In previous posts I already expressed my doubt about this phenomenon: Internet Addiction. The biggest problem with studies defining a new syndrome is usually that they don’t use validated diagnostic tools but mostly some severity scale. Internet Addiction is not clearly defined in the recent scientific publications and research. Some researchers have adapted substance use disorder, while others reference pathological gambling, resulting in an inconsistent definition of Internet addiction.
Being as it is, therapeutic research was done with such a creaky concept as Internet Addiction is. A recent systematic review according to the CONSORT statement has recently been published.
In this review of 8 treatment studies several key limitations were found.
- inconsistencies in the definition and diagnosis of Internet addiction,
- a lack of randomization and blinding techniques,
- a lack of adequate controls or other comparison groups,
- insufficient information concerning recruitment dates, sample characteristics, and treatment effect sizes.
Only one of the eight study was a Randomized Controlled Trial RCT, others were pre-test/post-test design. No clear definitions were used, one study referred to internet addiction as an impulse control disorder, others as substance abuse disorders. Only five studies used a diagnostic instrument. Most studies used “psychological interventions”: cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), motivational interviewing (MI), reality training, or a combination of psychological and/or counseling therapies within a self-devised treatment program. Two studies by the same group used pharmacologic interventions: a psychostimulant and an antidepressant, only one study used a control group and the treatment regimes varied between studies.
Each study utilized its diagnostic tool for Internet addiction as an outcome measure, with some studies also including measures of anxiety, depression, self-esteem, and behavioral functioning.
The results of the studies were favorable in seven, but the authors did not report the estimated effect sizes nor their precision, most outcomes were qualified as: “having a powerful outcome”, “improving the maladaptive behavior”, “clearly suggest that the program is effective”, “very effective to improve Internet addiction level”, “improved clinical symptoms and visual attention, associated with reduced severity of Internet video game play” and “effective at ameliorating the common symptoms”
A lot of work still has to be done, what do you think?
King, D., Delfabbro, P., Griffiths, M., & Gradisar, M. (2011). Assessing clinical trials of Internet addiction treatment: A systematic review and CONSORT evaluation Clinical Psychology Review, 31 (7), 1110-1116 DOI: 10.1016/j.cpr.2011.06.009
Personal usage of of the web during work (PWU) is still a matter of debate. Should it be allowed or is it another form of procrastination, disadvantageous to the employers. Should employers limit PWU through monitoring and Internet usage policies? PWU can vary between reading news to watching pornography, is this all bad?
Employees can use the Internet in a variety of ways not always harming their employees. It could enhance the work of some employees. There are many kinds of PWU behaviors. In short a lot of questions starting to be answered with some recent research. The first question is what is PWU exactly and what kind of PWU behaviors do exist?
A recent study looked at this important questions and came up with another but probably useful definition and classification. It only looked at Web surfing behaviors not other forms of online activities such as email. This study appealed to me because it’s viewing PWU not a priori as bad but as a constructive behavior. PWU can provide a necessary break from drudgery or intense endeavors. It can help putting the family/work balance to more appropriate proportions. This e.g. in contrast with the term cyberloafing.
Cyberloafing is defined as ‘‘the voluntary act of employees using their companies’ Internet access during office hours to surf nonjob-related Web sites for personal
This study found after cluster analysis four types of PWU
- The work/family PWU cluster. It includes activities where employees tend to personal affairs at work and there is a threat of production deviance as employees attend to personal business on company time instead of work. This type of PWU may serve to reduce stress as employees take a ‘‘break’’ from their work-related duties. Employees may also be working during personal time and this behavior can be a trade of.
- Hedonic PWU. Those are using the Internet for their personal pleasure, enjoyment. Looking for entertainment and amusement. It can temporarily relief stress and improve their mood.
- Self-development PWU. Especially knowledge workers could benefit from searching for educational informative information and current events. This self development may simultaneously benefit the organization
- Organizational Citizenship PWU. Interest and monitoring the external environment of the organization may also be of benefit to the organization.
In short, PWU has many faces and most of them of benefit to the organization. Keep in mind that Dr Shock might be biased on this subject but at least one can certainly defend the opposing view that not all PWU is bad and disadvantageous to the employers.
Anandarajan, M., Simmers, C., & D’Ovidio, R. (2011). Exploring the Underlying Structure of Personal Web Usage in the Workplace Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking DOI: 10.1089/cyber.2010.0136
Thanks to Clinical cases and Images an astonishing video about how smart phone use delivers an enormous amount of data for scientists.
Researchers are harvesting a wealth of intimate detail from cellphone data, uncovering the hidden patterns of social lives, travels, risk of disease – even political views.
Social Networking Sites (SNS) grow in the number of users and have become a mass phenomenon. Time for some classification of these SNS users for both academic and practical purposes.
previous research has been focused on the study of user behavior in specific SNSs using mainly psychological (entertainment, socializing, etc.) or sociodemographic variables. In the present study, we propose a classification of users for all SNSs in which they actively participate, using a wide spectrum of behavioral and sociodemographical variables.
Introvert users: they are the smallest group of SNS users, mainly using SNSs for direct messaging. Mostly men older than 45 years of age, using one SNS service, having less than 50 contacts, using SNS once a week no longer than 1 hour.
Novel users: 25,5% of the sample, mostly women younger than 29 years, using SNS several times a week, spending between 2-5 hours per week. They use two SNS for entertainment, to keep in touch with friends and people they know.
