Back in first grade, I can remember the first time I was introduced to a computer. Needless to say, my life would be forever changed as I sat before a tope coloured electronic machine. I remember being confused, yet so utterly amazed at how many button’s there were to click and play with. As you can imagine, being a first grader, I naturally gravitated towards the paint program and proceeded to draw squiggly, colourful lines. Little did I know that there was an untapped world just waiting to be discovered through a little program called Internet Explorer. A world where you can essentially transform yourself into anyone or anything you like. Whether you chose to escape through a virtual online game or purchase a new pair of shoes off of Amazon, there are countless things to do on the internet. It may be this very fact that has lead doctor’s to believe that a new form of addiction is on the rise; internet addiction.
What Classifies as an Internet or Computer Addiction?
Seeing as how the internet has a multitude of ways to keep you occupied, they’re are different sub-categories of internet addictions.
- Cybersex Addiction : Someone who suffers from this kind of internet addiction excessively uses pornography, or uses adult chatrooms for sexual pleasure which ultimately leads to diminishing physical sexual relationships.
- Cyber Relationship Addiction : Someone who suffers from this kind of addiction will depend heavily on internet relationships via social media rather than real-life relationships
- Net Compulsions : Someone who suffers from this type of internet addiction will have problems with online gambling, trading of stocks, or auction sites such as Ebay or Quibids
- Information Overload : Someone who will extensively search data bases and information based sites constantly
- Computer Addiction : This addiction deals with the online gaming side of the internet. Excessive game play leading to deterioration of all real world relationships
Personally I think that all of the sub-categories listed above are equally addictive but the most common one that pops up in our minds when we here computer addiction would be online gaming. I never really got into online games (besides NHL 98, which I continually played until the disc finally gave out) but I can see how they could be addicting, spending countless hours, working towards set goals installed throughout the game.
Social Media & It’s Role In Computer Addictions
Grade 9 geography class. Thats where I was first introduced to Facebook. I was sitting in front of this girl I had liked when she tapped me on the shoulder suddenly and asked if I had Facebook? I was perplexed because not only could I believe she was talking to me but I had no idea what she was talking about. She began to tell me how the site works, with everyone having an online profile and being able to upload photos/ videos as well as share status updates of what they’re doing. Needless to say, I couldn’t wait for the end of the day to rush home so I could make my account and start my cyber life like most of my classmates had already done. When I look back on it all, I wonder how everything would have turned out if Facebook wasn’t around? I mean, we use it for almost everything from sharing pictures, new songs, or even companies advertising through it. It has almost become an extension of ourselves; another limb if you will. Well, because basically that’s what it is. If someone deactivated your Facebook account one day against your will, you would feel almost lost as if you had lost a leg. It has become our crutch to stay in touch with people half way across the world or half way down the street. I don’t think anyone had the slightest idea (besides Mark Zuckerberg) how big Facebook would get, or the the branches that would extend from it. New social media avenues are popping up over night it seems with Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat only to name a few. We inadvertently have created a separate version of ourselves online through social media but the sad part is that some people prefer to live through the online version of themselves only.
In order to put into perspective the effect social media has had on our world since its rise, this youtube video has some amazing facts that will surely make you go “huh”.
Ways To Prevent / Fight Computer Addictions
1. Sit Down With the Person In Question and Show Concern
One of the best ways to help a person dealing with an internet or computer addiction is to let them know that they have support behind them and that they are not alone. This is becoming a more prevalent issue day by day. By showing them that they have support, they may open up to you and explain why they feel the need to indulge in excessive online activities.
2. Take up a Non-Online Hobby
By taking up a hobby that doesn’t involve the internet or electronics such as sports, hiking, scrapbooking or whatever it may be, this will elevate some of the pressure associated with not being online.
3. Set a Timeframe for how Long Electronics are allowed to be Used
By setting a time limit per day as to how long electronics are to be used, it will allow for new opportunities to unfold helping in the disconnect of online addictions.