For many people Internet is unavoidable tool for work, entertainment or socializing. Unfortunately, this limitless source of information and fun can lead to excessive usage, even addiction.
What amount of time spent online is considered healthy and normal? That is very tough question; concerning that Internet usage and reasons for spending time online are different from person to person – whether you are in a business that requires gathering of information, using Internet to communicate with large number of distant contributors or using it just for fun.
Public opinion says that you have problem when time spent online starts to affect your offline life, no matter if it is 2, 8, 16 hours, or if you literally sleep in front of the computer. Don’t think that sitting in the front of your PC is the only way to be online, we now have smart phones and alike gadgets that can be used to fully interact with online materials (chatting, emailing, etc. )
Types of online addictions
Addiction to social networks
Social networks like Facebook and Twitter –ideal place where you can always find new people, communicate with old friends; faster and easier add news and pictures. Getting acquainted is much quicker, usual formalities are not necessary, and in virtual world everyone can present himself in any way he likes – fake pictures and identities are commonly used. Almost always it is possible to find someone available for chat, no matter what time of day or night it is. It is also easy to become famous. On the Internet everyone is equal. Skin color, age and appearance are irrelevant. Having this benefit of being something more than you are in real life, being able to communicate with your friends all the time, makes Addiction to social networks number one on the list of possible addictions.
Addiction to online activities
Name it gambling, auctions, web shopping, seeking for news or role-playing – online activities of this kind can be best described as addictions: in extreme cases offline life can start spinning around life online – work, duties, social contacts, sleep – all becomes neglected because of spending more and more time on the Internet.
While gambling and betting is usually associated with real-life addictions, online games are harder to explain. In most cases there is feeling of belonging (MMORPG player clans) and wish to compete with others or help them (example is Farmville - players advance by helping each other). Opposed to other PC games, most of online games do not have an end. Advancing goes forever and goals are to make more points / tokens / to upgrade ones avatar. This addiction scores good second place on the list of all possible addictions since it gives you power to be something more than you can ever be in real life.
Internet is ultimate resource for knowledge craving individuals. However, if the desire to learn becomes a state of constant searching, and if you can catch yourself investigating irrelevant information, we are talking about addiction to surf. Addicted person reads and investigates everything, without connection to his usual interests; every new page brings new information and new links which have to be investigated further. It is not rare that, when one tries “just shortly check something”, he stays online for hours, ending at totally unrelated page, without even finding initial information.
Cyber sex addiction
Constant browsing and watching new *** ographic material is basis to whole industry on Internet. With relatively easy access, anonymity and privacy of home, connected with this online services, offline relationships are common victims.
Signs of Internet addiction
- Distancing from family and friends
- Loosing time consciousness online
- Neglecting appearance, bad results at work, neglecting sleep
- Guilt feeling about time spent online
- Forgetting priorities while on Internet