When Should You Worry About Internet Addictions?


by Barbara J. Feldman on February 1, 2008

The Internet is growing fast. There are over one billion people in the world who have access to the Internet and research suggests that one out of every eight of those users are addicted to the Internet. If you have a computer with Internet access and people who use it you should be concerned with Internet addictions. There are many different types of Internet addictions but most will show the same signs or symptoms. Here are some suggestions for when you should worry about Internet addictions.

There are many different problems that can come from using the Internet. These problems have a potential of becoming an addiction. These problems would include:

Personal neglect including eating and hygiene. They are more concerned with being on the Internet then they are with their personal well being.
A compulsion to be on the Internet no matter where they are. They could be at work or school and have the need to be on the Internet.
Becoming less social. Avoiding previous friends or family and increasing their isolation for more time on the Internet.
Depression can also become a problem for excessive internet users. Their only world becomes the Internet.
Marital or other family problems can be a sign of an Internet addiction. There may be other reasons for the problems but if one of the people involved is using the Internet a lot then the Internet may be the problem.
Gambling on the Internet is a growing problem. If money is missing or an Internet user never seems to have enough then there may be an Internet addiction.
Using the Internet at work or school. Productivity at work will diminish and grades will fall.

Increased lying to family, co-workers, or friends. This includes how much time they are on the computer and what they are doing while on the Internet.

Some 20% or more of people will come across at least one of these problems. Having just one of the problems does not mean that there is definitely an addiction but it is cause for worry and to gain some help if needed. The sooner you get help the better off you will be if indeed it is an addiction.

There are other warning signs of Internet addictions that would cause you to worry. These would be more physical ailments for the Internet user.
Carpal tunnel syndrome from excessive Internet surfing and typing. This is a pain from the wrists up to the shoulder.
Dry eyes from always looking at a computer screen.
Backaches from being in a chair for long periods of time and not always using the correct posture.
Severe headaches including migraines from excessive computer use.
Health problems related to poor nutrition or lack of hygiene because of being preoccupied with staying on the Internet.
Sleep disturbances from excessive Internet use. Waking up and checking the Internet or staying up late and waking early to be on the Internet are causes of sleep disturbances.

If you or someone you or someone you know has one or more of these symptoms it could be a cause for worry. Not all of these symptoms are a guarantee that there is a problem but they are warning signs that need to be watched. Cut back on the time spent on the Internet to see if some of the physical symptoms diminish.

Internet addictions are growing and are a real problem. Monitor yourself and anyone else in your family who you think may have an Internet addiction. If your life or their life seems to be ruled by the Internet then there should be a great need for worry. The Internet, like any other modern technology, should be used in moderation. Try to keep a good balance in the lives of you and your family and you will not have a great worry for Internet addictions.

This article is not meant to replace the advice of a professional. If you suspect you or someone you know has an Internet addiction, seek help from experienced professionals.


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