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Technology and Internet Addiction: How to recognize it and recover from it

Jason Turtoga

TechyJar contains reviews that were written by industry experts and follow the strict reviewing standards, including ethical standards, that we have adopted. Such standards require that each review will take into consideration the independent, honest, and professional examination of the reviewer. That being said, we may earn a commission when a user completes an action using our links, at no additional cost to them. On listicle pages, we rank vendors based on a system that prioritizes the reviewer’s examination of each service but also considers feedback received from our readers and our commercial agreements with providers.

TechyJar contains reviews that were written by our experts, who examine the products in accordance with our professional standards. The reviews take into account the reviewers’ independent and honest evaluation of each product/service.

The reviews published on TechyJar are written by community reviewers that examine the products according to our strict reviewing standards. Such standards ensure that each review prioritizes the independent, professional and honest examination of the reviewer, and takes into account the technical capabilities and qualities of the product together with its commercial value for users. The rankings we publish may also take into consideration the affiliate commissions we earn for purchases through links on our website.

TechyJar is a user-focused website reviewing online privacy digital software such as antivirus, password managers, virtual private networks, parental controls, and other web services. Our professional researchers and technical product reviewers have been helping readers make informed decisions about how to start an online business and online privacy until 2023.

Jason Turtoga

TechyJar contains reviews that were written by industry experts and follow the strict reviewing standards, including ethical standards, that we have adopted. Such standards require that each review will take into consideration the independent, honest, and professional examination of the reviewer. That being said, we may earn a commission when a user completes an action using our links, at no additional cost to them. On listicle pages, we rank vendors based on a system that prioritizes the reviewer’s examination of each service but also considers feedback received from our readers and our commercial agreements with providers.

TechyJar contains reviews that were written by our experts, who examine the products in accordance with our professional standards. The reviews take into account the reviewers’ independent and honest evaluation of each product/service.

The reviews published on TechyJar are written by community reviewers that examine the products according to our strict reviewing standards. Such standards ensure that each review prioritizes the independent, professional and honest examination of the reviewer, and takes into account the technical capabilities and qualities of the product together with its commercial value for users. The rankings we publish may also take into consideration the affiliate commissions we earn for purchases through links on our website.

TechyJar is a user-focused website reviewing online privacy digital software such as antivirus, password managers, virtual private networks, parental controls, and other web services. Our professional researchers and technical product reviewers have been helping readers make informed decisions about how to start an online business and online privacy until 2023.

Can you spend your time without using the Internet? If not and you express unusual anger or frustration on asking to quit using the internet then like many other people across the world, you are also suffering from Internet Addiction.

It is a sad dilemma that despite the numerous benefits of the internet ranging from communicating and acquiring information to socializing and entertaining, its excessive use is harmful.

Therefore, there is an urgent need to not only realize the identification of this disorder but also adopt effective strategies to curb it. Internet Addiction not only affects the normal growth and development of a child but also tarnishes many relationships.

Embracing the severity of this problem and the need to address it urgently, TechyJar has provided a comprehensive guide on what Internet Addiction is, how it impacts your life, and what are the ways to tackle it effectively.

Let’s start the journey to free ourselves and our loved ones from this disorder.

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Internet Addiction Disorder - The History of Addictive Technology

Internet Addiction(IA) was realized in the mid-1990s. The theories explaining the etiology of IA have indicated that it has a biopsychosocial nature.

The term was first used by Young in 1998. In those days, individuals using the internet for more than 38 hours a week were regarded as suffering from IA.

Some initial studies indicated that this disorder is more prevalent among males that are highly introverted and educated. Whereas, some later studies revealed that this problem is more common among females belonging to the middle class who are usually housewives.

Now, this disorder has been included in the recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders(DSM-V) which means that it is classified as a disorder that needs further research and consideration.

You must be wondering how you would know whether you are suffering from IA or not. Then there are some common symptoms of this disorder.

  • Spending the majority of waking hours on the internet
  • Expressing anger when asked to stop using the internet
  • Telling a lie about using the internet
  • Hiding the use of the Internet

 

Let’s see how many of us are suffering from this disorder.

What Is Internet and Technology Addiction - Facts and Statistics!

Internet or technology addiction refers to an obsession with using different games, social media, or any other particular website or platform across the internet despite observing negative impacts.

