With the introduction of computers and the Internet, a new world has been opened to its users. People can not only do their work using computing resources, but also entertain themselves. It is also a great way of socializing, as one can meet new people and make friends through social networking sites and chat rooms. Moreover, people do not need to refer books and newspapers to gain information, as all they want to know is just a click away, with the Internet being loaded with information.
However, like all good things, even the computer has certain disadvantages that can affect the users negatively. As the popularity of computers and Internet increased, a new type of addiction also began to emerge which is called computer addiction. This term also includes Internet addiction and other types of computer addiction. Experts also call it the Internet Addiction Disorder.
Being Addicted to Computers
This addiction can manifest in various ways. It includes addiction to games, chatting, email, social networking, Internet browsing, online gambling, online shopping, online pornography, etc. Spending too much time in front of the computer can not only affect the person who does it, but also the people around him.
For instance, a person who neglects work and other household duties to spend time in front of the computer may get dismissed from his job and this may also cause a rift between him and his family. This problem is so severe that it is no longer restricted to adults, but is seen in young children and teenagers too. Children tend to ignore their studies and this can cause poor performance at school. As this addiction can lead to a whole lot of problems, it is important to gather information about it, to recognize, as well as treat it.
The first crucial step to stop this problem is to know its signs. However, this can be a difficult task as computer addicts tend to lie to other people about the time they spend in front of the computer. Nevertheless, if you doubt that your friend or partner is becoming a computer addict, here are some of the signs that you may observe in him.
- It has been observed that people who are addicted to computers often do not realize the amount of time they have spent on the computer. There have been cases where people start using the computer just for one hour, before sleeping and get carried away so much that they do not realize when it is already morning.
- Though computer addicts experience a feeling of euphoria or well-being while on the computer, doing what they are addicted too, they are also said to feel a sense of guilt for wasting time on it. Due to this reason, they lie to their employers, family, and friends about the time they spent on the Internet.
- As computer addicts realize that their current behavior pattern is not healthy, they try to restrict the time spent on it. However, most of them cannot control themselves and tend to spend more time on the computer than they had thought.
- Another symptom of this addiction is neglect towards family and friends. Addicts have so many friends on social networking sites, that they tend to avoid their relationships in real life. They may forget to attend meetings with friends or may avoid family gatherings. They are also likely to ignore their partner or spouse, which may lead to a breakup or divorce.
- Computer addicts start craving for time to be in front of the computer. They may be continuously thinking and planning about what to do at the next session, which affects their work and other social responsibilities.
- Apart from the ones listed above, there are some physical symptoms that an addict may experience. These physical symptoms include carpal tunnel syndrome which is caused due to the excessive use of keyboard, back and neck pain, dry eyes and migraine headaches. He may skip meals and may also suffer from sleep deprivation.
If you know that one of your friends or family members is a computer addict, you would definitely want to know, how to help him. The most important step towards this is making the person understand that he has a problem. Most of the time, it occurs because the person is tensed, anxious, depressed, or lonely. In such a situation, the computer seems like a haven which takes him away from his problems. So, the first thing one should do is get professional help. The psychologist, through the help of various therapies and counseling sessions, will help the addict in understanding his problem and recovering from it.
Apart from the counseling sessions, it is important for the addict to help himself in overcoming his addiction completely. He can do this by indulging in activities like learning a new hobby, developing skills that are needed to relieve one's stress, meeting his family and friends regularly, etc. Another factor that will help the person in overcoming his addiction quickly is the strong support of his family and friends. So, if your loved one is a computer addict, understand him and support him mentally, as well as emotionally, to get rid of his problem.