When the internet becomes more than just a tool and you find yourself spending more time online than off, it may be time to consider that you may have a problem. Here are some symptoms and tips for internet and computer addiction.
Spending time online can be hugely productive, but when internet usage becomes compulsive and begins to affect your daily life perhaps it’s time to take a step away from the monitor. When gaming or surfing begins to negatively impact relationships and you find yourself more comfortable with online friends than those around you every day, it may be time to consider that you might just be addicted to the internet.
Internet addition is also known as computer addiction, online addiction, or internet addiction disorder (IAD). It is more than just using the internet too much. Instead it is about being on the internet despite the negative consequences this brings to your life. It can cover a wide variety of issues, all of which are related in some way to problems of impulse-control. Internet addiction includes the following:
- Cybersex Addiction – compulsively using internet pornography, adult role-playing sites, or adult chat rooms even though these acts impact negatively on real-life intimate relationships.
- Cyber Relationship Addiction – Compulsive use of social networking, instant messaging, chat rooms, and other means of computer communication until online friends become more important than real-life relationships with friends and family.
- Information Overload – Compulsive web or database searching which results in lower productivity at work and less social interaction with family and friends.
- Net Compulsions – Compulsive use of online gaming, gambling, stock trading, or online auction sites, resulting in problems at work or other financial issues.
- Computer Addiction – Compulsive playing of computer games offline or obsessive computer programming.
Healthy vs. Unhealthy Internet Use
Today the internet can be accessed through a variety of devices. We are no longer tethered to our desktops and, thereby, limited to the amount of time we can spend on the internet. The internet provides a dynamic and constant source of entertainment, information, and communication. The question is how much is too much?
The amount of internet usage will, of course, differ from person to person. You may work in an environment that requires extensive use of the internet or you may use social networking at a means of staying in contact with family and friends on a regular basis. Internet usage becomes a problem when it causes you to neglect relationships, work, school, finances or other important things in life.
Signs of Internet of Computer Addiction
· Losing track of time online
· Having trouble completing tasks at work or at home that are not related to the computer or internet.
· Isolation from friends and family
· Feeling a sense of euphoria while involved in internet activities
· Feeling defensive or guilty about you internet usage
Some physical symptoms may include:
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Dry eyes or strained vision
- Back aches, neck aches or severe headaches
- Sleep disturbances
- Pronounced weight gain or weight loss
Tips for Dealing with Internet Addiction:
- Become aware of what you are missing out on when you spend so much time on the internet. Write down the activities that you didn’t get done and decrease your internet time to pursue them.
- Set internet goals and stick to them. For example, make a point of taking frequent breaks, at least five minutes every hour, to do other activities.
- Change up your routine. Make limits on your internet usage. For example, if you normally spend evenings online, limit yourself to mornings only.
- Hang out with friends who are not into the internet like you are. Stay connected to offline friends and activities. Remember, there’s a whole world offline.