For people between the ages of ten and twenty-six years old, Internet addiction has become a mental health problem. Many studies have been designed to determine why the Internet is so addicting.
One major factor to Internet addiction is anonymity; users have the ability to be anyone or anything they want to be. This identity could represent an ideal self or it could be the opposite of the real person. Having the resources to be able to change oneself over the Internet can lead to many problems along with addictiveness. Another downfall of cyberspace is the ability to create interpersonal bonds, which can cause users to enter into a state of loneliness if that bond is misunderstood (Lavanco, Catania, Milio, Romano, 2008). Along with the lack of nonverbal cues, typing may be slow for some people and in trying to be precise information can be forgotten about (Myrick, Sabella 1995).
Cyberspace not only has disadvantages; it also comes with advantages. For example, the speed in which tasks and relationships can be formed and completed. Another factor is the fact that users cannot be judged for their appearance like they can in real life (Lavanco, Catania, Milio, Romano, 2008). In some cases anonymity can be an advantage. For example in online focus groups individuals could post anonymously if they did not feel conformable putting their name with their post (Kenny 2004). In E-mail supervision group members felt that help and encouragement was always there which caused them to feel closer to one another. The E-mail made a special bond that caused them to be more open with one another. Users also reported that written words were more powerful than spoken words because spoken words can be lost in memory and written words are always there to refer back to. E-mail also makes it easier to make, confirm and cancel appointments and meetings. An example of the above advantages is the case of Damon. A student-counselor, Via E-mail to his supervisor, sent the case of Damon. Damon was a fifth grade African American student who lived with his mother and two sisters. He was sent to the principal after he returned from a five-day suspension for opening a knife on the school bus. All of the teachers gave him homework to do while he was suspended but when he returned none of the assignment where done. Damon thought that football was more important that doing his homework. Damon was remorseful about letting his teachers and home liaison specialist down by not doing his homework. He started crying in the first meeting with the student-counselor. After going over his daily schedule during the second session, Damon and the student-counselor made a homework checklist. He was supposed to record all of his assignments for the day and initial the checklist at the bottom after finishing and turning them in. The first checklist was lost. Therefore they could not review it during the third session. The student-counselor reiterated the importance of the...