Internet Addiction

Addiction — it comes in many forms and can quickly destroy your life and all that is dear to you. We all know it forms an integral part of our lives in the 21st century, but have you ever wondered if you may be addicted to the Internet?

Sure, the Internet has certainly made our lives easier in many ways, allowing us to instantly learn breaking news, stay in touch with friends or buy practically anything you need with the click of a button. However, always being connected perhaps makes it a little too easy to constantly receive and send information, and for some people it can turn into a serious dependency problem.

Japanese news site Excite News recently ran an article based on the online manga (comic) series titled “The Manga Introductory Guide to Psychosomatic Medicine” (Manga de Wakaru Shinryo Naika) published by You Mental Clinic, in particular an episode dealing with Internet addiction. According to the article, the manga episode lists 10 signs that indicate you may be addicted to the Internet. So, do any of them apply to you?

10 Signs of Internet Addiction

1. You often realize that you’ve been online longer than you intended or thought.

2. While using the Internet, you often find you can’t stop and go offline, even when you think it’s time you should.

3. You find yourself choosing to spend time online rather than with other people.

4. Even when there’s something you know you have to get done, you find yourself connecting to the Net first.

5. There have been instances when the quality of your work or studies has suffered due to time spent online.

6. You’ve made new acquaintances through the Internet.

7. Being online helps to calm your everyday worries and relieve stress.

8. You find it very annoying or upsetting when you’re interrupted while online.

9. Without the Internet, your life as you see it would be boring and empty.

10. During your daily routines, you often can’t stop thinking about the Internet.

If you answered “yes” to five or more of the statements above, the article says there’s a chance that you may be more dependent on the Internet than is healthy. The scary part is, quite a few of them sound like they could apply to anyone, or at least a good many number of people, don’t they?

The article goes on to mention that in China, where Internet dependency is seen as becoming an increasingly serious social issue, one criteria used to diagnose Internet addiction is if someone spends an average of six hours or more online daily other than for work or study. Now, six hours may sound like an awfully long time and you may think that there’s no way you could be spending that much time connected to the Internet. While that may be true, it’s also quite possible that you’re actually online each day for a longer amount of time than you think. With smart phones allowing people to go online anywhere anytime, those short spans of time spent checking e-mails or tweeting can pile up. If you think you may be a little too fond of the Internet, it may be a good idea to keep accurate track of exactly how much time you’re spending online each day.

And what should you do if some of the signs listed above seem to apply to you? According to psychiatrist Dr. Yu Yūki, who is quoted in the article, it’s naturally important for anyone with a dependency issue to first realize that a problem exists, so simply acknowledging that you may be dependent on the Internet is a step forward.

The next step would be physically keeping yourself away from the Internet, maybe by forcing yourself to go outdoors or to go see friends and family and basically staying away from computers and mobile devices whenever you feel the urge to connect to the Internet. Hmm, that sounds like it may be easier said than done, particularly with all the communication devices we’re surrounded by, but then, of course weaning yourself from any kind of dependency can’t be expected to be easy.

If the list does make you pause for thought, though, it may not be such a bad idea to take some time to think about how much time you really want to be spending time in the virtual world, because hopefully, the “real” world also has much joy and delight to offer you. Oh, wait, before I go out and take a walk in the nice warm weather, I just need to deal with a few e-mails, check for crazy-funny questions on Yahoo! Answers, look for new adorable cat videos on YouTube, see if the new volume of my favorite manga has come out on Amazon … Umm, I may be busy for a while…

Source: Excite News (Japanese)
You Mental Clinic

Top Image:by Sarah Korf