Internet Addiction and Its Impact

In the current scenario, internet has become an inseparable part of most of the humans prevailing in the world. There has been noted a considerable increase in the number of people joining internet in the last decade.

Internet is no doubt a tool that helps us to work irrespective of geographical borders. Be it for entertainment, college, office internet is becoming a necessity. With the advancement of technologies like AI, Cloud and features provided in multiple tools out of these technologies like Alexa, Siri, Google Assistant are making life easier and interesting and are also liked by children. They are becoming much friendlier and growing faster with these voice systems that work through internet. Voice control features on google, YouTube, televisions, refrigerators are all using internet that works at a command of our voice. In turn we have been completely inclined to internet be it studies, work or entertainment. Everything revolves virtually around us with the help of internet.

But then with these multiple advantages there comes a series of disadvantages too. This addiction to internet is still not considered as an addiction nor a disorder since it is providing multiple services at the click of a button from buying stuff to automating work to much more. Addiction rightly defined as psychological and physical inability to stop consuming something (service, any product,) even though it is affecting psychologically. 

Internet addiction can be identified as a condition in which an individual is spending lot of time on computer or any web enabled device/system that indirectly starts affecting their health, finance, time management, relationships and everything and everyone around you. Also known as Internet addition disorder or Compulsive internet Use Disorder.

It’s mostly the younger generation that is getting affected by it mostly the college going students and below then that. They find internet the best thing and develop their hobbies around it and tend to develop a virtual world around it with virtual people and things. Ex- People who do not have real friends, they start finding friends on internet, completely unaware of the reality of people and sometimes fall prey in the hands of wrong people, people who can’t go out to shop they can keep doing it from home .Be it surfing, reading, playing games, social networking, online shopping, trading, gambling, blogging, online dating etc.

These people lose interest in non-online hobbies and activities. The easy access they get to all kinds of materials. 

They lose track of time and fail to understand the world they are building virtually is based on superficial things, beliefs and cannot replace real-life relationships. 

Internet addiction tends to give rise to mental health issues. Also, if they are taken away from internet they feel anxious, irritated. 

This addiction of internet can in turn lead them to the inability to communicate in the real world, depriving them of the interpersonal skills. 

However, some researchers say that it’s not the amount of time you spent on internet but how you use it defines your internet addiction. Whereas some research’s show that internet addiction is like a drug addiction when you have it you feel “high”, moment individual has to disconnect they lose it. This addictive behavior triggers release of a chemical substance called “dopamine” that promotes the use of things that please you and over time creates a dependency on it. Some reasons also suggest that every time you login to internet you find something new and that keeps the interest of an individual alive whereas in the real world you won’t find anything and everything interesting and new all the time. Being on internet, you don’t feel isolated from the world. Often, people who have signs of depression try to live in their world by switching on to internet.

There can be some emotional and physical symptoms of internet addiction. Some of the emotional symptoms are as below->

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Isolation
  • Avoiding work
  • Loneliness
  • Mood Swings
  • Boredom
  • Negative thoughts
  • Loss of interest in real world, people, peers, activities

Some physical symptoms->

  • Backache
  • Headache
  • Neck pain
  • Lack of ability to sleep
  • Poor eating and hygiene habits
  • Weight gain
  • Eye Issues

Some research’s and reports have shown that internet addiction is mostly affecting people in Asian countries especially Asian males. South Korea, china are some of the best examples of it. Pew Research Center shows that 77% of Americans connect to the internet daily. India is the world’s second largest in Internet use after China. As per the Internet and Mobile Association of India and Indian Market Research Bureau, out of 80 million active Internet users in urban India, 72% (58 million individuals) have used internet in some form of social networking in 2013, which is to reach around 420 million by June 2017. In a study on young people, it was found that about 74.5% were moderate (average) users and 0.7% were found to be addicts.

There are treatments available for internet addiction too but before that if you feel anyone is suffering from internet addiction can be asked some general questions like how much time they spend on internet, If internet is not available do they find themselves in bad mood, do they stay online more than they have decided to, Is their work, family and health getting effected out of the use of internet, do they have any physical symptoms due to it (like headache, backache), does switching off to internet makes you irritable, anxious.

There are multiple treatments available to treat this addiction. Some of them include medication, therapies, some exercise, some activities to include your involvement in the real world.

Looking at the current scenario, wherein people are stuck at home, some of them alone and they are entirely dependent on Internet for work, study, entertainment related activities. So, is everyone suffering from internet addiction. Answer is No, the idea is to use it responsibly to complete all your tasks and not fall prey to it affecting all other activities of your life.

Reference-

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6198588/

https://www.addictioncenter.com/drugs/internet-addiction/

Author: A.C.

Dr. Chakraborty is a researcher in electronics and has authored numerous articles in the domain. She is also an avid blogger and shares a penchant for domains like technology, business and science.

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