Online Addictions or Internet Addiction Disorder:
The global average of internet users is around 51%. In United States, over 60% of 13 to 17 year-olds spend more than two hours a day on Social Networking Sites (SNS). About 69% of seventh grade students claim to have experience cyber bullying, which is a bad and sometimes as aggressive as face-to-face bullying.
As the Internet rapidly moved into homes, schools, and businesses, early studies estimated that nearly six percent of users suffered from Internet addiction. Related studies suggested that the disorder is associated with social, academic, familial, and occupational impairment. This is termed as Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD) is, also know by the term “Pathological Internet Use” (PIU). Some of the developing countered are also facing this problem as the internet usages has surged. For example usage of internet is an average 53% in India, China score 36% and Japan 39%.
Like addition to tobacco, alcohol and drugs, addition to the internet and social media is increasing. children and adolescents sacrifice needed hours of sleep to spend time online and withdraw from family and friends to escape into a comfortable online world. Its due to growing digital penetration has got a huge section of the youth hooked on the internet, this addiction is emerging as a major problem. About 24.6% of adolescents has internet addiction problem. Kids aged 8 and below spend about 2 hours and 48 minutes on an average daily on cell phones.
Online time alone cannot be an indicator of being addicted or engaging in compulsive behavior. Time must be taken in context with other factors, such as whether you’re a college student, whether it’s a part of your job, whether you have any pre-existing conditions, whether you have problems or issues in your life which may be causing you to spend more time online e.g., using it to “get away” from life’s problems, a bad marriage, difficult social relations, etc. So talking about whether you spend too much time online without this important context is useless.
While the internet has its positives like posting comments, chatting, self-expression, sharing opinions with others, connecting the people, easy access to services, making online purchases. It also has its negatives like online gaming, gambling, pornography, rumor-mongering and other nefarious purposes.
Addition to the digital that result in reduced creativity poor memory, disrupted sleep pattern, restlessness, aggressive social media behavior etc., too much screen timing causing some serious dangers of illnesses like obesity, depression, isolation, apathy to work, negligence to work, neurasthenia’ (‘tired nerves’), schizophrenia (A disorder that affects a person’s ability to think, feel and behave clearly), sleep problems, continuous headache, suicidal tendencies, and irritability.
The most characteristic symptom being excessive ‘non-essential’ time spent online. Internet addicts develop urges to use the Internet when offline and computer usage significantly preoccupies their time and thoughts. Subjects with IA repeatedly try to cut back, however they can feel anxious, irritable, or depressed when not online. A sense of tension or arousal may develop before logging on to the Internet, with a sense of relief obtained once successfully logged on. More important, the excessive Internet usage leads to significant impairment in work, school, family or social domains.
There are clear medicines, replacement therapies and rehabilitation centers for de-addictions to alcohol, tobacco and drugs. But it’s difficult to detect internet addiction and there are not clear medicines or replacement therapy for internet/digital detox. In the United State and some other counties, centers for internet addiction has been opened. Doctors say the way to reduce addiction in children and adults is to open conversation channels. Parents should not be aggressive and angry when they see the signs of Internet addiction in their child and take the screens away as a form of punishment, rather they should become friends.
There are some researchers have suggested using the specialized Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) as the treatment of choice for Internet addiction and is the first evidenced-based Digital Detox™ recovery program. The Internet Addiction Test (IAT) is a validated testing instrument that studies symptoms of Internet addiction such as a user’s anxiety with net use, ability to control over online use, extent of hiding or lying about online usage, and continued online use despite consequences of the behavior.
To conclude, every person should spend more time with their children, nature and social environment whenever they get the time out of their daily work life. People should start doing digital detoxification as much as they can by avoiding going digital for everything. Also governments and internet service providers (ISP) should control the content and unnecessary stuffs that coming into internet which causing people to attract and addict to screens.