Sitting in the metro, or alone in your room late at night, witnessing an entire party through the lens of your mobile camera, being next to the love of your life in that movie theatre or over dinner and yet, still not being there – If at all these situations you are tempted to scroll through your feed, update your status, watch that random video, or just chat with someone across the screen rather than the one across yourself, you have an issue, that’s nowadays referred to as ‘INTERNET ADDICTION’.
You never know when your acceptable urge to reply to that text message, or see what’s going on with a friend’s life, or checkout what’s getting viral or trendy, escalates to levels where unanswered urges start taking over you and your activities. As we advance and grow varied in our activities, indulgences, and hobbies, so does the potential of associated negative traits! So while the world goes on in its full fletched form, you merely see, receive and feel parts of it; whence it is filtered through a screen.
Although it may seem apparent that this addiction is merely the result of long hours spent on the net to an extent that it becomes compulsive for the individual, but it’s much deeper than that. Studies have shown those suffering from problematic net use, often suffer from other minor or major disorders as well, including (but not limited to) depression, social/mental/professional anxiety or other addictions including compulsive gambling, overeating, alcoholism or other chemical/drug dependencies. Thus, although in majority of cases this isn’t the root or the main problem at hand, but it does translate into serious, long and short term impacts on the life and health of the addict; physical, mental as well as social. But this does not imply that this addiction cannot be find in isolation in certain subjects. Young adolescents and children, who have grown up in environments wherein the major exposure is derived through mobile, laptop or TV screens, often suffer from an unexplained craving to go back to the familiarity, safety and control of screens than to face a random, uncontrollable yet real world!
Like any other addiction, the first symptom that should strike oneself are random uncontrolled urges to check out your screen/texts/social media feed/viral and popular content or indulge in virtual gameplay/gambling sites. Although this addiction does manifest itself with other symptoms as well, which can include –
Poor nutrition and poor personal hygiene rooting out of continued lethargy that arises from lack of physical activity, awareness and wellness.
There have been a few scientific and medical approaches towards counselling victims of this relatively new form of addiction:
A special therapy known as Cognitive behavior therapy has been designed to help individuals learn how to control their thoughts and feelings. This approach involves helping the patient to acknowledge the existence of the problem in the first place and then help him identify the issues and impacts the problem is creating! Then identifying what triggers excessive use of the internet and the third part is applying the same to problems that the patient avoids by indulging him/herself in the internet!
also a self corrective pattern associated with this addiction. But this is a slow and not an entirely guaranteed treatment!
All things said and done, there’s no substitute to willpower and a willingness to improve for the better. A determined mind knows (or ultimately finds) its way out of every situation it finds itself in.
Although it may not sound as the worst of the things one can get addicted to, yet still, an addiction is an addiction, which has consequences and impacts.
The most obvious and probably the most disastrous effect is the impact that this addiction has on your social life and interaction with the real world. Whilst we are lost in the false sense of comfort amidst the screens, the real world out there is advancing, learning, growing and happening!
Thus, prevention becomes a necessity. Encouraging young children to explore outsides practically rather than through the screens, avoiding any sort of indulgence in everlasting virtual online games, gambling, pornography, trivial viral videos etc. are the most basic steps one can take in this direction.
Realize the outer, real world is better than the virtual one.
Pick a hobby
Hangout with your friends
Limit your time on the screen.
The first and the foremost withdrawal symptom of quitting any addiction is an increased urge to get back to the escape and the blissful solace. An addict might not initially find the real world amusing, entertaining or controllable enough when he/she gets back to it, and hence might wish to turn back to a familiar screen of comfort and amusement. However, as (s)he gradually indulges in a more real version of life than the virtual one, (s)he whilst enjoying the benefits of a mentally, physically and socially healthier life can slowly but surely give-up on this interaction ruining addiction.
"Get off the mobile and go outside," are these words being heard more commonly nowadays, than at any other point in time in life? The answer could be frighteningly real as humanity has just stepped in one of the newest forms of a psychiatric disorder. What's worse is that the medical world is divided whether if this should be considered as a disease and separate field to be dedicated to it or simply pass it off as a generation growth that the future has to embrace.
Let us look a little deeper about the disorder and the serious nature that it indicates.
What is internet & phone addiction?
