You may probably wonder whether one can be addicted to the Internet. Like other addictive activities, engaging in cyberspace-based activities that you find stimulating and enjoyable can hook you into a compulsion loop. An Internet addict spirals into a compulsive behavior that is depicted by the repeated checks into social media accounts or other Internet-based recreational option. You can’t seem to resist the urge to check on your virtual pet online or the need to play a certain game on the Internet. That being said, it is possible to be “addicted” to the Internet.
“The difference between technology and slavery is that slaves are fully aware that they are not free” ― Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Characteristics of people who are addicted to the Internet
Spend more than 10-12 hours on the Internet for personal recreation.
Check their phone every 5-10 seconds.
Reveal every detail of their daily life on their many social media platforms.
Internet-based hobbies or recreation interferes with their productivity (they may neglect their jobs, families, and friends).
Interact, make friends, or even look for/find love on social media and websites?
This obsession with the cybersphere is not exactly new. It’s said that obsessive-compulsive behavior related to the Internet and even PC games began to escalate in the 90s. Creators and service providers of these various applications continued to improve their products. Similarly, compulsive behavior also evolved into something that is now a cause for concern for parents, family, and friends of those affected.
Today, it’s not just computer games that are the springboard for the digital compulsion loop. Email, sports stats, and even stock performance lure adults to the digital realm in an increasingly frequent and debilitating manner. There’s also these false alerts that smartphone users have to deal with. They think their device is ringing or buzzing when it’s not and thus have to check it every few seconds or so.
Using applications or even finding them fun isn’t wrong. However, such situations become a cause for concern when it turns into a compulsive habit that gets in the way of a person’s normal daily functioning, including replacing real-life relationships and interactions with virtual ones.
Internet addiction has since been renamed to Internet Use Disorder (IUD), Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD), Compulsive Internet Use (CIU), and Problematic Internet Use (PIU). Interner addiction has not yet, however, been included in the DSM manual, which is also known as the psychiatrists’ bible. However, studies involving the condition have been conducted and will continue to be investigated in the effort to understand it better and identify effective ways to treat it. Researchers have noticed that the changes in the brains of those with IAD are similar to those who are hooked to heroin, cocaine, and other narcotics.
Some researchers theorize that cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) can help treat Internet addiction. This is not such a surprise given that CBT is also a popular treatment option for substance abuse patients and compulsive gamblers. If you believe your Internet use is interfering with your work and relationships, you will do well to explore this option.
“Cyber void is so full of amazing emptiness that makes us feel fulfilled.”
― Munia Khan