“Being Part of” Online?
INTERNET ADDICTION has become a prevailing problem in the modern wired society. One important line of research has examined the relationships among Internet abuse, social anxiety, and interpersonal relationships. Several studies have identified that people who are shy, have poor social skills, or experience a high level of interpersonal anxiety may be drawn to cyberspace relationships.
The social anxiety this study describes seems very similar to the “not being part of” or “not belonging to” that alcoholics and addicts frequently talk about. Many addicts say they never had the manual to know how to deal with other people hence it seems they had some form of social anxiety as the result of insecure relationships with primary care givers. Hence they found “friends” via the mediation of alcohol and drugs and these substances suddenly seem to endow them with the “chemical keys” to unlock the ability to act socially with other people, to be part of or “to act extemporaneously” to quote Bill Wilson, to act spontaneously, to act as if we had shed our anxiety straight jacket. We all felt more social, wittier, etc even if we were not in reality.
I felt I was “more me” when I started drinking initially, that this was the “real me” not the grey version of me when sober!
Alcohol had boosted my neurobiology in some way, my blood flowed better around my veins, my stress chemicals reduced, the neurotransmitters that were reduced seem to be repleted. I seemed to grow more into my body, be more alert, be more loving to my fellow human beings. I liked me more when drinking just as others seemed to.
I preferred this me, more than my sober me. Fact. Alcohol gave me something I could get by myself. This was my first “spirit awakening” in a sense. I could transform my self in minutes via substances and via certain behaviours. Spirit transformation.
Wears out. Drastically. Leaving me chronically addicted to everything.
I often wondered if I would be an internet addict myself if an adolescent now? The answer would be yes as I am an internet addict now!!
I use the internet so much it would be considered, by diagnostics, as internet addiction. I use it to write blogs, research, run my own business rather than to find cyber “love” but…I use it 7 hours or more every day! Is this internet addiction to add to my alcoholism, substance addiction, behavioural addictions, insecure attachment issues , PTSD etc.
When I engage in any behaviour I have to be aware of doing that behaviour way too much. If I want to do something, there is a sure fire guarantee that I will really, really want to do it more and more and….
This study (1) suggests “that the quality of parent–child relationship is indeed positively correlated to the quality of our participants’ interpersonal relationships and that frustrating interpersonal relationships may raise the level of social anxiety. In addition, interpersonal relationships, the parent–child relationship, and social anxiety all influence Internet addiction… Finally, the more social anxiety and discontent with their peer interactions the participants experienced, the more addicted they were to the Internet.
Other studies have explored whether the cyber-relationship substitutes for an unmet need in an actual relationship.3–5 Together, these studies indicate that cyber-relationships can provide a sense of belonging, warmth, and well-being.
A study by Bell et al. revealed that the parent–child relationship was a primary experience of the child, as parents retained a substantial influence on the development of adolescent social relationships outside the family (8).
Feldman and Wentzel also found that parental child-rearing style and social support from the family were positively associated with whether the adolescent was trusted or liked by his or her peers (9). These studies collectively suggested that warmth, support, acceptance, and love in the parent–child relationship are directly related to the child’s closeness to peers, satisfaction with peer relations, and acceptance by peers.
In this study, we identify predictors of Internet addiction by constructing a model from elucidating the linkages among Internet addiction, parent–child relationship, interpersonal relationships, and social anxiety. This finding is consistent with the positions of Suler and Young, who have said that addiction to the Internet is a reaction to poor adaptation in the real world (5,14).
Most individuals who are addicted to the Internet experience more social anxiety because of bad social skills and frustrated personal companionship, which in turn may be shaped by qualities of the parent–child relationship. Anxiety picked up from caregivers or parents in the early stages of development, however, can be overcome and social skills can be improved if people develop good relationships during adolescence(6).
1. Liu, C. Y., & Kuo, F. Y. (2007). A study of Internet addiction through the lens of the interpersonal theory. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 10(6), 799-804.