The Internet is an essential part of 21st-century life. From making friends and connections to keeping up with the world, there’s a generation who grew up never knowing a world before the Internet. Many people use the Internet to make a living, making it even more essential.
However, we all know it’s possible to develop an internet addiction. From social media to gambling, it’s possible to be on there too long and let it ruin your life. However, when we are always looking at our phones, the line between normal use and addiction becomes blurry. This post hopes to clarify what internet addiction is and what can be done about it.
What is It?
Surprisingly, internet addiction is not an official disorder on the DSM-5. However, one doesn’t need a DSM to discuss addiction, and Internet addiction is complex.
One reason for its complexity is that there are so many ways to be addicted. You can be addicted to online gaming and online gambling. You can have an addiction to internet pornography. Perhaps the biggest growing concern is social media addiction, where one spends hours on Facebook, Twitter, or other sites.
The bigger problem is that it’s hard to say how much time is excessive. There are guidelines for minors, which state under 2 hours of screen time a day, but nothing for adults. Not to mention, what minor is following those guidelines?
Many kids love to watch shows on TV and the Internet. They also love playing video games. As for teens, they are in the same boat. However, many teens also have phones and social media, and living teen life is difficult without screens.
As mentioned, there’s nothing for adults, but here, the two-hour limit is even more of a joke. For adults, two hours is very little, especially for those who work online.
It’s Just Like Any Other Addiction
Because of its nature, Internet addiction can be hard to determine. However, if you follow the rules of any other addiction, you can realize if someone has it. These include:
- Being unable to curb one’s time online. If one is off the internet, they feel anxious. You may also feel depressed or angry if you cannot be on the internet.
- People bring you being on your phone or computer too much.
- You feel guilty for being online too much.
- You don’t feel satisfied being online, and you want to be online even more.
Also, just like any other addiction, there are going to be several side effects, too.
However, as we said, the line becomes increasingly blurry as tech marches on. There are plenty of people easily distracted by social media, but they may live normal lives. Everyone seems to have a slight Internet addiction, and Internet addiction nowadays just may cover the extreme cases.
It Covers Other Addictions, Too
Smartphone addiction, video game addiction, and TV addiction are all connected to the Internet nowadays. You may stream shows, play online games, and use your phone with the Internet. This can make the line a little bit blurrier, and you may end up with multiple addictions as a result.
Besides withdrawal symptoms, Internet addiction can have several side effects. These include:
- Being unable to have interpersonal relationships outside of the Internet. You may become distant to the people who you love.
- You may end up spending money if your online addiction involves payment.
- From staying up too late to having too much blue light, you could have difficulties sleeping. It’s important to get off the computer an hour before bed and do something else.
- You avoid enjoying other parts of life as well. You’re unable to go outside or live your life to the fullest.
What Can We Do?
With the Internet, we’ve let the genie out of the bottle. Most of us cannot live without the Internet, so it can be difficult to curb one’s addiction.
However, we need to try the best we can. If you or a loved one has a suspected addiction, therapy is one such solution. Talking to a health professional can curb your addiction. A therapist may teach you cognitive behavioral therapy, which can help you break the chain between impulsive actions and thoughts that contribute to you being on the Internet.
Medication may help as well. Internet addiction may be a product, or contribute to, depression. An antidepressant may help in this situation.
Ironically, there are many online health services that can help those who may have an Internet addiction. Online therapy is one such example. So is being diagnosed through an online website. For example, if you suspect you may have an Internet addiction, you can click here to learn more.
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