Internet addiction as a social issue is updated by digital transformation of society in the context of the financial and economic crisis. The research purpose is to study Internet addiction and its social impact on the value system of modern youth. In particular in terms of the financial and economic crisis. This research is necessary to understand different kinds of addictions of modern youth and the social impact of this phenomenon, as well as the methods to cope them. Young people aged 16–20 from the entities of the North Caucasian Federal District took part in the testing: 59 people from the Kabardino-Balkarian Republic, 40 people from the Karachi-Cherkess Republic and 51 people living in the Caucasian Mineral Waters region (150 people in total). The correct approach to the socialization of young people is in the creation of conditions for them to put into practice their interests and hobbies. This approach brings a rather complex result, in practice it expresses how individuals react to stress and interact with each other. Both the content and form of youth leisure play important role and should meet the needs and interests of youngsters, taking into account the cultural traditions of the region. The proposed exercises and recreational events must be different, entertaining and unobtrusive in nature, only then they will be recognized by younger generation.
The digital social transformation is one of the most paramount processes in modern Russia. The transfer to information society irreversibly affects all social spheres. These are mainly knowledge and technologies, the intensification of technical progress, expansion of the access to digital information data in the Internet, as well as technological development and sharing all over the world.
Digital transformation gives new features to the old types of human activity and creates opportunities for the emergence of new ones. At the same time, we need to understand that high-tech space is both beneficial and harmful. In the first case, we are talking about an applied effect for various branches of knowledge and in the second case, about the possibility of deformation of a personality and its social integration.
Information is a tool and source applied to various purposes and it is impossible to consider it as an absolute value. The impact of information can induce an individual to act contrary to his own interests, limit professional activities and lead to social deformation in some cases.
A lot of people love online so much that they have begun to replace reality with the Internet, where they spend most of their time. The process of the functioning of consciousness is gradually disrupted, as a result of which the cognitive functions of an individual decrease.
Scientists conclude that the addiction to online world is equal to alcoholism, smoking, and drug addiction.
The ultra-fast communication that arose on the Internet greatly changed the structure of communication. The individuality of thought was absorbed by the sophisticated urgency of answers. At the same time, a personality suffers the most, since the process of its formation is oppressed.
Zasursky (2020) exactly explained this phenomenon. He writes that communication has acquired a random character, in which people act as an impersonal force.
In general, the overuse of digital technologies by youth leads to the escape from reality into online world. During the process youngsters get an irresistible Internet attraction, hindering the cultural, moral and spiritual development of an individual, leading to a restriction of interests, depriving them of healthy social needs. The growing process of digitalization of the realities of the society of Russia made a relatively new social problem such as Internet addiction relevant.
There values and value-conscious hierarchy are being transformed. Traditionally, values are connected to norms and ideals. Online world creates the value of a set of knowledge important for ordinary life, knowledge that is in demand in a fast-paced world.
In psychological dictionaries, the word addiction is defined as a compulsion to do particular actions despite adverse psychological, medical or social impact. Addiction is considered as a pathological inclination of the subject to everything. The prevalence of Internet addiction in our time confirms the need to identify addicted individuals, study the socio-psychological characteristics of an individual and develop effective preventive measures (Zhilavskaya, 2008).
The problem of Internet addiction began to rise from the 90s of the XX century. The Internet at that time was pretty even. Since then, the digital information space has expanded significantly. Researchers started to study the Internet addiction not only to games, but also to Internet experience, communication etc. among young people.
In the studied information field, websites of an anti-civil orientation have appeared having important propaganda effect of extremist nature on young people, supported by recognized and completely scientific technique of neurolinguistic programming making youth completely dependent (materially and morally) on their headship, while parents and relatives lose their importance and as a result alienation occurs. For example, the study of the events of October 2005 in Nalchik, when armed youngsters attacked the law enforcement agency of the republic and there were wounded persons among the civilian population, showed that the society faced a “violent extreme adherence to the beliefs attributed by the emissaries and was implicated in a complete rejection of the established authority and order in the republic” (Lokova, 2007, p. 14).
The addiction to the Internet among young people as a social issue of modern communicative process in public space provoked new interest in the scientific field, resulting in particular concern in academic circles.