The users generally need help to control their desire to use the internet whether it is gaming, texting, watching videos, or using social media platforms.

This uncontrolled impulsive behavior is primarily attributed to environmental, biological, social, and psychological factors. Let’s have a look at some interesting facts on internet addiction that will give you a recent picture of internet usage.

  • According to Gitnux, 61% of internet users worldwide are addicted to it and this internet addiction is prevalent among individuals of all ages
  • In the case of the US, Statista has indicated that a survey conducted in 2022 has informed that 48% of the individuals considered themselves addicted to internet usage
  • Similarly, Pew Research Centre has also declared that 30% of Americans are always online
  • The research has shown that individuals who are addicted to the internet report a higher level of anxiety(50%) and depression(44%) in comparison to those who don’t
  • Similarly, another study has pointed out that the possibility of mental stress has increased among college students due to easy access to Facebook and they report 7 times more depression

How Do You Know You Are Suffering from Internet Addiction - Symptoms of Internet Addiction

You must know whether you are anyone in your surrounding is suffering from internet addiction or not. You can find this by checking the symptoms portrayed by internet users. Some of the most common symptoms shod by individuals with internet addiction disorder are described below

  • Increasing anxiety and depression
  • Feel guilty about using the internet
  • Unable to follow a regular work schedule or prioritize the tasks
  • Do not enjoy regular works
  • Lack of social interaction
  • Prefer isolation
  • Unable to realize the value of time
  • Unpredictable moods on
  • Excessively worrisome attitude when unable to access the internet
  • Decreases the productivity

In addition to these, individuals suffering from internet addiction also report some physical fitness

  • Neck pain and backache
  • Persistent headaches
  • Weakness and pain in hands and arms
  • In some cases, numbness within arms and hands is also reported due to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Disturbed sleep cycle
  • Absence of nutrition
  • Inadequate personal hygiene
  • Dryness within the eyes and vision issues due to excessive screen time
  • Excessive weight loss or gain

Types of Internet Addiction

Internet addiction is manifested in different forms. Let’s discuss these forms in detail

● Information Addiction

The first and foremost use of the internet is to acquire information, however, the excess of everything is bad. The same is the case over here.

Though the internet offers a wide range of information and data on a variety of subjects, however, this opportunity may turn out to be an overwhelming desire to collect and establish data.

This desire sometimes leads to compulsive and obsessive tendencies and forces individuals to gather information on every aspect that is even not relevant to them or their jobs.

Consequently, it only hampers the regular work schedule but may cause low productivity and termination from jobs.

● Video game addiction

Another important use of the internet that has become very popular nowadays among individuals of all ages is gaming.

You can not only find all classic games across the internet very easily but some new games interest all people.

Some of the games are paid while others are entirely free. The wide availability of games has made the majority of users addicted to them and they spend most of their time playing their games whether they are at the office, at university.

● Phone addiction

On the other hand, some people possess a compulsive desire and impulse to use mobile all the time without any significant need.

The majority of people report this kind of addiction because of having an Android or smartphone and the wide availability of the internet across hospitals, colleges, homes, and even shopping malls.

If you have not heard about this term before then let me tell you that all people who have an excessive fear of losing their mobile or those who get extremely worried about not getting online only after a few hours are suffering from this addiction.

● Social media addiction

Social media platforms are the most widely used forums across the internet. The recent data has confirmed that as of 2023, total social media users in the US are estimated at 302.35 million. In other words, 90% of US people are active social media users.

This means that whenever any individual is online, there is more than a 90% chance that they are using social media. This is the reason that the majority of internet users are suffering from this addiction even without knowing it.

Social media addiction is overly dependence on social media platforms. The individuals suffering from this addiction cannot control themselves and irresistibly spend most of their waked hours sharing photographs and socializing with their friends.

● Porn addiction

Another kind of addiction associated with the use of the internet is porn addiction. This kind of addiction involves watching inappropriate and unethical porn videos across the internet. This kind of addiction is usually observed among teens and middle-aged individuals.

The major reason behind the increasing incidence of this addiction is again the wide availability of the internet and increased access to smartphones. The Pew Research Centre has revealed that on average 95% of Teens in the US have access to smartphones and more than 45% of them use the internet uninterruptedly.