Versatile users: The largest group presenting 36,25% of the group. Uses SNS for all kinds of activities such as commenting on friends, photos, public messaging, share photos and links to websites. Mainly men between 36 and 44, connecting at least once a day, spending 1-5 hours a day, using 2 or more SNSs, they have between 10 and 100 contacts. The majority use SNSs for entertainment, to maintain contact with friends, and because they were invited. In this group, there is a higher proportion of individuals who use SNSs for making professional contacts on a professional level.
Expert-Communicator user: About 20% of the sample. The most active user group, performing frequently different activities on SNSs. The majority are women between 25 and 35 with wide experience in SNS use. They use SNS several toimes a day for longer than 5 hours, they use more than two SNS with private profiles and they have more than 100 contacts.
They use SNSs for entertainment, for keeping in touch with friends, because they were invited, to keep informed about events, parties, etc., and to have a closer relationship with people with whom they do not maintain a direct relationship
Couldn’t find myself in any of these profiles, can you?
Alarcón-del-Amo, M., Lorenzo-Romero, C., & Gómez-Borja, M. (2011). Classifying and Profiling Social Networking Site Users: A Latent Segmentation Approach Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking DOI: 10.1089/cyber.2010.0346
Nice video from New Scientist about the pro’s and cons of using facebook
After a failed relationship that left him heartbroken, visual effects artist Maxime Luère was inspired to create this time-lapse movie. The film charts a life on Facebook: from setting up the account, to falling in love, being unfaithful, breaking up and finally settling down.
Learned a new word today: sexting. You probably know what it means but I didn’t have a clue. Sexting is: sending and receiving sexually suggestive images, videos, or texts on cell phones. Smartphones, computers and other toys with internet access also creep into our relationships. For example visiting dating sites, long distance interactions with webcam, even relationship termination can be done online: idump4u.com.
A recent study looked at attachment styles and the use of sexting.
Attachment theory has proposed that the attachment one forms in infancy to a caregiver may form a basis for the attachment one forms later with a romantic partner.
Different attachment styles. exist according to this theory. Attachment anxiety may relate to those seeking information from their romantic partner
about intimacy, their partner, and the future of the relationship as well as engaging in sex to reduce feelings of insecurity about a relationship and to get emotionally close to the partner.
In this study they looked at adult romantic attachment styles and the use of sexting. 128 Participants completed the online questionnaire about attachment and sexting. They included 22 male students and 106 female students. Keeping in mind this over representation of women and the fact that the researchers didn’t use a validated instrument for measuring sexting, attachment anxiety predicted positive attitudes towards the use of sexting. Those with attachment anxiety found sexting normal and enhancing the romantic relationship. Attachment anxiety also predicted sending texts that solicit sexual activity for those individuals in relationships.
In short Sexting as the new expression of attachment anxiety.
Weisskirch, R., & Delevi, R. (2011). “Sexting” and adult romantic attachment Computers in Human Behavior DOI: 10.1016/j.chb.2011.02.008
The Millenial generation are those in college from 2000 to late 2010. It’s the same period in which social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace and Hyves in The Netherlands saw a massive increase in users. To some, the millennial generation are more narcissistic than earlier generations. From wikipedia, the millennial generation is generally marked by an increased use and familiarity with communications, media, and digital technologies.
Might their be some connection between increased narcissism in this generation and the increase of use of social networking sites?
We’re talking about subclinical narcissists. They hold an inflated view of themselves, believe they are special and unique, and expect special treatment from others while believing they owe little or nothing in return. They lack empathy and have few, if any, close relationships, yet they strongly desire social contact, as others serve as their primary source of admiration and attention. Because narcissists are unable to regulate their own self-esteem, they must rely on external sources for affirmation. Almost comparable to clinical entity of narcissistic personality disorder but to a lesser degree.
Why social networking sites?
Because narcissists crave attention of others and seek admiration and attention from others in order to maintain their self-esteem.
SNSs provide an ideal outlet for narcissists to satisfy these needs as SNSs allow users to receive relational benefits from a large number of loose or ‘‘weak tie’’ connections
A total of 361 participants recruited from undergraduates completed an online survey. This survey consisted of the narcissistic personality inventory, items about social networking sites use, reasons for use of social networking sites, the use of photos with themselves on it, questions about other activities on the social networking sites and questions about the importance of their profile image.
Narcissism predicted reasons why Millennials use social networking sites:
- Narcissism had a significant, positive relationship with the reported importance of getting to know as many people online as possible and the number of friends.
- Narcissism predicted wanting their friends to know what they were doing
- Narcissism predicted believing their friends were interested in what they are doing
- Narcissism predicted having their profiles project a positive image
Narcissism did not predict more use of social networking sites compared to non-narcissists. This study doesn’t proof a causal relationship between use of social networking sites and narcissism in Millennials. The use of social networking sites might be just a product of the times. Previous generations might have used other means of communication for staying connected. Using social networking sites might be another outlet for narcissistic types.
The online environment allows narcissists to effectively manage their image by controlling the information and activities that are displayed. This control allows narcissists to hide their inadequacies and, thus, bolster their selfesteem.
Bergman, S., Fearrington, M., Davenport, S., & Bergman, J. (2011). Millennials, narcissism, and social networking: What narcissists do on social networking sites and why Personality and Individual Differences, 50 (5), 706-711 DOI: 10.1016/j.paid.2010.12.022