The Internet has made life a lot easier by making information more accessible to all and creating connections with different people around the world. However, it has also led a lot of people to spend too much time in front of the computer, so much so that it becomes the center of their lives. This can lead to an Internet or computer addiction.

Internet addiction, also known as internet addiction disorder, is a growing phenomenon that draws more users as new advancements in communications technology become available. Like most other addictions, the dangerous effects of internet addiction take the form of undesirable changes in a person’s life.

People who spend hours on end on the Internet eventually start to see its effects in their lives. The effects of internet addiction gradually minimize the people, activities and pursuits that occupied a person’s time before the Internet became an issue. The effects of internet addiction can also cause real damage to a person’s mental and physical health.

The Internet has taught us that everything and everyone is available at the touch of a button. Gone are the days of relying on “snail mail” to connect with people far away.  While I’m thankful for the increased technology and how it helps us connect with people around the world, I worry about our increasing dependence on instant gratification. When we know that people are able to send and receive texts and emails instantly, we inadvertently impose unrealistic expectations on others and on ourselves. We live in a technological age where people expect others to drop everything to respond to a text, email or tweet.

Internet addiction affects young people in many ways, from sleep deprivation, to social withdrawal, to poor grades. Children who are allowed unrestricted access to the Internet can encounter harmful information that may be dangerous to their wellbeing. Cyber bullying is a serious issue among young people, and it can create lasting mental and emotional effects. Internet predators should also be a concern. Many of these individuals are extremely tech-savvy and constantly on the lookout for new ways to connect with children.

Numerous studies have showed associations between Internet addiction and mental health problems, such as depression and psychiatric symptoms, among adolescents. However, information on the effects of Internet addiction on the dietary behavior of adolescents is limited. As with most addictions, the longer a person “uses’ the more severe symptoms become. The effects of internet addiction can leave a person oblivious to unmet needs for social interaction. As symptoms of depression increase, the likelihood of alcohol and/or drug use increases. Add to this the overall lack of exercise a person gets and physical health starts to decline in the process.

 

by: Ammara Siddique