University Students' Metaphorical Perceptions of "Internet" Concept
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Today internet has become the most important tool for communicating and sharing. Internet use patterns and internet environment have expanded so much that this situation has affected many aspects of human life. This effect can be felt at every moment of life. Especially significant increase in social media use in human life has made this effect more explicit. Naturally, the opportunities and the environment that internet provides have led to many positive changes in human life and caused an improvement in the quality of life. However, problems arising from unhealthy internet use have expanded more and more and also brought new debates. Thus, internet addiction concept has become an important phenomenon nowadays. Relatedly, being healthy internet users has become crucial for young adults with higher internet use rates in terms of their mental health and healthy development. Because of this, there is a big necessity to determine the meaning and the importance of the internet concept in young adults' lives. The current study which was carried out with 168 students aims to reveal these university students' metaphorical perceptions of the internet concept. In this study that was conducted by qualitative research method, the students were asked to complete the statement "Internet is like... because...". In this context, the data was thematized through content analysis. The findings of the study have indicated that the participants used totally 81 metaphors for Internet concept. These metaphors were categorized under six different themes according to their common characteristics. These themes were determined as "Internet as a tool for acquiring information", "Internet as an environment that includes everything", "Internet as an environment that makes you a loser", "Internet as an indispensable tool", "Internet as a relieving environment" and "Internet as a beneficial tool if it is used correctly".