Internet addiction has grown in recent years with the advent of social media and constant access on phones, laptops and other devices. The average amount of time spent on the internet is approximately three hours per day. In spite of the main benefits, signs of internet addiction in children and adults are becoming more widely recognized and common. Learn more about the 3 most common internet addictions and what to watch for in children and adults.
Social Media Addiction
What may start out as innocently checking in now and again to see what friends and family are up to can erupt into an addiction where a person checks social media every spare moment, prioritizing Facebook or other channels over face to face time with friends and family. Social media users may become consumed by what other people are doing rather than what is happening in real life. Individuals may become attached to whether a post is ‘liked’ enough or received well by people who see the post. One physiological reason for this is that the brain releases dopamine which can hook a person to a stimulus, in this case the internet. Compulsively checking mobile devices while driving or at a movie theatre demonstrates a person who is neglecting real-life relationships for online friendships which signifies serious addiction.
Obsessive gambling, gaming, shopping, auctions and stock trading are just a few net compulsions people may experience. The internet makes activities available day and night without limitations experienced in real life, or the risk of being caught. Beating a game’s high score or seeking peer admiration can lead fuel to an obsessive behavior. One’s entire social life can exist entirely online while actual relationships suffer. Compulsions promise immediate gratification but result in negative consequences, in some cases maxed out credit cards, failed relationships, employment challenges or failing to provide for one’s own needs including food.
The internet provides access to all a person could want or need but it may cause an individual to obsessively stay up-to-date with the latest news, gossip or technology. Information overload can become a compulsive habit such as web surfing, browsing and researching. People may become addicted to information online thereby neglecting daily activities, becoming less productive and experiencing a breakdown in organizational processes and interpersonal communication.
Signs of Addiction
Some ways to know if internet addiction affects an individual is to notice signs of behavior when logging off. A person may need to return online, to Facebook or chat groups immediately to feel better and can experience a decrease in positive moods or feel overwhelmed when not checking in with a game or online group. One’s healthy and relationships should not suffer due to an internet addiction and there is help available for those who struggle to achieve healthy balance.
Addiction takes all forms. Help is available for those who take the first step in seeking treatment. Call us to find out how you can move forward in the recovery journey from internet addiction.