The Impact of Covid-19 Lockdown on Internet Usage
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Even before the government implemented a lockdown to stop the spread of COVID-19, research have shown that most people utilize social media and the internet to cope with low mood and challenging thoughts as a sort of escapism (Király et al., 2020). Escapism is a type of avoidant coping that aims to alleviate stress by leaving unsatisfactory living conditions (Gurbuz, & Ozkan, 2019). According to this study, people use social media platforms like Instagram as a type of escapism. Furthermore, recent studies have shown an increase in nomophobia in Turkish youths (Durak, 2019; Gurbuz & Ozkan, 2020), also known as the fear of being without a mobile phone, a term coined by YouGov UK in response to increased reports of anxiety disorders in the UK as a result of smartphone overuse. According to Gao & colleagues (2017), escapism is associated with social media and internet addiction.
The Internet is a system architecture that has transformed communications and business by allowing computer networks all over the world to communicate with one another. The Internet, also known as a “network of networks,” was first established in the United States in the 1970s but did not become widely known until the early 1990s.
The Internet is also a tremendously beneficial network that allows individuals to discuss information and share their emotions. It aids human contact through social media, electronic mail (e-mail), and it enables people to collaborate in a variety of settings. During the spread of a pandemic known as Covid-19 in 2020, the entire world ran most activities using the internet.
However, because of the severity and broad nature of Coronavirus (COVID-19), most governments throughout the world implemented lockdown measures to limit the virus’s transmission; thus, this scenario demonstrated how critical it is for everyone to have access to reliable and robust digital infrastructure (Adeola 2020). According to Kenneth (2020), the implementation of Covid-19 limits around the world had a significant impact on Internet traffic since a greater number of individuals are online more frequently and for longer periods of time. Previously, there was a significant difference in the amount of data flow between weekdays and weekends.
According to Peter (2020), movement restrictions resulted in increased Internet usage and network traffic, reflecting an increase in distant working, learning, video conferencing, and other online activities.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
In the year 2020, a unique virus (COVID-19) pandemic occurred in a way that the world had never seen before. The virus’s human-to-human transmission rates are not only surprising and concerning, but the respiratory problems and unwavering deaths it has caused have sparked global worry. To combat the spread of this Virus among the population, most governments around the world implemented social separation and lockdown measures, among other preventive measures (Gurbuz, & Ozkan, 2019). As a result of the shutdown, many businesses, institutions, and other types of organizations conducted much of their operations through the internet, while individuals used the internet for leisure and communication with others. This massive amount of attention and interaction on the internet has inversely boosted the pace of internet data usage.
However, the affordability and availability of access to the internet around the world is linked to a number of health issues. The pathological use of the internet, or internet addiction, has been proven to influence sleep quality, with internet dependency being significantly associated with sleep deprivation (Xanidis & Brignell, 2016). Anxiety and depression are regularly associated to online addiction; for example, in adolescents, internet addiction predicted not just social anxiety and sadness, but also self-esteem (Tian, Qin, Cao, & Gao, 2020). Adolescents’ harmful internet use has been found to promote loneliness over time (Yao & Zhong, 2014). According to Yao and Zhong (2014), internet addiction is a technique for reducing loneliness, social anxiety, and depression, with pathological internet use manifesting as a result of depression.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The primary objective of this study is to evaluate the impact of covid-19 lockdown on internet usage. Specifically, the study will focus on:
- To examine the extent at which the internet was used during the lockdown.
- To determine the extent at which the usage of internet during covid-19 lockdown affected mental health.
iii. To ascertain the extent at which the usage of internet during the lockdown affected social health.
1.4 RESEAECH QUESTIONS
The following research questions will guide this study.
- To what extent was the internet used during the lockdown?
- To what extent was mental health affected by the usage of internet during the covid-19 lockdown?
iii. To what extent was social life affected by the usage of internet during the covid-19 lockdown?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The study’s findings will be extremely valuable to the government, organizations, and individual business owners because they highlight the enormous role and relevance of the internet in their many lines of operation. It will also be beneficial to the health and psychology professionals as the study will reveal the effects of internet usage on health and social life during the covid 19 lockdown.
Additionally, this research work will be beneficial to scholars and students as it will be added to existing materials on this topic and also serve as a future reference and used for further research.
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study will be focused on evaluating the impact of covid-19 lockdown on internet usage. It will also be specifically focused on examining the extent at which the internet was used during the lockdown, determining the extent at which the usage of internet during covid-19 lockdown affected mental health and ascertaining the extent at which the usage of internet during the lockdown affected social health.
This study will be using selected residents of Port-harcourt, Rivers State as enrolled participants for the survey.
1.7 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
This study will be limited to the evaluation of the impact of covid-19 lockdown on internet usage. It will also be specifically limited to examining the extent at which the internet was used during the lockdown, determining the extent at which the usage of internet during covid-19 lockdown affected mental health and ascertaining the extent at which the usage of internet during the lockdown affected social health.
This study will be using selected residents of Port-harcourt, Rivers State as enrolled participants for the survey. This serves as a delimitation to this study as more research is needed to be carried out if the results of this study is to be used in any other part of the country.
In addition, there was the element of researcher bias. Here, the researcher possessed some biases that may have been reflected in the way the data was collected, the type of people interviewed or sampled, and how the data gathered was interpreted thereafter. The potential for all this to influence the findings and conclusions could not be downplayed.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Impact: a marked effect or influence
Covid-19: also known as corona-virus), which is spread primarily by contact with infectious material (such as respiratory droplets) or infected materials or surfaces. It is characterized by fever, cough, and shortness of breath, which can lead to pneumonia and respiratory failure.
Internet: a global computer network providing a variety of information and communication facilities, consisting of interconnected networks using standardized communication protocols.
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