Caught in the Net: The Risk Discourse of Problematic Internet Use Among Adolescents

Tuesday, 17 July 2018
Distributed Paper
Anne-Chie WANG, National Taiwan university, Taiwan
The World Health Organization regards the problematic internet use as a non-substance addiction that might have a negative impact on mental wellbeing. In Taiwan society, the prevalence of the problematic Internet use among youth is nearly 20%. The high rate makes educator and medical expert growing consciousness about this issue. Especially the junior and senior high school students caught the experts' attention. The education and medical discipline gave a different explanation and set the action agenda for youth mental wellbeing promotion. The aim of the research is to investigate how does those experts problematize the internet using behavior as unusual and get the legitimation of intervention. The research analyzed different viewpoints of the risk discourse about the youth excessive use of the internet, both from the educator and psychiatry experts. The research adopts a qualitative content analysis of the publication and survey conducted by those experts. The contents implies how experts delineate the difference between the normal and abnormal way of using the internet. The research found that the two disciplines adopts different stand toward youth internet using issue. On one hand, the educators concern about the deviant behavior that derive from internet use. Like violent behavior, scam, sexual exploitation. On the other hand, the psychiatry expert focus the possibility that Internet addiction triggers the depression or other mental illness. Despite of the different focus, the two discipline co-construct the normalizing power of youth internet using behavior. In conclusion, the excessive use of the internet is deemed a lure and causing users get escapism. On this assumption, the teenagers are not having the capacity to resist the lure. However, those assumptions are, usually focus the negative impact of the internet use, lack of concern about the digital world is part of multi-reality and the peer culture among teenagers.