The internet as we know it has only been accessible for the last two decades. During that time it has become so pervasive that Millennials and other people younger than 30 don’t remember a time when the internet was not available. In two short decades, we have seen the internet industry boom and bust, and then boom again. We have seen generations of social media, websites and apps grow into million-dollar businesses, and seen them go bankrupt as well.
For a lot of people, they can no longer work or enjoy themselves without the internet. Their homes and offices have always on internet connection. When they go out, they prefer businesses with free wifi. Even when traveling, people rely on internet devices to navigate to where they are going. They rely on apps for dining suggestions, and for entertainment recommendations. The internet is so immersive that there comes a point you have to ask if you can live without the internet. This is the essence of internet addiction: there is the need to be always connected to the internet that you have withdrawal symptoms whenever you are offline.
Excessive use of the internet does not necessarily mean an addiction. There are a lot of jobs which require people to stare at computers for the whole of their shift. Internet addiction is a compulsion to go online for any of a number of reasons, including internet gaming, gambling, social media, videos, and blogging.
The following are common signs and symptoms of internet addiction:
1. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. This occurs due to the excessive use of the mouse or keyboard. Although this is quite common in programmers and data encoders, long hours spent browsing the internet can also cause this problem.
2. Backache and headaches. When a person sits for long hours without rest, backaches and headaches, as well as pain in the legs and calves would also occur. This is due to a lack of circulation and movement of the body. Although this is fairly common with clerks and other workers who spend their whole day sitting down, internet makes a person stationary and sitting while online.
3. Strained vision. Staring at the monitor for an extended time strains the eyes and causes blurry vision. This is also related to headaches due to being in front of the computer for long stretches of time. Workers are advised to stare at an object 20 feet away, for 20 seconds every 20 minutes. However, internet addicts don’t heed this advice.
4. Lack of sleep. Internet addicts go online at night, after work or school. They browse the web and look for something interesting. In doing so, they lose track of time, and lose sleep. There are different types of internet addiction, however, the activities are considered an addiction if these are done for extended hours on a daily basis.
5. Loss or gain in weight. The compulsive behavior brought about by internet addiction has a side-effect. Either the internet addicts don’t eat on time, or they eat too much junk food. They munch on chips and chocolate bars, as well as drink too much coffee or energy drinks.
The above are primary symptoms of internet addiction. There are other signs, including lack of human interaction, as well as the need to be always online. If you suspect that you, a friend or family member is addicted, you should take a simple test to confirm it.