Opening students’ eyes to the power of language—its ability to shape and manipulate perceptions and cultural attitudes—is, we believe, one of the worthiest goals a writing class can pursue.
The most powerful way that our generation’s cultural attitudes and perceptions have been shaped is by internet language. A negative side to this is the Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD) epidemic. There are people all over the world that obsess over the internet so much that they experience addictive symptoms from internet use that align with those of alcoholics and drug abusers. Internet gaming shopping, social networking and other miscellaneous uses of the internet are said to be structured in a way that purposely causes addiction-like habits.
According to the Aljazeera article “Facebook Rehab”, social networking sites like Facebook use the reward system to its advantage when it comes to drawing in and maintaining its user count. The reward system takes place in the brain and is a process where dopamine is released when an anticipated action is fulfilled. It happens every time a user recieves a friend request, event invite, message, or notification of any kind, whether it be on the computer or on their phone. This is also a basic distinguishing factor of many other addictions including drug addictions and alcoholism. One of the most noticable symptoms of this neurological process in many addictions including IAD are withdrawal. When I was browsing tumblr for examples of this symptom, I was bombarded with the number of posts of people talking about the negative feelings they get when they’re away from their internet or phone.
Something that I noticed about this was that people are very open online about how they feel about everything. The appeal that the internet has, especially in blogging and social networking sites, is that people are was asked to express how they feel. Facebook’s status default asks the question,”What’s on your mind?” near the top of the page before the user sees the rest of their friends activity following. The opportunity to express the answer to this question is seldom asked in real life, so you would think this is an appealing aspect of the internet that allows someone to share their opinions without someone asking them outright, but knowing that someone may want to know because they “subscribed” to their life by adding them as a friend. Several Tumblr posts expressed how they feel comfortable and free to speak their mind on Tumblr because, even though it has most of the same sharing features as Facebook, the ability to be someone you’re not, or who you really are when everyone isn’t around, is more plausible on Tumblr. There isn’t the central focus on friendship on Tumblr as there is on Facebook.
The internet blogging world allows people to express themselves in a much different light than the social networking world, although they both use similar language to capture the desired crowd. At times, people want the opportunity to live in or create their own world, whether it be through blogging, or gaming, when reality isn’t satisfying them. At other times, they want to be close to their family members and friends and be able to access them at all times despite whatever distance may be between them. Sometimes people just like the ability to learn, create, say anything that they want at anytime. With the way that the internet has advanced in such a short time it’s a wonder what it will be able to do in the years to come. With the addictability that internet already has, it is possible that the strain on physical human to human contact will increase and people will rely more on technology to relate to each other. The addiction factor along with all of its physcological symptoms worsens this theory and has become such a big deal that Internet Addiction Rehab facilities have been launched in an effort to reverse the initially seemingly harmless and pleasurable effects of the internet on weak-willed minds. In a time when even in schools the requirement of internet access is becoming more and more prevalent, it is hard for one to escape the internet and its influential language. The thought still lingering in my mind is of what must be done, alongside increased awareness, to keep this and the coming generation from falling into this addiction.