The subject of the study is the impact of digital transformation on the modern youth values in the context of financial and economic crisis all over the world.
Social impact analysis will reveal the main determinants of youth Internet addiction.
The analysis of the results of testing methods will promote the development of necessary preventive measures of health impact on the system of values of youth.
Purpose of the Study
The research purpose is to consider the social impact of digital transformation on the values of modern young people in terms of financial and economic crisis taking place all over the world.
A fairly large number of foreign studies are devoted to the studies of the Internet. They descrive the Internet from the point of view of sociology, psychology and philosophy (Young and Goldberg, Suler, Orzak, Grifiggs, Stern, Davis, Grohol, Morahan-Martin, Fenishel). In their work, they explored:
- physical and psychological symptoms, diagnostic criteria typical of Internet addiction;
- pathological Internet use and its cognitive and behavioral model;
- the possibility of the development of the Internet addiction based on other forms of addictive behavior.
Nevertheless, it is highly improbable that these studies will help to significantly clarify their specificity in relation to modern Russian youth. Therefore, the experience of Russia is of great importance for our study. The Internet addiction in Russia have been studied two decades ago. In this period of time, researchers found out their own criteria for this addiction. They studied the personality characteristics of Internet users and cultural characteristics of Russian-speaking users of the Internet. These are Russian scientists such as Voiskunsky, Zhichkina, Mendelevich, Egorov, Kuznetsova, Lisetsky, Chudova, Radionova, Loskutova, Spirkina and others.
At the same time, among practitioners and researchers of the theoretical aspects of this problem, the approaches to both prevention and treatment of young people addicted to social networks are not systematized in the works.
Moreover, in our opinion, the preventive measures must be developed with the consideration of the specific characteristics of regions.
Our study is aimed to study the social impact of digital technologies on the value system of today youth.
The conclusions and provisions of informatization theory and value-conscious adaptation form the theoretical and methodological basis of the study.
The content of the research methodology is in an integrated approach that allows realizing the possibilities to combine systemic, personality-oriented and axiological approaches.
The practical and theoretical importance of the study is presented by the fact that its results will allow better understanding of the degree of influence of the Internet on the values of today youth. The results revealed in the course of the analysis, as well as the peculiarities of the procedural nature of Internet addiction and its main dominants, will improve the development of effective preventive measures for a health-improving impact on the system of values of the younger generation.
For the purposes of the study, we used the testing methodology developed by Kimberly Young and adapted by the Russian researcher Loskutova The testing involved young people aged 16–20 from the entities of the North Caucasian Federal District: 59 people from the Kabardino-Balkarian Republic, 40 people from the Karachay-Cherkess Republic and 51 people living in the Caucasian Mineral Waters region.
We focus on individual test questions for more detailed clarification of the research results:
- The answers to the question “How often do you find that you stayed on the Internet longer than planned?” were as follows: 18.8 % – very rarely, 35.6 % – sometimes, 25.7 % – often, 7 .9 % – very often, 9.9 % – always.
- To the question “Is real communication with peers replaced by entertainment on the Internet?” the answers were: rarely – 46.5 %, sometimes – 28 %, often – 14.1 %, very often – 6.9 %, always – 4.5 %.
- The percent composition of responses to the question “How often does your academic performance or success in any activity depend on the use of the Internet?” was as follows: rarely – 58.4 %, sometimes – 28.7 %, often – 7.9 % of respondents, very often – 2.9 %.
- To the question “Do you feel depressed and low mood offline?” 70.2 % answered rarely, 15.8 %– sometimes, 5.9 % – often, 3.9 % – very often, 1.9 % – always.
- Moreover, they try to hide how long do they stay on the Internet: 61.3 % – very rarely, 27.7 % – sometimes, 2.9 % – often, 5.9 % – very often.
Generally, the research results showed that only 14.8 % of participants were aware of the presence of particular psychological and social problems, expressed in digital addiction. Currently, disapproval from the elders. The social and ethnic peculiarities of the North Caucasus region because of the excessive use of devices are seen everywhere (media, schools, universities) and even more in families. It is rightly to suppose that youngsters who are aware of their addiction to social nets and the Internet, can hide it because they understand that they will be disapproved.
