In recent years there has been a fundamental change in the role and place of personal computers and information technology in human life. A.E. Voiskunsky describes three main types of needs that people meet on the Internet: communicative, cognitive and games . Communicative need is met through e-mails, chat, forums, etc. A large part of modern social activity of young people is realized within the framework of interaction in online communities and, above all, social networks such as «VK», «OK (Classmates)», «My World», «Facebook». Social networks now account for more than 85% of Internet users. A typical user of social media — a man aged 18-24 years (96%). Russian Internet users are actively using the network as a means of free expression of thoughts and feelings .
Basic psychological research on the problem of Internet communications aimed mainly at studying forms of communication like chat rooms and forums (I.S. Shevchenko, 2002; I.V. Romanov, 2005; T.A. Naumova, 2007; I.V. Andreev, 2008; G.S. Chichkova, 2008; A.A. Meleshnikov, 2010; A.V. Kuznetsova, 2011), as well as the analysis of the phenomenon of internet addiction (F.A. Saglam, 2009; N.I. Drepa, 2010; A.V. Grishina, 2011).
However, we are, to a greater extent, interested in the psychological problems of young people, arising from a long and regular Internet communications. One of the problems associated with the development of information technology, is the dependence on the Internet, or Internet addiction, intensively discussed in the medical, psychological and pedagogical literature (A.E. Voiskunsky, 2000; V.A. Loskutova, 2004; L.N. Yurjeva, T.Y. Bolbot, 2006; T.A .Naumova, 2007; V.L. Malygin, 2010; K. Young, 1998 — 2003).
For the first time the term «Internet addiction» was proposed by Dr. A. Goldberg in 1996 to describe the uncontrollable, painful thrust to the Internet. The constant use of the computer leads to the stress of man. Equally important is the fact that computer use causes damage to the social, psychological and interpersonal status of the individual [1; 3].
- Young has found that Internet addiction is often linked with depression. Depressive patients who have difficulty in communication or social adaptation, often use the Internet to help overcoming the difficulties of interpersonal interaction in reality .
It was also found that Internet addicts often feel nervous, being “offline”, and students suffer from academic failure and deterioration of relationships (K. Young, 1997). John Suler highlights the effect of emancipation in which there are two options: the output of negative emotions and destructive satisfaction of needs (insult others, hacking sites), or the implementation of the possibility to be open and not close to some very personal aspects .
Materials and Methods
All of the above has determined the purpose to identify the psychological problems of young people resorting to the Internet to communicate. The empirical research was made with young people (aged between 18 and 22 years) who use the Internet to communicate in the amount of 45 people. All participants are students of different universities of Russia. Empirical research was conducted in the virtual mode of interaction.
We hypothesized that the Internet as a modern communicative medium contributes to the emergence of the psychological problems of young people, in particular: the manifestation of negative emotional states (the experience of depression); reduce the level of self-confidence and self-esteem; formation of uncertainty feeling manifestation of Internet addiction symptoms.
The analysis of foreign and Russian psychological researches allowed to identify basic personal problems of young people resorting to the Internet to communicate, and led to the choice of diagnostic methods:
- Depression Scale (adaptation T.I. Balashova);
- Test-questionnaire of self-attitude (V.V. Stolin);
- Test of self-confidence (V.G. Romek);
- Questionnaire of attitudes towards the Internet (E. Gubenko).
When selecting methods we tried to take into account the positive assessment of the use and reliability of the method according to a number of foreign and Russian researchers; availability of techniques for participants; the possibility of qualitative and quantitative analysis of the results.
As a result of methodology » Depression Scale (adaptation T.I .Balashova)» found out that of the total sample of young people only 13% of participants showed a state without depression and 15% — mild depression. While masked depression and depressive state was found out at 40% and 32% participants respectively (Picture 1). These results suggest that young people prefer virtual communication, the level of depression is quite high.
Picture 1. The level of depression in the group of testees
As a result of methodology «Test-questionnaire of self-attitude (V.V. Stolin)» we found out that 33% of respondents showed a low level of self-esteem, which indicates an internal conflict between the real and the ideal «I».
