Most of us use the internet on a daily basis to stay in touch with friends, family and coworkers, to buy items or to find information. The internet has something to offer for pretty much anyone of any age. At what point does daily internet use become internet obsession?
More and more time is being spent online and less and less time is being spent in working relationships at home, school or work. Social areas of life are suffering as a result of the internet as many people find it faster, easier or more enjoyable to spend the time that would otherwise be spent in social situations, online.
Compulsive email checking, social networking, game playing or shopping online can devastate a person’s life. This is internet addiction, a devastating obsession with the internet that causes a struggle with daily life issues similar to an addiction to drugs or alcohol.
How Internet Addiction and Obsessive Social Networking can Kill Social Lives
Internet addiction begins as a safe way to socially interact online with others. Social networking on sites such as Twitter, Facebook or other social sites can ease the anxiety that is otherwise felt when an individual has similar encounters in a “real” life situation in public or face to face. Just as many people drink socially to reduce the anxiety that is felt in some social situations, social network can also reduce the anxiety by allowing similar social interactions to occur without being in public.
The problem arises in the fact that social networking has stepped in and reduced the amount of time that people spend in real life social situations. The internet is a way for people who are otherwise shy or anxious in real life social situations to maintain anonymity making online interactions easy to maintain and share. As a result, internet addiction causes individuals to remain in their “comfort zone” and refrain from public social interaction that is stimulating and productive.
Internet Addiction Affects More than we Think
Internet addiction is still in the early wave and there is some controversy as to whether or not the internet can create a full on addiction that actually requires medical treatment. It is estimated that as many as 14% of Americans with internet access are addicted. Internet addiction causes difficulty for individuals to stay away from the computer or to remain offline for more than a few days.
Although there are some extreme cases of internet addiction that have resulted in people completely forgetting what they are supposed to be doing, neglecting their children or daily needs, the majority of internet addicts result in failed relationships. Such failed relationships result when a partner refuses to spend time with the family or to otherwise take part in activities because they are too busy online. Adults may miss work or not perform at work because they are doing other things online or students may fail to do homework or miss school because they would rather do other things online – this is internet addiction.
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