“The only difference between technology and slavery is that slaves are fully aware they are not free” Nassim Nicholas.
Since its initial arrival in the average household, the internet has become a very widely exercised source of communication. At any given moment, there is an endless amount of information streaming through internet accessible computers. The chance to interact with other people is another tempting feature of the internet. Internet addiction has become an exceedingly negative power in today’s culture. Unfortunately, with this new commodity, also comes the possibility of abuse and addiction because internet not only snatches your time but it also teaches you attention deficiency.
Internet addiction is defined as any online-related, compulsive behavior which interferes with normal living, so much that it becomes the center of one’s life and causes severe stress on family, friends and one’s work environment. It can also be called “internet dependency or internet compulsivity”. Several causes could be to blame, but one of the most widely believed theories is that of a personality disorder. Certain people are predisposed to having an internet addiction, such as those who suffer from anxiety and depression. Their lack of emotional support means they turn to the internet to fill this need. There are also of those who have other types of addiction such as addiction to alcohol, drugs, sex and gambling. Even being stressed and unhappy can contribute greatly to the development of internet addiction. People who are overly shy and cannot really relate to their peers are also at a higher risk of developing internet addiction.
There are different forms of addiction involved with over-use of internet, and it is essential to identify the category. Most of the times, internet addiction is characterized by a compulsive desire to interact online through cybersex, gambling, gaming, social networking and compulsive surfing. Internet addiction can be manifested in both physical and emotional symptoms. Internet addiction can be diagnosed with some symptoms which include:
- compulsive urge internet for increased amount of time to achieve browsing satisfaction.
- Staying online for more time than you have decided to.
- If you have trouble focusing on regular work or you have found that your online time has made you slack on the daily task.
People who spend hours on the internet start to see some negative effect in their lives. Addiction comes out as a compulsive need to engage in an activity that poses threat to other area of life. The idea of internet addiction seems to be silly, especially in those who do not have any kind of disorder. The effect of internet addiction trend to become apparent with time. Some of the possible effects of internet addiction are:
- When someone is immersed in online activities for a longer period, it means they are not interested in real world activities. The changes become more apparent in terms of relationship with friends, family and beloved ones. Similarly, continuous web surfing can cause threat to close relationships. Loss of relationship in person’s life results in loss of self-identity and connection with life.
- The effects of internet addiction results in lack of social interaction which can have effect on the physical and mental condition such as loneliness and depression. Depressed people may use internet as a self-medication to feel better, as it allows them to ignore the problems they are currently facing.
- People suffering with internet addiction remain online just to avoid some important activities. Surfing aimlessly or playing games for hours wastes a lot of precious time. Internet addicts are wrapped up with online activities and fail to notice that how time has gone by.
- The advent of social media has created an obsession to share personal life with the world. People expect others to drop everything to respond to a text or email.
Besides the above effects, internet addicts may notice decreased level of personal hygiene. They hardly care about their looks and tend to feel zoned out after several hours of internet usage. Some people even develop poor eyesight issues due to prolonged hours in front of computer.
Certain strategies can be used to curb the internet usage. They include:
- Start by limiting when you will allow yourself to use the internet, such as by keeping diary of your internet use and specifying when you will allow yourself to log on.
- You can also reduce temptation to go online by shutting the device, putting the devices in another room to charge or unplugging your internet connection.
- Developing healthy habit can also help you to cut back on your internet use and feel better overall.
It’s not easy to change ingrained habits and it can be hard to break free from the familiarity of the internet. But by focusing on the goals you want to achieve and putting a plan in place, you can avoid backsliding into old habits.