Internet has proved to be a boon for the human society. It has helped us to communicate with each other in a better and efficient way. The biggest impact of Internet can be witnessed in the world of education and business. Internet has made e-learning and e-commerce possible, the benefits of which are there for all to see. But as experience has shown us, every good thing has another side to it which when used excessively can create problems. Studies have proved that too much dependence on Internet can lead to a condition known as Internet addiction disorder.
The studies on this subject are still in a preliminary stage and the methods which have been employed to carry out research in this field are subjective, that is, people who spend too much time on Internet may show a certain kind of behavior, but whether that behavior is caused due to a specific technology, is yet to be known. We would also like to mention that as of now, the Internet addiction disorder is not recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, but it is being considered for the next edition in 2013.
Statistics on Internet Addiction
- A majority of people who are addicted to Internet are teenagers and young adults.
- Surveys have found out that the relationships of close to 10% of Internet addicts suffered because of excessive Internet usage.
- Around 14% of the people who were surveyed for a study conducted by the Stanford University found out that they were unable to stay away from Internet and they used it to get over their negative mood.
- In China, Internet addiction is a major problem as, close to around 15% of youngsters are said to be suffering from this condition.
- Studies conducted in Hong Kong have found that around 40% the young population was addicted to the Internet and the problem was on an increase every year.
- In America, out of an estimated 200 million Internet users, nearly 10% are suffering from Internet addiction disorder. The number of Internet addicts is increasing every year at the rate of 25%.
You must be wondering how much of usage can be categorized as excessive usage or addiction. There is no set time-frame which constitutes Internet addiction, but the general consensus among experts is that more than 20 hours of usage per week is known as Internet addiction. One important perspective in this study is that the number of hours an individual spends online is not the only factor in this condition. Some other possible indicators are a constant urge to get online all the time, deception or lying about the amount of time spent on the Internet and developing an attitude that information on Internet is superior to what they teach at the school/college.
It has been generally seen that people mostly spend their time on the Internet in developing or maintaining friendships through social networking sites, gambling or trading online, playing games, gathering information and watching porn. It is very important for the parents to ensure that their children do not get addicted to this condition. Some tips that you can keep in mind to ensure that your kids do not spend too much time on the Internet are -
- Try to keep the computer in a shared family room rather than in your child's room as, in adolescent stage, children need parental guidance.
- Keep a check on how much time your child spends on the Internet. You have to also observe whether your child's Internet usage is affecting his performance in the school or whether he is substituting physical activity with Internet games.
- Children might want to be online all the time, but as a parent, it is your responsibility to talk to your child about the perils of excessive usage. You can also set a time-frame up to which they can go online. Doing this curtails the dependence of children on Internet and gives them an opportunity to develop real relationships.
- If you feel that despite all your efforts, your child is spending too much time on the Internet and displays a constant urge to go online, consider taking the help of a professional counselor.
This was some information on Internet addiction. As mentioned earlier, the research on this condition is in its initial stage right now and it will take some time before the underlying causes can be fully understood. Easy access to the Internet and myriad websites are some of the reasons which have led to an increase in the number of Internet addicts around the world. Internet is a great source of information and entertainment and we should ensure that we do not abuse it.