WHEN BROWSING BECOMES AN ADDICTION

The advent of the internet has been a stroke of luck to the human race in many ways which cannot be counted. It has saved us a whole lot of time which when spent manually, would take lots of hours, months or even years to complete. The internet has improved our productivity as we can carry out more tasks promptly.

However, the excessive use of the internet by some people, have proved to be a great cause for concern. These set of individuals dedicate ample time to browsing on the internet, and just a little amount of time to other areas of life.

When this addiction is on the increase, the attention paid to essential aspects of life such as health, education, relationships amongst others, is on the decline. This happens because browsing has become an utmost priority, and the person’s participation in reality is greatly reduced.

SIGNS TO OBSERVE WHEN YOU ARE BECOMING ADDICTED TO BROWSING THE INTERNET

1. Difficulty in abstaining from browsing for a day or more: Once you discover that you cannot do without browsing for just a day, then you could be addicted already. A non-addicted user of the internet can do without browsing for more than a day.

2. Losing track of time while browsing: If you are not always conscious of time when browsing and you get to realize that lots of hours is like a few minutes, then you might just be addicted.

3. Deriving happiness only when online: If you are someone who looks depressed and despondent in reality, but always happy and content when online, then you could be a step closer to being addicted to browsing the internet.

4. Skipping meals: This is a strong sign of addiction among internet users. So, if you regularly skip your meals, or at the very least, you eat your food in front of your computer, then you are addicted already.

5. Usage of the internet late into the night: If this happens quite frequently, and you always wake up early the next morning, it is a sign of addiction. Also, if you have tried to stop this times without number with little or no success, you are addicted to browsing the internet.

6. Less interaction with people in reality: While browsing the internet, if all your time is spent chatting and keeping track of the lifestyle of people online, without paying close attention to the people around you, then you are an addicted user.

WHAT IS INTERNET ADDICTION?

Internet addiction is a condition whereby a person feels there is an utmost need to spend much time on the internet. In most cases, this amount of time could be utilized into carrying out other productive acts. However, someone who is addicted to the internet does not give much cognizance to that reality. In the long run, other aspects of the person’s life begins to suffer. An evident sign to spot an addicted internet user is, the level of inner joy and attention which the person exhibits and gives, whenever such person is on the internet. All attention is devoted to it, and such person would not like to be disturbed in any way.

Being addicted to the internet can be likened to someone who is hooked on hard drugs. They both have the same basis of operation. Someone who is addicted to hard drugs can hardly do without it. If it is absent, it is more like a death sentence for such person. The drugs would need to be taken as soon as possible in order to prevent the person from taken further detrimental actions.

An internet addicted user would find it hard to stay away from the internet. In most cases, such person has found for himself a home, a family and a couple of friends. He has people with whom he interacts with. In reality, it would be hard for such person to relate with people. The communication gap between him and the outside world is further broadened, and this is not good enough.

The concept of internet addiction requires a continuous increase in the amount of time spent on the internet, this increase is directly equivalent to the level of satisfaction derived. If the addicted user is unable to go online, some symptoms such as nervousness, sulkiness and obsessive fantasizing, are bound to occur.

If negative feelings like self-reproach, nervousness or depression are experienced in reality, the only available source of solace for the addicted user, is the internet. Surely, the addicted user would maximize the time spent on the internet in order to get over any of the aforementioned negative feelings.

There are major categories of internet addiction and they are four in number:

1. Relationships

2. Games

3. Information

4. Sex

So, the internet addicted user might belong to three categories at once, or strictly one category. It varies in various individuals.

HOW TO RECOVER FROM INTERNET ADDICTION

Addiction to the internet refers to a condition whereby people spend more time than expected on the internet. This excessive amount of time spent on the internet is usually used in carrying out non-beneficial activities. What even makes it more critical is, internet addicted individuals are aware of the fact that much time is being wasted, they often overlook it.

People who are addicted to the internet often struggle with developing relationships and better communications with people in reality. It is a herculean task for an internet-addicted user to completely abstain from the usage of the internet. This can be likened to prompting someone who is addicted to drugs to stop abruptly.

The mainstream idea of internet addiction cure, is to completely disable the internet connectivity and lock up the computer in an unknown place. This would hardly work because, productive activities could arise which would need the internet usage. You would then have to utilize the computer and the internet for whatever task you have to undertake.

STEPS TO RECOVERING FROM INTERNET ADDICTION

Internet addicted users must realize that the major step in recovering from addiction, is to accept the addiction and have the littlest of motivation to be assisted in the journey to recovery.

