Computers have made our lives so much easier and productive. The internet provides speedy and convenient way to connect with each other and to access information wherever, whenever we need it.
However, the downside is that it has also led to internet or computer addiction. Some individuals get addicted to computer games, virtually living in a make-believe world.
I do get significant number of individuals who are addicted to the internet. Though I have been addressing substance abuse issues (alcoholism and drug abuse) for many years, I am now confronted by similarities in the conditions.
A client who has been coming for internet addiction wrote this for me when I asked him to describe his condition:
In 2007 I was 16 years of age, when the internet era hit me. It was a few years after the infamous Y2K virus allegedly hit the world.
One day I walked into an internet café near my college. I came across an internet café near my college, the cost per hour is 10rs. My pocket money was 10 Rupees per day with which I used to get a snack and a glass of milk. That day I went in gave the owner that 10 Rupees – and, for the love of God, the scrolling began.
Since that day, I think I might have achieved the Guinness world record for the most scrolls while browsing internet.
Today I am 25 I own my own high speed internet connection, my own network and also my own level of addiction towards the web. Now you don't need to know my name, All you got to do is keep reading, Just like the way you read the gossips, the way you read the searched articles after you type it on a Google page.
I never understood what addiction really means until my internet got disconnected for 5 minutes. I started sweating, my thoughts started to run like a train, just like the blood in my veins. I lit a smoke, sat on my chair waited for the light to come back. Half way through the cigarette I realised I had seen many visions, almost had a seizure…it felt like an hour but a half cigarette doesn’t burn for an hour. I feel very very anxious most of the time.Time seems to pass by in a flick when you browse but even 5 min would seem like an hour if you are offline. Today, I am in therapy.It is tough but working. That is the reality my friend…the harsh reality of virtual reality – (Anonymous Addict)
Internet Addiction – increasing among the young
According to some recent studies, internet addiction is very common among young children – actually every fourth child is addicted to the internet.
Internet is now available on mobile phones, making it easy and convenient to get hooked almost anywhere – at home or on the go.
Internet addiction manifest in several ways and has a wide ranging impact on the individual:
- Decreased human interaction. Too much surfing results in decreased productivity and interactions with family members.
- Compulsive online gaming,
- Trading and gambling often leads to overspending.
- Porn addiction. Too much of cybersex often leads to problems in real-life.
- Social media addiction. Excessive use of social networking sites creates real problems in actual relationships with family and friends.
Symptoms of internet addiction
Following are the typical emotional symptoms:
- Feeling guilty
- Being dishonest (lying about the online activity, etc.)
- Euphoric feelings when in front of the screen
- Unable to keep schedules
- No sense of time
- Avoiding doing work
- Relationship issues
Following are the physical symptoms of online addiction:
- Backache and stiff neck
- Weight gain or loss
- Sleep disturbances
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Blurred or strained vision
- Decrease in physical activities
- Growth issues in children
These are the most commonly observed adverse effects of internet addiction. If you, or someone you love, is getting sucked in by this growing problem, do get in touch with a professional counsellor.