It’s available 24 hours a day. It brings you up-to-date news, music, entertainment, and media of every kind. It can connect you to the world and educate you about the universe. You can talk, email, create projects and play games with people from around the world with the Internet.
It’s easy to see what makes the Internet so addictive. With new features being introduced every day, the Internet has become as much as, and even more so, a part of daily American life. But how do you know when your Internet connection has taken over your life?
Signs and Symptoms of Internet Addiction
Internet addiction may not be as easy to spot as other addictive behaviors, simply because most of us need access to the Internet for communication, work, and studies. Here are some symptoms that you may have a problem:
- Feelings of anxiety and irritability when you cannot get online or be connected through your computer, phone, or another device
- Staying on the Internet instead of sleeping or working (this includes online gaming)
- You try to quit or cut back on Internet use, but you can’t
- Loss of relationships or jobs because of Internet use
- Using the Internet when you should be working or dealing with problems or responsibilities
- Physical changes such as backaches, stiffness, carpal tunnel syndrome, Vitamin D deficiency, pale skin, or malnutrition
- You may lie to others about your Internet use
Types of Internet Addiction
There are many ways to become addicted to the internet. Because the Internet brings us so much, every internet addiction is different from the last.
Some examples of specific Internet addictions include:
Chat Room and Social Networking Addiction: This can include an addiction to talking to others online or using popular sites like Facebook or MySpace constantly. Talking online can be easier than talking with others face-to-face. If you find it easier to send text messages instead of talking, or emailing or chatting online feels safe but talking in person makes you anxious, this may be an issue for you.
Online Gambling Addiction: There are thousands of online gambling websites available. If you can’t stop placing bets or you have lost money and sleep by gambling online, this may be an issue.
Internet Pornography Addiction: This growing addiction is plaguing thousands of American families each year. With the thousands of pornography sites, chatrooms, and online ads available, the temptation can be overwhelming. This addiction rarely stops at online pornography and usually grows into a person’s everyday life if left untreated. This addiction often leads to online affairs as well.
Online Shopping and eBay Addiction: Winning a bid can be a thrill for anyone. When this addiction wipes out your savings and interferes with your ability to care for yourself and your family, it is time to seek help.
Online Gaming Addiction: Fans of games such as World of Warcraft enjoy their games so much that it can be very hard to stop playing. If you are losing sleep, neglecting your family, or simply cannot stop playing, it is time to seek help from an outside source.
Compulsive Internet Surfing: The Internet is a truly interesting place. You may find everything in one location. Movies, news, articles, and humor are right at your fingertips. But if you cannot stop surfing and find yourself staying awake for long hours after you planned to stop, it may be a problem.