Internet Addiction, a real thing?
Hmm… So, I opened Quora for the first time today. I know I am too late to the party but better late than never, eh?
I was going through a few questions when the questions drifted to various addictions. (I have no clue how I reached there. For the record, I have no addictions except, perhaps for the one I am going to talk about).
Just looking at the symptoms of addictions I can say that the basic definition means that when it begins to hurt your work, your life and you cannot stop it at any time you want.
At least in the case of Alcohol and Drugs, it means that. Cigarettes too are addictive, probably more than alcohol but it is less damaging than alcohol in the sense it doesn’t make a man lose his self. Though, cigarettes do defy the above definition in some ways. A person does not get crippled even if he becomes an addict to smoke.
As, I was reading through all this, I got curious about internet addiction. It is a real thing according to some, a myth according to others.
My curiosity is on three fronts regarding this matter-
- Is it real or myth according to people?
- What kind of addiction it is- Alcohol or Smoke?
- How to know you are an addict?
The first question is not whether it is a myth or not. It is whether people think it is or not. Many times, perceptions have equal or even more impact that real thing. So, if people believe that it is a real thing then much behaviour will be attributed to it. Like, it is believed that video games make kids violent (without conclusive proof). Placebo effect is well known. So, this is my question to people-
Do you believe that there is such a thing like Internet addictions?
I can share my experience with you- I have felt that I could not live without internet for a single day. I have panicked and gotten irritated when I saw that I will not have internet 24/7 and but as I realised that I was feeling (what might be called pangs of addictions) I worked on stop being dependent on it. It was a long time back and now I have too much internet to know whether I am addicted or not. I always am connected. It will be only when I am not connected for extended period of time (I means in hours and not days), that I can tell you my current status. Though, I feel that now I have matured.
The second question is- Is this addiction life shattering?
For example, I felt the addiction only when I could not have internet. So, the question really becomes whether a person becomes inaccessible when he has internet. In my opinion if a person’s job is related to internet it might not be such a big deal but if a person’s job needs outside world interaction, it would hamper his or her work.
This is if such a person has no family. Imagine, any person with family not giving anyone time because he is stuck to his computer. So, in a way I believe that internet addiction is more like alcohol. It wastes one’s time and occupies him or her and affects the life.
The third question is- How to recognize?
I felt that I was an addict and thus I tried to break free of my shackles. But now, I do not know whether I am an addict because I always have internet, I live alone and my work consists of using internet. So, there is no way I will realise it unless I am devoid of internet – Not usually possible as it will affect my work as well.
Also, people who are addicts are in denial.
Still, I will put a few symptoms if you relate-
- Can’t go a day without using internet, whether it is for facebook, youtube or even Wikipedia.
- In its absence feel irritated at other things (very important).
- Getting it back gives a sense of relief that one gets from eating or drinking. Basically feels like fulfillment of physical need.
There are more but they are more or less a subset of this. So, if you relate to one you might be in the initial stage. All means that you are in trouble. That is all my opinion of course. There might not be such a thing as Internet addiction at all.
I would live to hear from you… What do you think? Is Internet Addiction a real thing for you?