Net Addiction

What is Internet Addiction?
Internet addiction is a growing epidemic characterized by a compulsive desire to interact online through internet gaming, gambling, cybersex, social networking or compulsive surfing of the web. According to Dr. Kimberly Young, the first psychologist to document internet addiction, these disorders are similar to impulse-control disorders. Meeting five of the following symptoms can lead to a diagnosis of internet addiction disorder:
•Feeling preoccupied with the internet. (thinking about your previous online activity or anticipating the next time you will go online)
•Feeling a desire to use the internet for increased amounts of time in order to achieve satisfaction with your use of the web. (similar to tolerance that is addressed in substance abuse problems)
•Having a lack of control in efforts to stop using the internet or to cut back use.
•Feeling restless, irritable, depressed or otherwise moody when not using the internet.
•Staying online longer than you originally planned to.
•Jeopardized a job, relationship, educational opportunity or other important opportunity because of the internet.
•Lying to friends, family members or others in an effort to conceal the true amount of time that you spend online or your actual activities while online.
•Using the internet as a way of escaping reality, escaping problems or relieving a negative mood.

•Net compulsions (online gambling and gaming)
•Computer addiction (code programming, computer games)
•Information overload or continuous web surfing

Symptoms of Internet Addiction
Spending more time online than you even realize. Do you often find that you wind up online longer than had anticipated? If you find that your planned time online goes from being a few minutes to actually spending hours online, you might have a problem.
•Isolating yourself from friends or family members to spend time online. Do you spend more time socializing online than you do in real life? You might have an addiction to the internet if you are isolating yourself from friends or family members in order to spend time online.
•Becoming defensive about your time spent online. If you feel like you have to be defensive about the time that you spend online or you feel like you have to lie to your friends or family members about what you are doing online than you might have a problem.
•Difficulty completing tasks at work or at home because you spend too much time surfing the web. If you have trouble focusing on your priorities or you find that your time online has made you slack on your tasks at work or at home you you may be suffering from an internet addiction.
•Euphoric feelings when involved with internet activities. Do you use the internet to reduce stress, gain sexual gratification or excitement? If you use the internet to boost your mood or to feel better you may have a problem.

Get help for any mental health problems that may be contributing to your compulsive use of the internet. If you suffer from depression, stress, anxiety or other mental health problems that are contributing to your desire to self-medication by using the internet, get help!
•Develop coping skills. If you use the internet as a way to cope with stress or to deal with other emotions, you’ll need to develop coping skills in order to reduce your urges to use the internet. Instead of resorting to the internet as a method of coping with stress or anger or other emotions, develop skills that will help you to cope with these emotions without the internet.
•Get support. You’ll need an extensive support network to help you through the difficult times when you are most vulnerable and susceptible to using the internet. Your support network may consist of friends, family members, co-workers, community groups, and social support groups as well as your counselor or therapist.
•Log your time. One way that you can reduce the amount of time that you spend online is to actually keep a log of the time that you do spend online. Keep track of the time of day that you log onto the internet, how long you spend and any emotions that were present prior to your use of the internet or during your internet use. You can even log your activity online so that you can review your log to determine emotions that may have triggered a particular activity or impulsive behavior.
•Set a timer. You can reduce the amount of time that you spend online by setting a timer before you go online and making a commitment to yourself to get off of your computer when the timer goes off. You should also make a commitment to turn your computer off at a particular time each day to allow for interaction with family or to handle other tasks.
•Substitute internet usage with healthy activities. Instead of going online, take a walk, read a book, call a friend or find another way to fill the time with a healthy activity.

link to IRSCE world