In today’s tech-oriented society, and especially among college students, it can be hard to differentiate between regular Internet usage and a genuine addiction. After all, many people can hardly survive an evening without checking Facebook or peeking at Twitter on their mobile phones. Internet addiction is a very real concern, however, and it can have lasting consequences for sufferers. Here are a few of the most prevalent types of addiction:
• Cybersex addiction; users might be addicted to pornography or adult chat rooms as well
• Cyber-relationship addiction; people who forge tight bonds with virtual or online friends at the expense of real-life relationships may face this addiction
• Compulsive behavior; addicts may be unable to stop gambling, playing games or bidding in online auctions
• Information overload; some people may become so absorbed in surfing the Internet that their productivity and family relationships suffer.
How to Identify an Addiction
There is a fine line between addiction and an Internet-focused lifestyle. If online behaviors have a negative impact on a person’s real life, then those behaviors may be part of an addiction. For example, a person may miss work in order to get online. Alternatively, a person’s personal relationships might suffer if he is searching for intimacy through online relationships and cybersex rather than interpersonal relations in real life.
There are several other prevalent signs of an addiction:
• A person attempts to stop Internet usage unsuccessfully
• He lies about his Internet usage to friends, family or therapists
• He looks forward to his next Internet usage and plans his day around getting online
• He becomes irritable when separated from the Internet for any period of time
• He uses the Internet as a way to avoid or escape real-life concerns or issues
Any time a behavior interferes with a person’s regular life, it causes harm. If you or someone you know is suffering from Internet addiction, it may be time to call a therapist. Working with a trained professional can help you identify ways to reduce your Internet usage or avoid behaviors that are addictive until you’re able to get them under control.
Some Internet addiction programs focus on limiting time spent online and pursuing other activities instead. Even people who are not addicted could certainly benefit from pursuing outside interests to help encourage physical well-being and healthy relationships. For severe cases, rehabilitation centers exist that allow individuals to recover form Internet addiction without the stress or temptation of daily life interfering.
About the Guest Blogger
Richard Barnes is a tech savvy writer. He’s currently planning to take an online course in political management masters programs.