With more than 100 million users worldwide, the internet has become one of the most universal methods for communication. From e-mail to the possibly billions of web pages, the amount of information flowing is infinite. It gives the user freedom to talk and mingle with others online and access MUD (Multi-User Dimensional) games. No doubt, the World Wide Web (www) is informative, convenient, resourceful and fun, but this freedom comes along with the possibilities of abuse and addiction.
Internet Addiction, also known as Pathological Internet Use, can simply be termed as ‘addiction over Internet or other activities dependent exclusively on the use of Internet’. The Internet comes as an ultimate isolating technology that reduces people’s participation in communities. This addiction is worse than even the television. Symptoms of this addition could be neglecting family activities, social events, work and school (in case of children). There are many causes to this addiction, which are explained in the following section.
What Causes Internet Addiction Disorder
People who suffer from depression, low self-esteem or have a history of addictions are more susceptible to Internet addiction. They turn on to online sites to deal with temporary sadness and stress.
All those who are information addicts are so hungry for knowledge that they are unable to stop themselves from searching the web and reading informational articles.
Any online activity that encourages another compulsive behavior is likely to make a person addicted to the Internet. For example, an online poker site could be injurious to a compulsive gambler.
Often, people tend to communicate online, as they feel that they get closer to people much more quickly online, as compared to real life. Internet dating sites and chat lines help in reducing loneliness. At the same time, they make users desperate to meet new people and indulge in new imaginary relationships.
People find the Internet to be a fantasy world, where they can be more outgoing, thus reducing time spent with the real people in their lives. This addiction results in a sharp decline and impairment in real life relationships.
Since there is no sort of security to safeguard people from the Internet, they approach pornographic sites for different images. This freedom even gives you them an opportunity to find better links and banners, thus expecting to find something better every time. with time, they get addicted.
Types of Internet Addiction
There are essentially five types of Internet Addiction, namely:
- Cyber-sexual Attraction
- Cyber-relationship Addiction
- Net Compulsions
- Information Overload
- Computer Addiction
Treatment For Internet Addiction
Due to lack of awareness and complicated nature of Internet addiction, its treatment is even more complex as compared to other addictions. The following treatments have been suggested, depending on different existing treatment policies:
- Invert selection method
- Using external shoppers
- Goal Setting
- Staying abstinent from a set of particular activities
- Using reminder cards
- Developing personal inventory
- Seeking help from support group
- Family therapy
The first three are simple manifestation of time management technique, while the others are for critical pathological conditions.