When people hear the word addiction, it’s usually associated with drugs, alcohol and gambling. People who suffer from these addictions can see a specialist to help them overcome it. But now in an era defined by techno-gadgets, a new type of addiction has emerged. It’s called Internet addiction or online addiction. However, there is still a debate whether Internet Addiction should be officially recognized as a psychiatric condition.
What is internet addiction?
Internet addiction is when you spend too much time on the internet and find it difficult to stop. This includes time spent online on a computer, smartphones, tablets and even game consoles. In Brunei, the most common types of online addiction are social media addiction and online gaming addiction. While time spent online can be productive, excessive internet use can sometimes impact negatively on a person’s behaviour or wellbeing, interfering with work and relationships. If you find that the people around you complain that you spend too much time online, it may be time to evaluate your online behaviour.
How much is too much?
The amount of time each person spends online varies, and some people might need to use the internet extensively for work. It’s only a problem when it absorbs too much of your time and has negative consequences in your real life.
You may find that:
- You feel obsessed with particular websites, apps or games.
- You feel anxious or irritable when you’re away from your mobile device or computer.
- You are isolated or withdrawn when spending time with friends or family.
- Students may find themselves feeling excessively tired or see a decline in academic performance.
- When you enter a restaurant or café, the first thing you ask is whether they have wi-fi.
- While attending social events, you prefer to look at your phone than talk to people.
- You’re always online before going to sleep.
Is internet addiction a bad thing?
Here are a few reasons not to spend countless hours staring at your computer or smartphone:
- It can cause health problems such as bad eyesight, and if you tend to lean towards your computer it can lead to poor posture. Spending too much time online also keeps you from going outside or exercising, so obesity is also a risk.
- Students might find that it has a bad effect on their grades, mainly because they don't spend much time studying.
- It can affect your relationships.
- You’re always tired because of lack of sleep.
Take control of your internet use
- Keep a log of how much time you spend online for non-work or non-essential activities. Take note of any particular triggers in your day that cause you to stay online for longer than you planned.
- Set goals for when you can use the internet. For example, limit yourself to check social media only once a day, for five minutes, after work. Make a commitment to log off when your time is up.
- Replace your Internet usage with healthy activities. Make plans to fill your time, such as going out for a run, meeting up with a friend, or cooking a meal at home with family.