The advent of the internet has made our everyday life a lot easier by ensuring that more information is made accessible to all. This in part has ensured that people from all over the globe can connect with others hence turning the world into a small village.' This, however, has not come without some challenges. Over the recent years, more people are being drawn into the internet and spend too much of their time on computers making it the center of their lives. What they still fail to understand is that the continuous use of the internet can lead a person to addiction.
Internet addiction is described as an excessive use of computers and the internet. It is characterized by the excessive preoccupations or behaviors that concern the use of computers and access to the internet and has the potential to cause impairments or distress. The users tend to develop an emotional attachment to activities and online friends and other activities that they may create on their computer screens. They tend to enjoy the aspects that come with the internet which gives them a platform where they can meet entertain and interchange ideas using chat rooms, social networking websites or even the so-called virtual communities.
Other users especially the teenagers spend most of their time researching on topics in which they feel interested in or those which they cannot ask their guardians. Just like any other form of addiction, those with the problem of internet addiction find some sort of consolation by using the virtual fantasy world as a form of connection to people in the real world through the social media sites via the internet. They embrace this platform and substitute it with real life connection which would have otherwise been impossible to achieve in normal life.
Internet addictions are characterized by certain symptoms that include anxiety, depression, dishonesty, lack of sense of time, isolation, laziness and the inability to adhere to time schedules. The physical symptoms include blurred or strained vision, sleep apnea, weight loss or gain, backaches, and headaches. They have also been found to result in personal, academic, family and career problems for their users. Individuals spending most time on the internet tend to be socially isolated, and others seem to have lost touch with reality. They create false personas and profiles in which they have their identities altered pretending to be someone else whom they are not in real life. Many of the addicts who have attempted to quit the internet have experienced withdrawals such as mood swings, procrastination, anxiety, boredom, and depression.
The solutions to Internet addiction usually lie within the user himself. First, they should learn to exercise self-control. This they can achieve by blocking out the websites that they consider distractive for a given period of time. Setting boundaries at an early point in time is very important as the user gets to decide on the number of hours they expect to spend on the internet. People should also modify their routine so that their priorities are more than just that which is linked to computers. Also, it is important to find other forms of recreational activities that do not involve the use of computers. The users should also track their progress on the amounts of time that they spend using their computers or surfing online. In the case of chronic addictions, they can seek for professional help or therapies.
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