Internet addiction, does it exist?

What is internet addiction?

Does internet addiction actually exist? When people become addicted, it is usually due to physical or emotional needs that need to be met. so, a physical addiction like an alcoholic who needs to drink and the addict who needs the high provided by the drug would be considered a physical addiction.

Emotional addictions can be complex, but a simple explanation would be that you could consider that it would usually be rooted in the need to regulate a person’s emotions or provide a distraction from unpleasant feelings such as anxiety.

Emotional addiction

Food is often used to moderate emotions, eating provides a positive pleasure response and distracts from any negative emotions. But the benefit from eating does not last long and must be repeated.

This often leads to a continuing cycle of recurring guilt, that triggers the need to eat more to uplift emotions and regain pleasure. The addiction is based around the emotional response, not the food itself.

You can be addicted to anything that evokes an emotional response, people can even build up a dependency on therapy

The problem with internet addiction is the absence of any exact guidelines and requirements to quantify what quantifies an internet addiction. The supposed symptoms are too broad to be helpful in my opinion.

what internet addiction is based on

Let’s look at the basic rule regarding what internet addiction is based on, simply put, it’s someone who spends too much time online, and is considered to have built up an emotional need for the online experience.

This ends in the person feeling unable to stop going online and becomes a real issue that impacts their ability to socialise. They are seen as people isolating themselves from the real world around them.

But this is not so easy to diagnose when you add into the mix other important considerations, such as the growing need for people to access the internet for all kinds of mission-critical essentials.

The internet is an essential requirement

The internet has grown from something people used for just surfing the web, YouTube, games, and pornography. Now it includes working from home, studying, paying all kinds of bills and tax demands.

Even ordering passports, booking everything from medical appointments to engaging a plumber or online therapist, for video sessions and not forgetting keeping in touch with family and friends.

Today there are many more things to do online than there was ten years ago, so you can see how the internet is now fast becoming an essential requirement for people. We just need to separate the element of addiction from what is considered normal and necessary.

How much time spent online is too much?

Someone who eats too much due to their emotional eating needs will often become overweight, so you can often find physical evidence that it is doing them long term harm. With an internet addiction, this is not so easy.

If someone works online for over seven hours, then spends time watching a film for two hours, talks to friends through the day for a combined time of another three hours and pays some bills and plays an online game for another three hours, that’s a total of fifteen hours, so would that be classed as an internet addiction?

The internet is a facilitator for other addictions

I think internet addiction does not actually exist as such, and it is better to see the internet as a facilitator for other addictions like gambling and pornography, even categories like Facebook and gaming as addictions would be a better description.

Because when someone spends fifteen hours a day gaming or constantly reacting to Facebook or using pornography, that can make more sense when seen as an addiction, because people can understand it as a separate item, not an important essential service.

I think that the term of internet addiction is historically based on past derogatory attitudes from people who did not understand the technology and saw the internet as a fundamental waste of time. So, anyone gaming or surfing the internet were seen as shallow internet nerds who were unable to socialise properly. Although today this has changed, there is still some negative preconception for some people over forty that still probably persists.

Are you dependent on the modern-day technology?

Currently, lots of people are dependent on the modern-day technology we use regularly, from our mobile phones and laptops to smart TV’s that let us explore the world online.

So today there are many more people using cyberspace to do numerous actions and interactions, from buying goods on Amazon to having online therapy, as well as working online and being entertained by films and games. It’s fast becoming a one-stop shop for all our needs.