Are you a CYBER JUNKY? Spending a lot of time on the NET…………….social networking sites, online games, Holly-bollywood cinema, you tube videos, porn sites, yahoo-google chat, cricket, tv online, video games,…….list goes endless. No doubt, the Internet has changed the leisure habits of men and women — and even today’s kids. Too much of anything is bad, and such is the case with what we call it “Pathological.” This modern technology dependence is considered along the same lines as Schizophrenia & depression.
Spending too much time online is a daily reality. But just how much time online is overload? That’s tough to answer. Time alone is not necessarily an indicator of cyber addiction, as it has to be looked at in the context of work, school or recreational activities.
Is spending time online gets to the point that of disrupting sleep, work or domestic bliss, however, that is a clear indicator of “too much.” According to the Center For online Addiction, there are five distinct forms of cyber addiction, and identifying the particular type of addiction is central to breaking the cycle of dependence. It is a Obsessive-Compulsive phenomenon. The hidden anxiety relieved only momentarily by a compulsive action & it continues as a cycle of obsession.
Internet addiction is a new & fast growing pandemic of the 21st Century. The most well known Internet addiction is “cyber sexuals,” afflicting people who continually engaged in viewing, downloading and trading online pornography or are involved in adult fantasy role-play chat rooms.
Similarly, “cyber-relational” or “chat room” addicts become overly involved in online relationships & may engage in virtual adultery is v.common in the West. For these people, online friends quickly become more important than real-life relationships with family and friends. In many instances, this can lead to marital discord and family instability.
“Net gaming” addicts are obsessed with online gambling, games, shopping, banking, auctions or stock trading. This type of compulsive behavior can be one of the most damaging, as it often results in significant financial loss or excessive spending. Other types of basic computer addiction include endlessly habitual tweaking of settings, file management, database search and other administrative computer functions.
How & Why this addiction? Who are at risk? Many people turn to the Internet in order to manage unpleasant feelings such as stress, loneliness, depression, and anxiety. People who lack family / social support, teens & those in troubled unhappy relationships, other addicts – alcoholics, smokers, sex-drug-gambling addicts are all at risk. Internet is an easily accessible outlet for these people. Losing yourself online can temporarily make one’s awry feelings evaporate. But reality is that it is only short lived & vicious. There are much healthier & more effective ways to keep such inner feelings in check & may include exercise, meditation, outdoor sports & other sensory relaxation strategies. Let us look at the psychological vicious cycle of an addiction pathway -
The implications of such addiction can land one in both psychological & physical symptoms. It could be from a simple craving to use the net, feeling of wellbeing, long hours of unstoppable networking to even neglecting family, friends to even food & sleep. One can develop serious feelings of emptiness, depression or irritable while away from the net. Physically, one can land up in musculoskeletal problems of backache & arthritis, eye sight problems, sleep disturbances, losing or putting too much weight & prone for nervousness & migraines.
Tips for dealing with Internet addiction:
For many people, an important aspect of overcoming Internet and computer addiction is to find alternate ways to handle these difficult feelings. While professional guidance is always the best way to treat any psychological or physical issue, there are steps you can take to combat your own Internet abuse or the cyber addiction of a friend or loved one. Identify your weakness – develop coping skills – strengthen your support network. University of California, San Francisco lays following guidelines:
-Ask yourself, “What am I missing out on when I spend so much time on the Internet?” Write down these activities and decrease your Internet time to pursue some of them.
-To begin with, try keeping yourself busy in other activities — read a book, phone a friend, exercise, shop… or just take off from the computer friend & go outdoors for a fresh air walk. Stay connected to the offline world.
-Another way to control Internet addiction is to use the computer as part of your recovery & only as a tool. Whenever you’re online, use a productivity time tracking program to log your activity, and stick with a strict, time-limiting regimen. Take frequent breaks away from your friend & do other activities.
-Strengthen your support network – real life relationships, sports partners, library/ books, seek out friends & acquaintances to resist the urge of spending time online.
-For children/ teens – Parental control, restrictions on the use, encouraging sports & other outdoor social activities & counseling by parents are of much value
-For some people, total abstinence may be a reasonable cure, but that may not be a practical option if your work or school requires online activity. In this case, the best solution to fight cyber addiction could be a step-by-step recovery program, which may likely mean professional assistance.
Remember, the computer will always be there for you when you’re ready, and the Internet is always available, but that doesn’t mean you have to be!
Tags: Online addiction, psychology & measures