The internet, undoubtedly, is the greatest invention of the 21st century. Its positive impact on society is very significant but the dangers cannot be overlooked.
A study by researchers at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) has found 40 percent of Ghanaians are likely to develop Internet Addiction Disorder.
This is the consequence of individuals spending more than half of their day on the internet.
According to a 2018 report by Global Digital Agencies, known as ‘We Are Social and Hootsuite,’ over 10 million Ghanaians use the internet.
The figure has gone up by two million in January 2017, representing 35 percent of the estimated 29 million population. Continental growth rate over the period was 20 percent from last year.
Ghana's growth rate has been attributed to the influx of affordable smart phones and mobile data plans.
According to the report, the country currently has 5.6 million active social media users and 19.53 million mobile users.
However, increased social media use comes with diminishing person-to-person interaction.
“When you’re obsessed, apart from isolation, it cuts productivity as people waste most of the time there, especially, on social media.
“For kids, it gradually takes them away from their books impacting academic performance,” said Dominic Alokopo Northern Regional Coordinator of the e-crime Bureau.
Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD), an emerging phenomenon, involves user screen time exposure at a minimum of 16 hours a day, not necessarily be continuous.
Ghana Internet Safety Foundation is concerned many youths determine their self-worth using the internet.
“If they post a picture on Facebook and they get 1000 likes, they feel good about themselves but if the next day they post and get 20 likes then it puts them in self-doubt,” he pointed out.
“If over a period they don’t get the initial responses after the face painting and photo shoot then it puts them in a state of depression,” he noted.
Dr. Adjaley Konney sought to establish the relationship between internet addiction disorder and depression among Ghanaians.
As part of the final year thesis, she interviewed 162 active internet users of 25 years on average on two social media platforms, Twitter and Facebook.
She found that 3.7 percent of the users suffer Internet Addiction Disorder out this some battle with various levels of depression.
Dr. Adjaley Konney recommends extensive research in Africa to properly address the situation.
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