Internet addiction is a recent phenomenon, and can be compared to the addiction of television which has been prevalent in our society for decades. Years ago, only those who paid to be online could do so. But as the Internet became more popular and easily accessible, it has become easier to do several things from a static location, rather than going to different locations like malls, bars, movies, or even meeting up with friends. The comfort and privacy factor are the two major reasons for the alarming rise of Internet addiction in today's society.
Online addiction can be classified under various categories such as bidding auctions, gaming, gambling, social networking, chatting, pornography, etc. Estimates reveal that around 5-10% of online users are completely addicted to the Internet. It mainly consists of the highly introvert and educated males, while in females, it has affected the middle-age category the most. We shall now have a look at the main signs that point to an internet addiction, and after that check out a few questions, whose answers determine if an individual really suffers from this disorder.
Prominent Signs of Internet Addiction Disorder
- An individual (user) feels this is the only medium through which he can cheer himself up and have a good time.
- A user's mind is always preoccupied. He thinks about the Internet, even after he is offline.
- A user decides to go online just to check mails or maybe surf the web for some information, but ends up sitting online for hours.
- Whenever offline, the user is mostly depressed or in a bad mood. Anything in the real world does not catch his liking easily.
- Being dishonest to family members, friends and even colleagues, about the amount of time spent on the Internet.
- The urge to always create an online virtual relationship with another user or users. Real world relationships with family, friends and colleagues are completely neglected or given little or no importance.
- A user logs on regularly for long hours to indulge in activities such as gambling, pornography, dating, chatting, hacking, etc.
Since this isn't something that has been in our society from very long, most medical practitioners and therapists are not very comfortable in dealing with its treatment. Nevertheless, as we speak, research is on in a big way to tackle this problem, which is growing to dangerous proportions in today's world.
Do You Show Signs of Internet Addiction Disorder?
There are some simple questions an individual can ask himself to determine whether he is suffering from this disorder:
- Do you always stay online much longer than that you originally intended to?
- Do you have people around you who always complain about the amount of time you spend online?
- Are your study grades or job performance suffering due to your online activities?
- Are you very secretive or defensive when others question you on what you do online?
- Do you always prefer online company in comparison with real life company?
- Do you always feel depressed, moody and cannot think of anything constructive to do when you are offline?
- Do you shout back and insult a person when they come to converse with you when you are busy online?
- Do you neglect your sleep and meals, just so that you get to spend more time online?
- Are you always looking for new friends and relationships online?
- And last but not the least. Is it that you just can't log off and always feel the urge to remain online for those few more minutes, which in reality is never a few minutes anyway?
If your replies to these 10 questions are affirmative in 3 to 5 instances, then you have borderline IAD, and if you said yes to 6 or more questions, then you have a serious problem known as Internet Addiction Disorder. It is necessary to ascertain yourself first if you suffer from this problem, and then only seeking professional help will be of some use.