● Addiction to Auction and Chance Games

Participating in auction websites and chance games is another form of addiction that is becoming famous among individuals of all ages.

The increasing popularity of these websites is because of multiple reasons. These reasons may include the excitement of people on winning bids, easy bidding features on auction websites, wide popularity among friends and family upon winning the bid, and easy access to the internet.

Some of the prominent symptoms of this addiction include placing absurd bids to achieve the required level of excitement, worrying about auctions all the time, concealing the idea of participating in bids, and feeling restless when trying to quit this habit.

Are you also suffering from this addiction? If yes, do not worry we are going to tell you solutions as well, so, keep reading.

● Streaming addiction

Streaming addiction refers to watching different types of content via online videos. The rising popularity of this form of addiction is again the free access to these videos on different platforms like YouTube, Twitch, or Netflix.

● Shopping Addiction

Nowadays e-stores and different websites act as virtual shopping malls for the majority of shoppers.

The trend of online shopping has witnessed a significant boom after corona pandemic. Since then a large number of people prefer online shopping due to convenience and easiness.

Despite this, a large number of people develop an addictive behavior towards online shopping and cannot resist whenever visit such websites or e-stores.

The most common trait exhibited by these individuals is a sense of satisfaction and achievement in buying something and an uneasy feeling about refraining from shopping.

What are the effects of Internet Addiction?

Have you understood different forms of internet addiction? Once you are done with this, it is also very important to understand the impacts of these addictions on you and your body. Let’s see how these addictions affect us.

● Mental Effects

The most prominent and widely discussed impact of internet addiction is mental effects. The excessive usage of the internet has proven to place significant impacts on health since Young first introduced this term in the mid-1990s.

The majority of prior studies have revealed that the compulsive use of the internet is directly associated with numerous mental health disorders like impulsiveness, inadequate sleep, depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, mood swings, anxiety, and an increased incidence of suicide. 

On the other hand, another study has revealed that the impacts of internet addiction on mental health have also been proven clinically.

The study has found that excessive usage of the internet affects the part of the brain that is responsible for cognitive functioning and emotional control and management while decision-making.

Some other studies have also highlighted the impacts of this disorder on the white and grey matter of the brain which may lead to brain damage and inadequate brain functions.

● Depression

Depression is one of the pronounced forms of mental health effects observed widely among internet users. This mental health impact has been discussed separately because of its increased prevalence among individuals suffering from internet addiction in comparison to other forms of mental health disorder.

Here, it is very important to understand that depression, anxiety, and stress are not only the consequent impact of avoiding internet usage but are also experienced while using the internet.

The depression reported during the use of the internet is primarily because of negative remarks received on social media platforms, inability to share or upload any story, failure across auction websites, and interruptions in the internet.

It is imperative to highlight that depression is also reported when these individuals are asked to either reduce or culminate their usage of the internet.

The studies have confirmed that there is a three times more possibility of depression and anxiety symptoms among individuals relying heavily on internet usage in comparison to others.

● Shyness and Social Anxiety

The research studies have revealed that there are increasing chances of developing internet addiction among shy people due to defects in coping and cognitive capabilities. Whereas on the other hand, some other studies have revealed that excessive or compulsive use of the internet is also one of the major reasons behind the shyness of an individual.

In addition to this, social anxiety is another mental disorder whose incidence is greater in individuals who spend most of their time on the Internet. The studies have found that individuals with social anxiety generally possess comorbidities like depression, substance abuse, and suicide ideas.

The studies have confirmed a statistically significant relationship between the onset of social anxiety disorder and the usage of the internet.

● Disturbed Family Life

Another important impact of internet addiction is observed in the family and personal life of internet users. The obsession with the use of the internet evades the users to spend quality time with their spouses, family, and friends.

The prior research studies have also confirmed people who have increased dependence on the Internet and online platforms usually have a disturbed family life and family stress is one of the most common issues faced by these people and their families.

Similarly, some other studies have also indicated that parenting and family life are disturbed significantly due to internet addiction disorder, therefore, it needs to be addressed at the earliest.