The results of the level of self-confidence on «Test of self-confidence (V.G. Romek)» indicate that 27% of testees are not able to make difficult decisions independently, to control their actions and their results. In the context of this study, it must be said that subjects with low indicator on this scale have difficulty in real communication, they are much less come into social contact, while virtual communication appears to them as an alternative to real communication (Picture 2).
Picture 2. The level of self-confidence in the group of testees
In the Picture 3 the results of «Questionnaire of attitudes towards the Internet (E. Gubenko)» are presented: level of social comfort in the Internet, level of the presence of loneliness in real life and the level of the presence of obsessive thoughts about the Internet (self-control).
Picture 3. The level of social comfort, loneliness self-control in the group of testees
In the group of testees indicator of «social comfort» shows that 13% of the participants tend to use the Internet to achieve social comfort, i.e. be able to communicate with the others and to develop their own social network, and to achieve calmness and a sense of security through the membership of a virtual social environment even though that it is virtual.
It should be noted that high level on the scale of «social comfort» indicates a lack of faith in their own strength (61%) of the underestimated estimation of their possibilities, including the field of interpersonal communication. Such individuals are increasingly characterized by a low ability to control their own lives, make responsible decisions and to understand themselves.
The high level of the indicator on the scale of «loneliness» in the group of testees (30%) also indicates a sense of loneliness in the real world — and as a result of this — the involvement in the process of virtual communication as a way to supplement the deficit in interpersonal communication in real life.
At least, 24% of the testees revealed a low level of self-control, i.e. the inability to reduce the time of Internet which indicates the involvement of young people in the active use of the Internet as a means of communication.
The data of the empirical research allow to draw the following conclusions:
- a tendency to experience depression is noted;
- a lack of ability to make important decisions and take responsibility for their lives is noted;
- there is a low level of self-confidence combined with a high level of shyness index which indicates the difficulty in communicating in real life;
- the presence of loneliness in real life and a great involvement in the active use of the Internet as a means of communication is noted.
In the theoretical analysis of the psychological literature on the problem of communication it was identified the main approaches to the study of communication problems and basic definitions of communication. It was concluded that communication is an important factor in the formation of a mature personality, in particular, for the period of early youth. The study found out that young men and women who prefer virtual communication show high levels of depression and situational anxiety; their self-esteem is significantly undervalued, ability to self-important decisions and responsibility for the results is underdeveloped; testees who choose the Internet as the primary means of communication do not realize sufficiently the connection between their actions and significant events in life, do not consider themselves able to control their development and believe that the majority of everything is the result of chance or other people’s actions.
Thus, the Internet as a modern communicative medium contributes to the emergence of psychological problems of young people, in particular: the manifestation of negative emotional states (the experience of depression); reduce the level of self-confidence and self-esteem; formation of feelings of insecurity and the manifestation of Internet addiction symptoms.
References1. Kulagina, Ya.M., Tarasova, I.Yu. (2014). Impact of Internet on today's youth. Actual questions of social sciences: sociology, political science, philosophy, history: Collection of works. XXXV International scientific-practical conference. №#3 (35). Novosibirsk: SeeBAC.
2. Kulikova, T.I., Maliy, D.V. (2015). Correlation between passion for computer games and school performance of younger schoolchildren. Psychology in Russia: State of the Art. Scientific Yearbook Moscow. #3. Pp. 124-136.
3. Morozova, O.N. (2010). Features of Internet communications: definition and properties. Bulletin of the Leningrad A.S. Pushkin State University. #5. Volume 1. URL: http://cyberleninka.ru/article/n/osobennosti-internet-kommunikatsii-opredelenie-i-svoystva . (Accessed 21 January 2017).
4. Suler, J. (1999). Computer and cyberspace addiction. URL: http://www.rider.edu/~suler/psycyber/cybaddict.html . (Accessed 21 January 2017).
5. Voiskunsky, A.E. (2002). Internet Research in psychology. Internet and Russian society. M .: Gendalf. Pp. 235-250.
6. Young, K.S. (2000). Diagnosis: Internet addiction. World of Internet. #2. Pp.24-29.