Can You become addicted to the internet?
I know it seems quite ironic that I’m posting a blog about internet addiction (A) on the internet, (B) that I am an On-line Affiliate Marketer and (C) I did my research on-line also. But I feel that it is a very important subject that could, if unchecked, become an epidemic in our society.
I am an alcoholic in recovery and also an addiction counsellor, specializing in alcohol, drugs & gambling, and I know that people, like myself, who suffer from or have suffered from an addiction are very prone to cross addicting (switching from one substance or behaviour to another), so why not the internet. Besides people in recovery, anyone can become addicted or develop a compulsive behaviour, if you do something for long enough, without having a balance.
How can I know that I’m even at risk?
I found that when I started to learn about affiliate marketing I was spending a lot of time on line watching training videos and being involved in webinars and also social media. Now this has to be done if you want to learn anything about internet marketing, it is and takes a lot of hard work, which is to be expected.
However…..I found myself sitting up till all hours in the morning and then finding it hard to go to sleep, as my mind was still racing and not processing the info I had been taking in. Now as an addiction counsellor the alarm bells began ringing for me as I found that my on line time began eating into my work time, my family time and sleep time. I was becoming preoccupied with the internet. I was starting to feel run down, lethargic and great difficulty shutting down my laptop and not checking social media.
What has this to do with addiction in general?
Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD) has not been classified as mental health disorder in the DSM 5, like other addictions, it is though a behavioral disorder, akin to gambling, sex and spending. Like any other addictive behaviour, it can take over and ultimately control your life, as you can become more and more preoccupied and unable to do without, even for a little while. You might eventually be able to turn off your laptop, but you cannot turn of your brain.
What are the causes of IAD?
People can easily become addicted to the internet through over use or abuse of the following platforms: –
Online gaming including gambling,
Information or web browsing.
All can become compulsive which can lead to eventual addictions in time.
Some people could have just one or multiple addictions on line. The main issue is that the internet, which is only a tool, can facilitate the addictive behaviour.
Besides, mental & emotional attachment, there are also physical problems that can occur or be exasperated by over use of the internet or even computer use in general. These are carpal tunnel, back problems, shoulder freezing, arthritis & rheumatism, lack of exercise and mobility, obesity, poor circulation, repertory & heart problems, hemorrhoids, muscle wastage, vitamin D deficiency from a lack of natural light, eyesight damage.
Behavioural problems like physical isolation, poor personal hygiene, poor diet, untidy, unkempt, smelly, anti social.
Take away the internet and will addictive behaviours still occur?, Probably, and in all cases the Internet is not to blame, but it does expose people more easily to their behaviour of choice. An example, if you look at pornography on line, you most likely looked at pornography before the internet came along. The same concept applies for gambling, shopping, spending, dating.
What can I do now?
I am not talking about treatment of Internet Addiction at this stage, mainly just awareness of it and what to look out for to prevent yourself and loved ones from the possibility of progressing a routine to habit to compulsion to addiction.
So How can you prevent yourself from falling prey to becoming addicted?
Self awareness is key & be totally honest with yourself, if you find it a struggle to walk away from your computer or device, that is a good indicator that things could become unmanageable for you. Plan your time on the internet, limit use, take regular breaks and do something in that break time, get something to eat, go for a walk, sleep, goto work, meditate.
Children & the internet
I'm sure I don't have to say much here as it is well publisized just how dangerous the internet can be for children. It is every adults responsibility to make sure that their kids are viewing appropriate material and never ever leave them unsupervised on line. Educate them on the risks, so that they know to let you know if there is a problem. Kids now days are a lot more tech savvy than previous generations, so you have to be vigilant.
I'm an adult, so is it really that much of a risk?
In general, no, but if you take pornography for example. Since the creation of the internet the availability of pornographic material has quadrupled and its availability is across the board, sex crimes are also on the increase. On line gaming and gambling is a multibillion dollar industry, but on the downside, many people who are compulsive gamblers or gamers have become destitute due to it. At the end of the day as the saying goes "guns don't kill people, people kill people", the same concept applies with the internet. its a great tool but you have to.....
Just be Responsible
I don't intend to be the prophet of doom, as the internet truly is a marvelous invention and if used responsibly by everyone can and has improved everyone's quality of life. Just look how easy it is to book a vacation now, compared to even a few decades ago. You can literally do anything on it now, even earn a living.......
Many companies are offering on line marketing training but the company I chose was SFM, as they offer state of the art training with amazing on-line mentorship & peer support and you can earn as you learn as an affiliate. It is a great platform to start off on your internet journey/ career.
I have taken this step into the internet abyss, I’m not tech savvy at all, and with the support of SFM, I am working my way through it. The internet is here to stay and is the future for all of us, so don’t get left behind because it is gaining momentum. If you want to learn what I am learning and are in a point in your life where you want change, then I offer you, through my mentors, Stuart & Jay, a no obligation FREE 7 day video series to watch.
Thanks for reading, and hope to see you on the other side.
Crediblog,February 3, 2018, What is Internet Addiction Disorder ?,<https://www.credihealth.com/blog/internet-addiction-disorder>
Mental Health America, n.d, Risky Business: Internet Addiction,<http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/conditions/risky-business-internet-addiction>
Verywell Mind, February 05, 2018, An Overview of Internet Addiction,<https://www.verywellmind.com/internet-addiction-4157289>
Express, UPDATED: 12:32, Tue, Sep 6, 2016, BEWARE INTERNET ADDICTION: Expert warns web craving is as bad as drug addiction,<https://www.express.co.uk/life-style/health/707650/internet-addiction-phone-problem-similar-drug-alcohol>