The internet has become very important today, becoming an endless source of information, a necessary tool for work and business, a way of obtaining new knowledge, as well as a way to spend free time and communicate. The benefits and advantages of the internet are countless, as it’s a part of the lives of many people; however, in this article we are going to discuss the negative consequences of its use, more exactly internet addiction.
Specialists in psychology have concluded that internet addiction is a mental disorder that is accompanied by certain behavioral problems. However, one cannot talk about a diagnosis called internet addiction in medical terms, but can refer to mental disorders that appear due to the obsessive habit of surfing the web. They compared this phenomenon with the addiction to food and alcohol. The studies made so far have confirmed their suspicions regarding the fact that the excessive desire to surf the web both during the day and the night can turn to be obsessive.
Causes of internet addiction
- The desire to communicate without interruptions in social networks, forums and chat rooms is the most common form of internet addiction. This type of communication can make one delve in a virtual world which replaces the circle of friends from daily life, but is characteristic for those people that want to socialize with other people and make new acquaintances.
- In teenagers, this addiction is explained by hormonal changes in the organism. They go through a difficult period in which they prefer communication with the opposite sex on the internet to direct communication.
- The constant need for a flux of information is another cause that makes a person surf the web incessantly. Thus, one gets to read a lot of pieces of information that are not significant or relevant and go from one website to another, reading comments and articles, reaching an excess of information.
- The obsession or the constant need to watch pornographic images or videos can make on losing hours at a time, thus getting addicted to the internet. People that have this type of dependence reach certain behavioral problems when connecting to real people – family, friends, children and colleagues from work.
- Addiction to online games is the most severe. The person can end up sitting in front of the computer for hours at a time, playing games without a break, in order to escape boredom or to fill the void in one’s life. This addiction stimulates the desire to be the first and the best. Some players are so engrossed that they spend money in order to improve certain characters and reach the superior levels of the game. Thus, virtual supremacy will be simpler to fulfill, even if not completely, unlike the one in real life.
- Downloading video and audio materials continuously from torrents in order to make one’s own databases another type of internet addiction.
- The obsession of buying all sorts of products presented online, of buying thing auctioned on the internet or to follow all sorts of trips and offers presented on certain websites can also become an obsession, thus leading to internet addiction.
- Addiction to online gambling is similar to the regular addiction to conventional paid games. Thousands of users enter online casino websites everyday and get to suffer the same consequences like those who go to regular casinos. Their higher availability makes their attraction be bigger, thus leading to addiction.
Internet addiction affects both men and women, young and adults, their number growing year after year.
Symptoms of internet addiction:
- The person feels an intense joy when accessing the internet and is very accessible when lacking access due to lack of signal or a power outage.
- One checks his/her email frequently and the social network pages.
- One stays for hours on the internet and forgets other tasks: paying taxes, aspects related to work, personal business, even food.
- One forgets about the notion of time, by playing games, chatting or browsing web pages every day, even at night.
- One spends a lot of money on constant updates and also for buying some software programs and hardware devices.
- The impact of the information on the internet can affect one psychologically, reducing wellness. This turns into a mixture of negative emotions, like anxiety, fury and sadness.
- Prolonged sitting in front of the computer affects the person from a physiological point of view. Slowly, one starts having eye and articulation pain, suffering from insomnia and lack of appetite.
- One has memory problems and thus insomnia is installed.
- Those who work by using a computer can suffer due to the carpal tunnel syndrome (at the wrist) or start to have blurry eyesight.
- Also, sitting in front of the computer for a long time represent a sedentary lifestyle that can lead to affections of the articulations and the spine. Thus, one can develop quite severe diseases: osteoarthritis, scoliosis, the degenerative disease of the discs, arrhythmia, tachycardia, leg varicose, hypertension and others.
How to treat internet addiction:
In certain countries internet addiction is considered to be a disease and its treatment involves very radical methods. In 2005, patients that had such symptoms were administered electric shocks in the clinics in China. However, most medics in the world cannot agree with such a treatment as it is brutal and can lead to psychological trauma, especially in children; however, many countries on the globe still use it. Also, other methods are used: acupuncture, special physical exercises and medicines.
Today, certain centers use treatments adapted to computer addiction, such as: psychotherapy, psychopharmacotherapy, giving medicines against states of anxiety and depression.
- The person that is addicted to the internet has to be determined to acknowledge the fact that he/she has a problem and thus will be convinced to escape from it. For this purpose, one can appeal to a psychologist.
- A young person that is addicted to the internet should be convinced to take a course, start practicing a sport, read a book or take up a hobby.
- An adult needs to take new interests, like solving existential problems, spending spare time with family and friends etc.
Those that use the internet for work need to make many breaks. Even if the work time will be prolonged, it is necessary to make more breaks in order to rest one’s eyes and mind.
- Don’t eat food while using the computer; make a break to eat and relax.
- The list of reasons not to use the internet excessively can help.
- The sleep hours need to be respected, as it’s not indicated to stay on the internet, both during the day and the night.