Internet addiction is an uncontrollable desire to stay online as much as possible. This desire can be compared to other addictions like drugs and gambling. One of the most common explanations of internet addiction is that users and most especially teenagers tend to get emotionally attached or connected to their online friends and online activities. Most internet users may thoroughly enjoy the aspects of the internet that make it possible to meet, hang out and exchange ideas. Others will get addicted to research and blogging. Unfortunately, experts have concluded that internet addicts are just trying to get the attention and human connection they are missing from the real world.
Internet addiction is also sometimes referred to as online addiction, computer addiction or internet addiction disorder (IAD). This type of addiction could take the form of any or all of the following:
- Cyber-sex addiction – cyber-sex addiction is the obsessive use of internet pornography, adult fantasy role-playing sites and adult chat rooms. The ultimate result of this type of internet addiction is a negative impact on real-time intimate relationships.
- Cyber relationship addiction – this is where internet relationships become more important and meaningful than normal relationships with family and friends.
- Net compulsions – these uncontrollable or compulsive addictions include online gambling, online stock trading, and the use of online auction sites with a good example of this being eBay. The end results of all this are financial difficulties both at work and at home.
- Information overload- this is uncontrollable surfing of the web or database searching and it will eventually cause low work productivity and less time to spend with family and friends.
- Computer addiction – this is the uncontrollable urge to play offline computer games all day long. Examples of such games include minesweeper and solitaire. Obsessive computer programming can also be classified as computer addiction.
The Reasons Why Teens and Pre-Teens Become Addicted To the Internet
Experts have come to the following conclusion after years of study; people become internet addicts in a bid to reduce unpleasant and overwhelming feelings. Some of these feelings could be loneliness, stress, depression and anxiety. Many people find the internet to be the perfect source to dump everyday stresses and to relieve pressure. This is because it is possible to find temporary relief from stress, loneliness, depression, anxiety and boredom on the internet. Seeing that the relief is only temporary, there are other healthier ways that will relieve negative feelings and they include meditating, exercising and breathing exercises.
Most internet addictions can be relieved by finding an alternative way to handle these problems. In spite of this, most addicts find that even after recovery, these same negative feelings will come back sooner or later. It is therefore important to handle these feelings urgently as they are the causes of the addiction.
Internet Addiction – Risk Factors
Teenagers and pre-teenagers who suffer from the following conditions are very likely to become internet addicts:
- Anxiety– young people who suffer from anxiety may choose to use the internet to distract themselves from their worries and fears. Anxiety disorders like obsessive compulsive disorders will add to this problem by excessive email checking and uncontrollable internet use.
- Depression – depressed children may use the internet as a means of escape from feelings of depression. While this might seem to work at first, getting addicted to the internet will only worsen the situation.
- Other addictions – when a youngster is already suffering from other types of addictions like drug and alcohol abuse, he or she is at risk of becoming an internet addict as well.
- Lack of social support – when a teen or pre-teen lacks social support from home and school, he or she is likely to seek it from social networking sites like Facebook, instant messaging and online gambling.
- Unhappy teens and pre-teens – unhappy internet users may use the internet to try and fit in and feel more loved and accepted.