Cyberpsychology is a new field within applied psychology It assesses how we interact with others using technology, and how technology influences our daily behaviour.. In today’s world of hi tech gadgets and radical changes in consumerism, its extremely difficult to live one’s life without some application of the Internet. In my own work as a Psychological practitioner and social media psychologist, I regularly meet people who have some form of depression,social anxiety, insomnia, and major clinical issues with attachment to their smartphones or to a lesser extent, tablets and laptops. Several peer reviewed journals now discuss their research findings on the health problems caused by the new cybertechnologies.In some areas we have a developing field of clinical Cyberpsychology, which focuses on areas such as clinical Cyberdepression and how we identify the causes for it ,and such problems as Internet Gambling, Cybersex addiction, Online dating issues over deception, Cyberchondria or browsing online for medical information.In relation to adults, I see clients who have major issues with Online dating addiction, or covert online activity,or perhaps internet pornography. Others present with compulsive surfing and feel its gone out of control. Many of these behaviour’s lie within the latest developing field of Cyberpsychology.
Academic researchers Mark Siggins and his colleague Cliona Flood have explored mobile hone separation and anxiety and its effects on human performance. Their focus was on the perceived anxiety associated with the separation in their research sample of 18 –40 year olds. Their separation anxiety was measured using the Cellular Technologies Addiction Scale and anxiety scores also measured using the State Trait Anxiety Inventory. Participants were separated from their mobile phones for a twelve hour period during which their anxiety levels were recorded and compared to a control group. This and similar experiments have found that research by Katz( 2006) found that participants were unable to be separated from their phones for even three or four hours. Contemporary researchers in Cyberpsychology find that most participants were unwilling to take part in a Cyberpsychology experiments if they had to be separated from their phones for more than one hour.
What does this tell us about the nature of attachment and bonding we see as infants in our mothers arms and later in terms of social and moral development.? We are born to affiliate utilizing all of the human cognitive functions of impression management, being well groomed and elegant in meeting others socially. Our human behaviour’s depend on reactions we receive from others our non verbal behavious also communicate signals radically different form those unseen online . Monotony boredom and social anxiety are salient factors I see in those who come with problems to be sorted. The constant exposure to social media for the purposes of our professional work may contribuite significantly to and influence our afterwork experience. We create our own alienation from the self and personal identity. The attachment becomes a virtual 24 hour day by day activity ,the only difference for some is that evenings and weekends we are more likely to engage in high risk online behaviours such as deceptive online dating an online flirting which is extremely addictive. Its the novelty factor in what psychologists call the “Exploration of Novel Stimuli” or simply put, escape from the drudgery of a routing dull and unexciting unrewarding relationship. The most profound effect of smartphone attachment are: less effective Cognitive functions and work performance,, risk of losing ones job or career, Driving accidents to and from work, relationship breakdown and chronic anxiety or depressive disorders.