that some experts believe that up to one-fifth of possible Internet addicts are young adults. While online gaming seems to be the gateway for men, social media tends to attract women. And, society's growing acceptance and use of the Internet makes breaking the habit even more difficult.

Supporting Web Links

Discussion Questions/Activities 
  1. How much time do your students spend online? Do they even know? Share the video "Here's Why You Could be Addicted to the Internet" with the class.
  2. Divide the class into small groups and have them create surveys to gauge an individual's dependence on the Internet and their devices. Students should create their own questions, but remember to obtain demographic information as well. Each member of the group should have at least 3-5 people respond to the survey (friends, relatives, co-workers, peers, etc.). Groups should then compile their responses and present their results to the class.
  3. As an individual project, ask students to track the amount of time they spend online with their devices and what they were doing at the time. Students should create a form to keep track of how they are doing and log their results for at least 2 or 3 days. At the completion of the time, students should submit their tracking report to their instructor or create a brief summary of their results.

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