Term paper on “Coach potato” and Folk devil

  1. If the coach potato is the folk devil for the medium of television, identify and discuss one such folk devil for the Internet. How does the cultural figure you identify function discursively to shape the way we think about and regulate our relationship to the medium of the Internet?

If the coach potato is the folk devil for the medium of television, then Internet

addicted people can be identified as folk devil for the Internet. Internet addiction disorder is still difficult to be defined (Grohol 2012). The research methodology does not provide a grounded scientific approach to the disorder. But it should be admitted that many people have a problem of spending too much time in the Internet. However, the problem is usually connected with their unwillingness to deal with other serious problems in their lives. Spending time in the Internet they try to escape from reality and from their real troubles. Grohol (2012) emphasizes that some people who spend much time online without having any other problems may suffer from Internet compulsive overuse. This case, however, will be treated similarly. In this situation, the most important point of the issues is not the technology (TV, computer etc.) but the behavior of a person. These kinds of problem are easily treatable in psychotherapy. The area of studies lacks a distinct definition of the disorder while research data remain unreliable because of numerous methodological drawbacks and controversial points. Thus, the quality of the research still suffers. The researchers tend to copy the scientific base from other psychological disorders, while they can not prove the disorder really exists.

Grohol (2012) emphasizes that time which is spent in the internet can not be seen as a indicator of the disorder. It can only be take in the context with other factors like being a student using the Internet for studies, using the Internet at work, having other health problems (mental disorders), having other problems which make a person spend much time online. All the factors should be considered. Social interactions may be seen as the reason for the Internet to be so addicting. Grohol (2012) put forward the hypothesis that there are three stages of using the Internet. The first stage is characterized by euphoria and high Internet using activity, then we observe the stage of decline and the third stage is the stage of harmonization and stabilizing online activity. Thus, some people stuck at the stage I and they need help to get to stage III. This hypothesis presupposes that online activity is phasic and all people are able to get to stage III themselves. It may take different period of time. The author states that treating the issue does not arise any concern among the therapist and people with such problem very often do not need any specialized help at all.

DeAngelis (2000) suggests that addiction’ may be not quite right term to associate with the problem. Interaction with other people can hardly be identified as some addiction. It is very hard to draw the boundaries the deviation from the norm.

Until the proper and methodologically well organized research is done it is not quite right to refer internet addiction to mental disorders or other addictions.

However, the term internet addiction’ has managed to become a serious threat for the society. Parents are often concerned about their children who spend much time in the Internet and tend to ignore other activities. Internet addiction often become the reason for argues in families where one of the members spend much time near computer. There are families where all the members are fond of spending their time in the Internet and none of them cares about the problem. Most people tend to consider Internet addiction’ to be a problem or deviation of the behaviour. Thus, many parents tend to limit their children time in the Internet, others try to draw the attention of a so-called addicted’ person to the problem. It has already become an issue of social concern. It should be noted that the Internet may be dangerous especially for young children as it offers gambling web sites, online shops, porn sites and other sites that may contain information dangerous for children. While the phenomenon of internet addiction is discussed in the society people perceive the Web both as useful and dangerous environment. Some people have totally negative attitude to the Internet as a source of danger as well as there are people who do not see any danger from the Internet at all.

Internet addiction should always be seen in the context of other problems of a person. The causes of internet addiction usually lie in other personal or health problems which require to be addressed first. The problem of internet addiction can be the outcome of those problems.

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