According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, addiction refers to the strong yet harmful need to constantly have something or to do something. As for cyber relationship addiction, it is the addiction to “social networking, chat rooms, texting, and messaging to the point where virtual, online friends become more important than real-life relationships with family and friends” (Ramdhonee 2014).
Why is this topic of interest important? The main reason cited is that the Internet has undoubtedly become part of our daily lives and has made a radical change in communication leading to the build up of relationships. However, the effects of such online relationships ranges from ...view middle of the document...
For example, in a test done on Italian youths, 36.7% showed signs of cyber relationship addiction. “They used the Internet for many hours per week, mostly utilized dysfunctional coping strategies and showed worse interpersonal relations than peers who do not show signs of” cyber relationship addiction (Milani et al.,2009). It was also discovered that the younger generation is seemingly becoming lonelier and experience difficulties in making contact with others face-to-face.
However, other than experiencing difficulies in interpersonal relations, there is also a shorter interaction time during real-life contact. According to Ramdhonee, for teens who are addicted to engaging in cyber relationships, they “now spend a very limited time with family and actual friends” (2014). This often leads to the deterioration of family bond and also distorted social skills and cues.
Demographics affected by cyber relationship addiction
Researches generally agree that males are more likely to be excessive Internet users than females, with Mythily et al finding males being twice as likely to succumb to addiction, Niemz et al reporting that males were 3 times more likely, and Anderson who similarly concluded that males were 7 times more likely to be internet-dependent. However, as these statistics are regarding Internet addiction rather than cyber-relationship addiction, it is important to look into the purpose of their Internet use.
Deveau stipulates that while both male and female addicts get the same sense of “euphoria” when online, the purpose of Internet use varied according to gender. (Chou, Condron and Belland, 17) Griffiths suggested that “males are more likely to use the Internet to fuel other addictions such as gambling and gaming”, which may explain the greater prevalence of Internet addiction in males. A study conducted by Serife, Koruklu and Yilmaz revealed that females mostly used the Internet for communication while males preferred online gaming and information seeking.
As social media is arguably more relevant to cyber relationships, looking at statistics based on the United States demographics data, more than two thirds of social media sites surveyed have more females than male users, with 17 out of 24 sites having more female than male users. The average gender distribution of social media is about 48.75% for males, and 51.25% for females. Popular social media sites such as facebook and twitter also have an unequal gender balance, with females taking up 60%, and males taking up 40%. (Report: Social network demographics in 2012)
Overall females use the Internet for social networking and reinforcing pre-existing relationships whereas males use the social networking sites to flirt and make new friends.
To sum it up, while women are more prone to forming cyber relationships online, males are more prone to addiction.
Majority of the research are aimed toward adolescents. A study conducted found that in terms of age, people under 19...