● Decreased Work Productivity

The availability of the Internet is considered to affect work productivity both positively and negatively. All of you know that the accessibility of the internet at the workplace not only enables employees to do the assigned work effectively but also coordinate with teammates. However, the excessive and irrelevant use of the internet can pose negative impacts on the productivity of employees.

The statistics have shown that every one in five employees are distracted from work due to social media platforms. In other words, internet addiction not only influences the user’s mental health and relations but also undermines his/her working abilities and seriously affects productivity outcomes.

The studies have proclaimed that users spend the majority of their office time on the internet either using social media platforms.

Who is at risk of Internet Addiction?

The Internet is used by individuals of all ages, therefore, any one of them using it excessively can develop an addictive attitude towards it and be equally susceptible to serious consequences of this disorder.

Let’s see how kids, teens, adults, and older adults risk their lives due to this disorder.

● Kids

Kids who use the internet for a longer time usually access it via their smartphones. Therefore, most of the time they are either sitting or lying and are not involved in any physical activity. Consequently, the tendency of obesity is greater among such kids as compared to others.

Moreover, due to longer screen time, their sleep cycle is usually disturbed and in the worst cases, they may report sleeping disorders or insomnia. Moreover, depression, anxiety, fatigue, headaches, and irritability are some other risks the kids may face due to this disorder.

● Teens

This age group is usually fond of social media platforms, therefore, the majority of teens are addicted to the internet because of excessive reliance on these platforms.

It is a sad dilemma that children of this age prefer to talk to their friends on social media platforms instead of socializing with their families. Consequently, they are at risk of having disturbed family lives.

Moreover, the irresistible usage of these platforms also influences their ability to focus on their studies and seriously affects their academic performance and grades.

Above all, some teenagers are addicted to watching porn videos and sometimes also get indulged in illicit sex activities which not only risk their health but also endanger their professional careers.

● Adults and Older Adults

Adults having an obsession with using the internet either to check their social media accounts or auction updates are at risk of running their lives due to depression, anxiety, and decreased work productivity.

Moreover, they rarely spend time socializing or doing any other healthy activity which seriously affects their critical thinking and decision-making abilities.

How to Recover From Internet Addiction?

If you or your family member are suffering from this disorder, do not worry you can address it easily with the help of these strategies. Let’s see what are these

1. Build a Plan

Stopping yourself from using the internet cannot occur overnight, therefore, you will have to deal with it strategically.

Considering this mind, the first step that you will have to take is to build up a plan for yourself in which you will decide how you will slowly reduce the number of hours spent on the internet.

This plan may vary depending on the extent of the disorder and the nature of the websites or platforms mostly visited.

For instance, if you are addicted to social media platforms, then you can limit their usage by mandating yourself to see your social media accounts once or twice a day.

On the other hand, if you are addicted to auction websites, then you should discourage yourself from participating in different bids.

2. Search for New Hobbies

The second strategy through which you can distract yourself from using the internet is looking for new hobbies that could interest you and divert your attention.

For instance, if you love music you could always start listening to some good singers or you could start learning to play your favorite instrument.

3. Spend Time with Your Family

Family is one of the strongest institutions within our society and acts as a great support especially when you are going through tough times. 

You can always share your irritability with your father, mother, or siblings and try to overcome it by spending a good time with them. For instance, you can cook something new with your mother or plan a day out with your family.

Moreover, spending time with your family will open up your mind and enable you to think beyond the world of the Internet.

4. Start Exercise

Another important strategy that could help you to come out of this addiction is exercise or physical activity.

You can join any club within your community or start going for a walk in a nearby park or jogging track. Exercise or physical activity will not help you to overcome the negative health impacts of internet addiction but will also enable you to make new friends.

5. Consult Therapist

If all of the above-mentioned strategies do not work then instead of giving up you should consult a therapist. As this kind of addiction if not addressed timely can ruin your life by affecting nearly every aspect of your life.

The therapist will help you to address both mental and physical symptoms and will also inspire you to come back to normal life by restricting internet usage.

Final Words

To conclude, the Internet itself is not a negative technology, however, its excessive or compulsive use may make users addicted to it. Consequently, users affect every segment of their life whether it is studies, work, family, or social life.

Internet addiction can take various forms depending upon the type of platform you use the most. However, all forms of internet addictions are treatable and you can get rid of this addictive attitude by implementing the suggested strategies.

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