Only recently did Internet addition and phone addition become part of the diagnostic and statistical manual of the mental disorder - Meaning that internet addiction is now effectively considered a psychiatric disorder and there are chances of identifying and treating it using medically approved means. As the name suggests, internet addiction and phone addiction means that the person is using his creative and designated time on the medium when he is no longer required to. Simply put it becomes an obsessive habit on the part of the person to look into the phone and use the internet as a routine activity. Long-term addiction can lead to many psychological factors such as withdrawal symptoms, depression, and general loss of awareness about the surroundings. For most people, the syndrome can be an underlying factor of an even more severe health condition that the person is trying to mask by whiling away his time with the internet and the mobile. Across the people who get affected by it, the common traits are the internet gaming and social media.
The addiction in today’s world:
The velocity of the disorder is yet to take on the world. As of now only two countries- South Korea and China have identified the disorder as a disease and treatments are administered. Europe and United States have just categorized it as a disorder and research is being done on it. The general treatment plan that exists now aims to understand the patient first. The psychiatric treatment tries to successfully make a minor bridge between the user and his addiction. From practicing different time of using the internet to suggesting new schedules and goals, the person can be slowly be eased backed into the society. The purpose of the psychiatric treatment is not to block the internet/ mobile usage completely but to limit them. A person is educated to get his satisfaction in other forms like relations ships, outdoor activities than to depend on the internet. Apart from it some depression reducing drugs can also be had at the insistence of the psychiatrist.
Professors argue that Internet addiction and mobile addiction is not exactly a disease. It simply determines an underlying medical condition of a person that needs more treatment. Though still in its early stages the medical world has made it clear that its contribution towards these mental addictions would increase by massive miles within the turn of the decade. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
Is there anybody you know who uses internet excessively in a day, like for playing video games, visiting porn sites, for online shopping, using Facebook or visiting different chatting sites again and again? Is his or her excessive internet usage interfering with daily life, interpersonal relationships, work, school, etc.? If the answer is yes, then maybe he or she is suffering from internet addiction.
Internet addiction is a growing social issue which is being debated worldwide. Internet has become an inseparable part of our daily living. Problematic use of internet can lead us to various mental and physical problems. Surveys in the United States and Europe have indicated alarming prevalence rates between 1.5 and 8.2 percentage respectively.There are some criteria to classify and diagnose internet addiction disorder.
The following 5 criteria are required to diagnose internet addiction:
The individual remains preoccupied with the internet (thinks about previous online activity or anticipate next online session)
Needs to use internet with increased amounts of time in order to achieve satisfaction.
Has made unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back, or stop internet use.
Is restless, moody, depressed, or irritable when attempting to cut down or stop internet use.
Has stayed online longer than originally intended.
Additionally, at least one of the following must be present:
Risked the loss of a significant relationship, job, educational or career opportunity because of the internet.
Lying to conceal the extent of involvement with the internet.
There are different models available to explain the causal factor of internet addiction disorder. A comprehensive model of the development and maintenance of internet addiction by Winkler & Dorsing which takes into account socio-cultural factors, biological vulnerabilities like genetic factors, abnormalities in neurochemical processes, psychological predispositions and specific attributes of the internet to explain excessive engagement in internet activities.
Apart from the above discussed points, there are two significant psychological issues commonly seen in this group - a strong tendency to escape from the reality is there among internet addicts. These individuals find difficulty in facing the real world , may be due to certain conflict issues which evoke stress and anxiety in them. Involvement with technology and internet becomes a way out to get rid of the discomfort. Another psychological issue is the tendency to control the environment. Humans have a tendency to get a control over everything and it is a fact that we can't control other persons and situations. Internet addicts are involved in this compulsive behaviour may be because it is easy to get a control of technology and internet than the real world which is more threatening for them.
Impact of problematic usage of internet on social relationships has become alarming nowadays. The habit of surfing the internet continuously can be destructive indirectly. Even it has been seen that people drift away to the point that he/she cannot interact with people. Constant preoccupation with internet is damaging one’s social skills. People are losing touch with their life and their self-identity. Nowadays people don’t make efforts to establish face to face conversations, as many easy ways are available over internet, like chat messengers, email, etc. The constant effects of addiction to internet can lead an individual to such situations that involve various mental and behavioural problems like depression, anxiety, substance abuse, etc. The absence of social interaction also can lead to various physical effects on individual’s brain chemistry and the general physical health.
There have been lot of debates on which treatment modality is effective for the treatment of Internet Addiction Disorder. In many cases, multimodal treatments have been employed. It has been seen that there are lots of underlying psychological problems found in internet addicts, like anxiety, depression, etc. In such cases medications are also considered to be effective.
Apart from pharmacological interventions, different psychotherapeutic models are found to be very helpful in treating internet addiction like cognitive therapy, behaviour therapy, art therapy, family therapy, skill building training, etc. Studies have found cognitive behavioural therapy, in particular, is very effective and can bring better outcome among this group.
