Internet Addiction

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Internet use is inevitable, especially nowadays with increasingly higher percentage of population having access to super fast wireless and fibre broadband connections. It is impossible to banish internet completely from our lives, especially today. The problem arises when we cannot live a day without Internet access. More and more people are affected by Internet addiction. Experts estimate that up to 2 billion people may be addicted to the Internet. The question remains: at what point does normal internet use become an addiction?

What is internet addiction?

Internet addiction is often an underestimated problem, and it is all too easy to miss the early symptoms. What is internet  addiction?

As the name suggests, it is the excessive and compulsive use of the internet. The addict feels compelled to use the internet to the point of losing control.

Addicts can spend hours immersed in the virtual world, staring at a screen or phone all the time. After a while, the first problems appear:

anxiety

deterioration of social relationships

abandonment of hobbies and interests

irritability and low mood.

It is also worth mentioning FOMO, the fear of missing an important event or piece of information. This phenomenon is beginning to be called a 21st century disease and is becoming more common with the emergence of social networks and the development of the Internet.

It should also be noted that social drinking is a relatively new and growing phenomenon. Children and young people in particular are a major risk group, as they spend most of their time online. Internet addiction often affects young adults and single people.

Technological developments and the pandemic are not insignificant. For many, real life on the internet is just beginning. We need it to learn, work and grow. During the arrest, the internet was the only way to communicate with the outside world.

Symptoms of Internet addiction

Like any other addiction, internet addiction directly affects the quality of life and behaviour of the individual.

The addicted person starts using the internet more and more often and intensively.

Work and study become secondary. They become reluctant to socialise and, in extreme cases, even sleep becomes a problem. An Internet addict cannot imagine a day without the Internet. If for some reason they can’t use it, they become irritable.

One of the most worrying symptoms is the replacement of real relationships with virtual ones. Online activity becomes the only source of human contact, which can lead to serious problems making new friends in the real world. Instant messaging apps like WhatsApp and Messenger only make it easier to connect online. There’s nothing wrong with using them, but they’re no substitute for the traditional way of communicating with others.

Addicts turn to the internet to escape their problems, feelings and emotions. A phone or computer is the best way to escape stress. Every month they spend more and more time on the Internet to reach the same level of satisfaction as before.

Consequences of Internet addiction

Computer and internet addiction is a very serious addiction because it has consequences. Internet addiction affects physical and mental health. If left untreated, this addiction can lead to many serious consequences.

Consequences of Internet addiction

Effects on health :

Significantly altered mood, constant anxiety and feelings of fear, which can even lead to depression;

Reduced immunity and increased susceptibility to infections;

Sleep problems;

hyperactivity;

severe pain in the neck, spine, forearm and hands;

risk of so-called “follow-up epilepsy”.

Psychological and social effects

Social isolation and avoidance of strangers;

Persistent feeling of loneliness;

Neglect of peer and family relationships;

Loss of advantages.

Internet addiction in children

Children and adolescents are a high-risk group. Statistics show that 98% of teenagers use the Internet on a daily basis. Vulnerable, shy children with low self-esteem are especially prone to become addicted to the Internet, phones and computers. Even for adults, it is clear that it is much easier to create an artificial image and a better version of themselves online. This is one of the reasons why young users prefer the virtual world to the real one.

The Internet and computers are also an excellent source of entertainment. Access to social networks and games is not bad in itself, but you have to know your limits. Once you have crossed that line, it is much more difficult to return to the real world.

Internet abuse by children has real consequences for their personality formation and emotional development as adults. Parents should not underestimate this problem, and when Internet surfing becomes a problem, they should react immediately.

How to combat Internet addiction?

All addictions are difficult to tackle, and Internet addiction is no exception. The first, most basic and obvious step is to limit the time you spend on the Internet. This is a difficult step because it requires a lot of self-control on the part of the addict. Keeping the internet out of your life is not easy, but that is not the point: limiting it does not mean total isolation. Apps that monitor activity levels can help. Modern smartphones are often equipped with them, but there are similar apps on the market. These programmes can also be downloaded to your computer.

If someone close to you is abusing the Internet, you can – and should – try to help them. Shouting and threatening will not help.

The first step is to understand why the addict spends so much time on the Internet and to make them see that they have a problem.

Our goal hould be to establish rules that systematically reduce the time spent online.

The alternative, and often the only solution, is to seek specialised help. If you do not know a therapist then you can use help from professional Internet Service Provider like Atlantek Computers, who can connect you with a person that can help. A therapist will be able to determine exactly why the addict is turning to the virtual world and apply appropriate methods to combat the addiction. In many cases, seeking specialised help is a necessary step in overcoming

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