Each individual has his own special value orientations. They can be weak, strong, approved or rejected by specific social institutions. The existing and clearly determined value attitudes appear only as dominant elements in the mind of an educated and adult person. As the experience of past shows, bans can not change anything. Youth is always hard on imposed authorities and ideals. Firstly, this attitude is transformed into a hidden and then into a public social protest.
We suppose that it is possible both to pay attention to this problem and try to study it deeply and superficially assess its impact on the life of society. For us, this problem is a socio-philosophical one, as it relates to the fact that youth prefer the online world to the real world in the totality of their personal and social obligations. The process of socio-philosophical analysis results in the need to clarify the ontological basis of all types of social protest.
In our opinion, the central category is the alienation category, first put forward by Hegel. It was introduced as a result of the distinction between spirit existence and subject consciousnesses who comprehends this existence. Usually, alienation appears as the central issue of the implementation of the disappointment of personal hopes. The process of differentiation occurs in relation to the existence of a person, which enhances the motivated value choice of youth. For most of them, this is a factor of economic insecurity. As a result, the critical task of social and philosophical analysis is well-timed identification of the orientation of the development vectors (Zamorsky, 2013).
A family is more or less included in the social problems of society, and if the structure of a family is broken and, accordingly, as the first institution of the upbringing of an individual, it is not able to fulfill its functions, then the resulting tension within this small part of society suppresses parents, and they are not able to fulfill their duties and form a full member of society.
The residual principle of the formation of the youth policy of the state caused positive feedback among the youth. This is expressed in the growing nihilism of the young part of society. At the same time, the digital space has given young people the opportunity to be detached and selfish and depressive states and lack of adaptation to society are not so noticeable (Shogenov et al., 2017).
People born between the 20th and 21st centuries present the generation for which digital technologies and devices are a natural habitat. They are called “generation z” and “generation alpha”. They started using a tablet before they could read and write. For them, a conversation with a person takes place through an intermediary – a digital gadget, and the absence of a full range of incoming non-verbal signals makes it possible to manipulate them.
Recently “death groups” gained universal recognition, where we can regulate your own death using pictures with whales swimming in the ocean and supplemented by hashtags: “blue whale”, “wake me up at 4.20 in the morning”, “I'm playing”, “quiet house”. Milkus (2019), in his paper “The New Death Groups” on the Internet, Blue Whales Encourage Children to Suicide”, specifies that “when the wave of suicide games' subsides – and it will definitely subside – something else will appear, something it is just as thrilling and thrilling because of the proximity of danger”.
The problems within the framework of social measures aimed to prevent the side effects of the Internet impact on modern society is still relevant.
The solution of the above-mentioned problems makes it possible to formulate some provisions, which may generally cover the process of development of the Internet addiction among modern young people. First of all, it is the relationship within a family.
The personality and character are being formed in childhood and adolescence.
For those adolescents who have experienced problems with trust in them from their parents, and also faced with the indifference of adults, the neglect of the experience that parents convey and even the loss of the need to communicate with them are typical. It is at this stage that a system of values arises, which, under the influence of unfavorable factors, is detrimental to further development. There is also a downside – hyperprotection or “mother's love”, which brings suffering and grief to children, parents, and society in general (Nekrasov, 2007).
As a result of hyperprotection in childhood there are many infantile and shy people who are unable to make decisions and take responsibility for their life and actions. Their initiative or the desire for independence are not only suppressed, but also ignored or even punished. Hyperprotection is a destructive phenomenon that breaks any relationship between people. Such people have difficulties in the process of communication with outside world and people. They also have frequent conflicts with others. Therefore, this influence results in the formation of an individual characterized by a reduced sense of intrinsic value and affected identity.
Young people require psychological support and mainly the support of parents and family in general. A child develops harmoniously in a family with harmony. In a family a child receives help in social adaptation and gains confidence in success in the desired goals.
Independence should be the leading character trait of a young person. At the age when a person will need to make important decisions, his personality will be formed so that he will be able to sensibly assess his strengths and choose the right profession, so he will already have formed the right values.