The advent of smartphones has made mobile phones far more pervasive in your life. You can now remain connected with friends and family on social media for much longer, share your life events through pictures and videos, stay on track with professional information and generally remain updated about information from all around the world. However, this constant barrage of information and the over dependence on the smartphone for work and personal affairs has taken epidemic proportions where people are unable to log off. It has now been classified as a general anxiety disorder commonly known as nomophobia which is "the fear or being away from your cellphone".
Addiction and the validity of Nomophobia
While cell phone addiction is a valid disorder, the designation of nomophobia is loosely attributed to the anxiety disorders connected to not being able to use cell phones. It’s less of a phobia and more of an addiction as you cannot be without it. These can be better enumerated by the typical symptoms when not being able to use a mobile phone.
Symptoms of mobile phone addiction:
How mobile phone addiction affects people?
Different age groups are affected differently by mobile phone addiction; although some of the symptoms are fairly common. The effect tends to be far more severe on children and teenagers. Let’s look at how different age groups are affected by mobile phone addiction:
Children – Increasingly, younger children are carrying cellphones, especially smartphones. This tends to disrupt their lives as they get easily distracted and thus addicted to chatting with friends and connecting on social media. With children, appetite as well as mental development, is also hindered. In a study in the U.K., it was found that young children with mobile phones had less nutritional intake and thus had lesser and slower physical development than normal. It also affects their eyes. Direct exposure to blue light – like the one that comes from cellphone screens – can cause damage to the retina of the eye.
Adults – Adults, in general, tend to suffer more from disruptions at work as well as problems in their personal lives. Shortening of attention spans, irritable behavior, fatigue, inability to communicate, breakdowns in spousal relationships or even with friends and family are fairly common consequences. However, the biggest concern is the contribution to depression and anxiety which may run into non-mobile phone related extensive disorders as well.
Mobile Use During Driving And Safety Hazards
There is considerable concern that using a mobile phone while driving creates a significant accident risk, to the user and to other people on the road, because it distracts the driver, impairs their control of the vehicle and reduces their awareness of what is happening on the road around them. When using a hand-held mobile phone, drivers must remove one hand from the steering wheel to hold and operate the phone. They must also take their eyes off the road, at least momentarily, to pick up and put down the phone and to dial numbers.While using a hand-held phone, the driver must continue to simultaneously operate the vehicle (steer, change gear, use indicators, etc) with only one hand.
Some tips for de-addiction
Some easy tips that you can follow to start your de–addiction process are mentioned below –
Internet addiction is a very recent phenomenon, but is already a cause for concern. With the advent of various social networking websites, people are increasingly becoming addicted to the internet. Internet addiction disorder is often characterized by people inching to form an emotional attachment with people and activities, all of them online. You may enjoy connecting to people more over the virtual interface instead of the real world; this usually stems from an inability to establish real human contact.
The symptoms of internet addiction disorder are:
Internet addiction can gradually isolate you. You may develop an aversion to meeting and communicating with people in real life. This can impair your social skills and make you socially awkward. This disorder also create problems in relationships as it can reduce the time you spend interacting personally.
Internet addiction may also lead you to create online personas to evade low self-esteem issues. This actually aggravates the problem instead of solving it; can result in severe anxiety and depression. Withdrawal symptoms might result in anxiety, depression, irritation and loneliness. This disorder can lead to complications such as dry eyes, headaches, change in sleep patterns and subsequent problems in falling asleep. Back pain from sitting upright while you are on the internet is also very common problem. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
The most advanced and effective communication device in this century is mobile phone. Mobile phone is not only being used by the corporate or highly qualified professional. People from all type of social group have mobile phone in their hands now. Usage of the mobile phone is not increased only with all social groups but also with people of all age groups. Children are the more noticeable group as they are using cell phones of all types. A recent research study shows that children are really capable of using any advanced type of mobile phones even without any proper guidance. Though mobile phones are the effective mode of communication, it is a well known fact that it also has adverse side effects if being over used. The mobile phones emit shockwave radioactive radiations that affect the body in various manners.
Adverse effects of mobile phone usage:
Today's children are growing up in a radio-frequency environment that never existed in human history before. The radiation emitted by mobile phones and mobile phone masts can have adverse effects on children. Some include:
Mobile Phone Safety For Kids:
As a parent, you must take preventive measures to minimize your child's exposure to the harmful effects of mobile phones. These include:
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!