1. Doing the exact opposite: The first step to recovering from internet addiction, is to readjust your routine. You could start by integrating other activities which would be carried out in reality, into the time and schedule which would have been used online.

2. Self-restraint: If there is a specific activity which keeps you online for a long period of time, you can begin to make conscious efforts to reduce the amount of time spent on it. For example, if seven (7) hours is spent normally on the internet, you could start by reducing it to four (4) or five (5) hours.

3. Rehabilitation: For a professional rehabilitation treatment, you would have to seek the services of a professional therapist or a guidance counsellor to put you through and properly follow you up.

4. Develop relationships in reality: For internet addicted users, this part of their lives has suffered a lot. It is a rare sight for you to see an addicted internet user who has a strong relationship and communication with family and friends in reality. Internet addicted users always prefer to keep to themselves and focus more on the people online.

HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH INTERNET TIME?

FOR CHILDREN AND TEENAGERS

There are two major reasons for spending much time on the internet. The first could be, a search for an important information which could take hours to find, the second could be spending much time on the internet for the purpose of escaping from anxiety, depression, loneliness and the likes. The first reason can be overlooked, as it would definitely not occur frequently. For the second reason, it would most likely occur frequently.

Focusing more on the second reason, spending too much time on the internet is hazardous and there are a lot of demerits involved. A research study showed that kids who are below 18 years spend an average of eleven (11) hours a week. This amount of time is on the increase as they advance in age. This amount of time being spent, results in less productivity in almost all aspects of life.

Parents and guardians have a pivotal role to play in regulating the amount of time their children spend on the internet. They should be able to properly define and point out to their children the differences between normal internet usage and the compulsive usage. If your kids have a project to work on, and it requires the internet usage, they should be given a controlled access to use it, even though much time is going to be spent on it.

It is essential for parents and guardians to note that they can observe if their children are exhibiting signs of compulsive usage of the internet. A number of children and teenagers prefer to spend more time on the internet, rather than people in reality.

Some of the signs of the compulsive usage of the internet includes:

1. General internet obsession: Children and teenagers who are always preoccupied with the internet, or have specific sites or points on the internet without any productive work, are obviously using too much internet time.

2. Self-justification of the time spent online: A child or teenager who frequently defends himself about the amount of time spent online without any cogent reason, should be cautioned.

3. Heightened ecstasy when involved in online activities: If a child or teenager is hyper-active when surfing the web or going through social media platforms, it shows that such child would most likely spend more time on the internet because he or she does not want the fun to decline.

Parents and guardians need to be on the lookout for various signs which their wards might exhibit as regards the internet. Excessive time spent on the internet with little or no productivity as the results is detrimental to children and teenagers in the long run.

HARMFUL EFFECTS OF INTERNET ADDICTION

THE INTERNET AND ITS ABUSE

Taking a look at convenience, the internet has offered us a lot of benefits. A number of our daily activities are done on the internet and gradually the list of activities which can be done on the internet keeps growing. What makes it more interesting is, it is done at a faster rate. So, with your smartphone or computer, you have the internet at your beck and call.

Now, this seemingly unrestricted access to the internet, has become a cause for concern. A number of people have abused this freedom and turned it into something else. This set of people now spend more time on the internet than usual. The sad part is, the extra minutes or hours which they spend on the internet, is usually used to produce nothing beneficial. This abuse of freedom is what is known as internet addiction.

When the internet is abused, it could be detrimental to the quality of your life. It is very unsafe, but thankfully, it can be conquered.

THE HARMFUL EFFECTS OF INTERNET ADDICTION

Isolation and Withdrawal: This is a common disadvantageous effect of internet addiction. People who are addicted to the internet have the tendency to be irritated, despondent and withdrawn whenever they are offline. This is because they have created for themselves, a virtual and supposedly enabling atmosphere online.

An Escape course: Some internet-addicted users initially used the internet as an avenue to escape the troubles of life. Instead of handling the problem in reality, the internet seems to be a safe haven where they feel they can easily forget life troubles. Sooner or later, such people usually end up returning to reality to attempt to tackle whatever problems head-on.

Effect on students: Young people are negatively affected by the internet in a lot of ways. Poor grades might be experienced, insomnia, gaining access to needless but harmful information. Encountering cyber bullies is another effect, and it has the capacity to create a long-term effect as regards their emotional and mental well-being.
Increased poor communication: Someone who spends virtually all the time on the internet would find it hard to communicate well in reality. This has paved way for weaker relationships and a struggle in communication. When it comes to the benefits of a healthy relationship with both family and friends, it could be hampered due to internet addiction.