We believe that modern society, due to the globalization of the digital space, is becoming a hostage to “trends” – a kind of digital fashion that most quickly strikes the minds of young people. The ability to follow these trends in the youth environment is considered an important skill.
Therefore, it can be concluded that such a small number of young people who recognize their Internet addiction, found in the course of testing, indicates not the absence of a problem as such, but their perception nature.
In educational institutions, it is necessary to take well-timed measures to prevent the Internet addiction of university and school students. These preventive measures must be primarily aimed at the formation of a conscious attitude towards the information flow use by young people, regulating the consumption of digital content. It is of paramount importance to provide knowledge about the mechanisms of the Internet influence on an individual, about the social impact of the Internet addiction development, as well as control over available information on the Internet. At the same time, it seems relevant to address the issue of banning websites developed by the representatives of destructive groups, recognized as dangerous and determined as a result of such control (Volkov, 2017).
The personal involvement of a young person in life processes plays a dominant role for this category. Leisure also influences the social characteristics of young people. However, during the socio-economic crisis, there are distortions in the opportunities for young people to realize their interests, which can be expressed, for example, in the appearance of Internet addiction (Vereshchagina et al., 2015).
Thus, the basis for the stable and sustainable society is the value attitudes of both a person and different social groups. Such ongoing processes as globalization and informatization which take place in the world update the problems of youth. These problems are interrelated and have objective nature. Modern youth is facing serious changes which affect all the spheres of society and lifestyle of a modern person in general. Youth acquires a living based on core values and a value system. During the analysis of the value system of modern youth, it is necessary to update highly effective behavioral strategies and personal resources, effective goal-setting skills, and the formation of an orientation towards the success of desired goals.
There is no doubt that at all the historical periods of human development, youth have played an extremely important role. That is why, the value picture of youth will always present the subject of disputes and discussions between authors, because they look to the future and are always more receptive to emerging innovations.
This research gives the grounds and prospects for further research of the impact of digital transformation and Internet addiction on the system of values of modern youth in general.
Lokova, M. Yu. (2007). Structural transformation of the value system of youth in the renewal of Russian society: Candidate dissertation thesis. Moscow.
Milkus, A. (2019). New “death groups” on the Internet: “Blue whales” encourage children to commit suicide”. https://www.stav.kp.ru/daily/26642.7/3660934/
Nekrasov, A. (2007). Maternal love. Amrita Publishing House.
Shogenov, M. Z., Gunya, A. N., Mashukov, H. V., Chechenov, A. M., & Chemaev, N. A. (2017). Institutions of civil society and civil participation in public opinion in the North Caucasus: on the example of Kabardino-Balkaria and Karachay-Cherkessia. Humanities of the South of Russia, 6(5), 232–245.
Vereshchagina, A. V., Gafatulina, N. K., Kumykov, A. M., Stepanov, O. V., & Samygin, S. I. (2015). Gender analysis of students' social health. Review of European Studies, 7(7).
Volkov, Yu. G. (2017). Sociology of the future: sociological knowledge and social project [Monograph]. KNORUS.
Zamorsky, V. V. (2013). The role of social networks in the value transformations of youth. Historical, philosophical, political and legal sciences, cultural studies and art criticism. Questions of theory and practice, 5(31). Diploma.
Zasursky, I. (2020). How students perceive the troika. Federal Reserve System Knowledge Banks. http://nooregistry.ru/news/sistema-troechnikov-budet-snesena
Zhilavskaya, I. V. (2008). Optimization of interaction of mass media and youth audience on the basis of media educational strategies and technologies. [PhD Dissertation]. Moscow.
About this article
23 December 2022
Print ISBN (optional)
Cite this article as:
Burakova, I. S., & Kontsevich, G. E. (2022). Impact Of Digital Transformation On Values Of Young People In A Crisis. In D. K. Bataev, S. A. Gapurov, A. D. Osmaev, V. K. Akaev, L. M. Idigova, M. R. Ovhadov, A. R. Salgiriev, & M. M. Betilmerzaeva (Eds.), Knowledge, Man and Civilization- ISCKMC 2022, vol 129. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 262-269). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2022.12.33