With the advance of technology and internet availability, online addiction has become a growing problem. It is estimated that 18 million people suffer from some level of online addiction and this statistic is only increasing due to the mostly unlimited access to various online activities. Online addiction can adversely affect family, work, and social lives, as well as school performance.
Online addiction can be classified as any online activity carried out more often than one should, and for longer than what is typically seen as normal. This type of addiction develops gradually and can be compared to alcoholism in that the person can become dependent on it and suffer from withdrawal symptoms such as irritability and depression.
What Causes Online Addiction?
Online addiction is caused by a mix of biological, psychological, and social factors. People who struggle with feelings of low self-esteem, an inability to cope with stress, or a need to escape from reality may get hooked on online activities. For some people, comfort can be found in their virtual world where they can freely express their feelings and opinions without fear of rejection or judgment.
Social media platforms have become a major contributor to online addiction. Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram have all been linked to higher risks of addiction, as users become dependent on others for validation and validation of their digital lives.
What Are the Effects of Online Addiction?
Online addiction can greatly impact quality of life and cause a number of physical and psychological problems. Some of the most common effects of online addiction include:
• Poor academic performance
• Difficulty concentrating
• Reduced physical activity
• Poor sleeping habits
• Easily distracted
• Depression and anxiety
• Increased loneliness
• Feelings of hopelessness
• Feeling antisocial
• Hungry and use food as an emotional comfort
How Can You Overcome Online Addiction?
If you suspect you are suffering from online addiction, there are steps you can take to overcome the problem:
1. Acknowledge the problem: Before you can take steps to overcome your online addiction you must first acknowledge it exists. An honest reflection and assessment of your online activities can give you an understanding of how deeply you are addicted.
2. Set boundaries: Once you have acknowledged your online addiction you can begin to set boundaries for your online activities. Set a daily amount of time that you can dedicate to your online activities and stick to it.
3. Find healthy outlets: Spend time away from computers and mobile devices. Instead, engage in recreational activities, such as going for a walk or playing a sport, in order to get the physical and mental exercise you need.
4. Seek out support: It can be beneficial to talk to friends and family about your addiction and find out the ways in which they can support you in overcoming it. Additionally, seek help from a therapist or support group.
No one should suffer from the effects of online addiction, as it can be detrimental to your physical and mental health. With an understanding of the condition, you can take steps to break free. Be honest with yourself, be disciplined in setting boundaries, and make sure to engage in healthy activities away from technology. It can be a difficult road but with support from friends, family, or a support group, you can break free from the grip of online addiction and get your life back under control.