What Is Internet Addiction?
Internet addiction is a relatively new behavioral addiction and can be difficult to identify. Because the internet is used often throughout daily life, either to keep in contact with loved ones or as part of a person’s job, it can be hard to differentiate between safe and unsafe levels of engagement. Internet addiction can present itself in a number of unique ways, depending on the individual. When considering internet addiction, it is more beneficial to measure one’s intentions and relationship with their use of the internet and media rather than by only gauging by the number of hours an individual is in front of a screen. Internet addiction encompasses several different things, from social media, how they engage with video games, compulsive online shopping, and more. As a result, the first step towards understanding if an internet addiction has developed would be to look at one’s own practices regarding their use of screens, as well as their expectations regarding these various kinds of media.
Various Kinds of Internet Addiction
Internet addiction can mean a few different things, depending on the individual and their attitudes surrounding any particular kind of media. Excessively playing video games to the point that one’s physical and mental health begins to suffer is just one common way in which internet addiction can manifest. However, others may see their engagement with social media or blogging as a daily need of theirs and may even begin to ascribe their own sense of self-worth and validation to social media. Individuals that find themselves compulsively checking their messages, emails, or blog for likes or comments may be showing signs of an unhealthy relationship with the internet.
Others may use the internet as a way to compulsively shop and find themselves scouring online stores and impulse buying non-essential items due to convenience. Those suffering from internet addiction may find it incredibly difficult to turn off many of their devices and may even find themselves checking their social media feeds at inopportune times throughout the day. Even thinking about one’s engagement with the internet can begin to cause distractions and a person may find themselves unable to focus on regular tasks or responsibilities until they have checked messages or reached an arbitrary point in a video game. These are some examples of what can be considered an internet addiction.