In this hustle-and-bustle world, using things such as the Internet can make communicating, educating and finding entertainment much easier. But a person who finds themselves constantly on their phone or computer, finding it difficult to pry themselves away from it, may have some form of internet addiction. Netaddiction.com defines internet addiction as “Any online-related, compulsive behavior which interferes with normal living and causes severe stress on family, friends, loved ones, and one’s work environment.”
When it comes to symptoms of internet addiction, Dr. Kimberly Young of healthyplace.com states that there are no specific signs because it is different for everybody, but in general there are seven possible symptoms: “preoccupation, increased use, inability to stop, lost sense of time, lying about Internet use and using the Internet to avoid thinking about problems.” Young also addresses some withdrawal symptoms an addict might have when they do not have access to the Internet. “You feel restless, moody, depressed, or irritable when you attempt to stop or cut down Internet use.”
The article “Internet addiction: a 21st century epidemic?” on biomedcentral.com tells the story of a man with internet addiction. Lee Seung Seop was a 28-year-old boiler repairman who suffered a cardiac arrest following a 50-hour internet gaming binge. He had not eaten or slept during that time. Seop’s death prompted an investigation into the problem of internet addiction in Korea, where current estimates are that 4% of children suffer from the disorder, according to the article. This story shows how deadly extreme internet addiction can be.
Senior Joe Martz addressed social media and how that factored in to internet addiction. “I feel like people get caught up in sharing their lives and personal business on social media, and they enjoy it because every time they get a like or share, it’s a sort of validation for them, so much that they can get detached from reality.”
Senior Molly Zygmunt thinks internet addiction is a problem. “I do believe internet addiction can be an issue. It can negatively impact a person’s life to the point where they can not properly communicate with someone in person. In society it is a major problem.”
Addiction specialists at CRChealth.com provide some treatment options for those who have internet addiction such as structured and closely supervised schedule with little or no access to Internet-connected devices, individual group and family therapy, behavior modification, Cognitive Behavioral therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral therapy (DBT), Equine therapy, Expressive Arts therapy and Recreation therapy.
According to CRC Health, the largest provider of behavioral health services in the U.S., if a teen seems unable to stop spending time online or cannot limit his or her Internet time, which could be creating problems in other areas of the teen’s life, Internet addiction may be the issue.