Internet Addiction

Nawwaf Rashed
Kaist University
Daedeok Innopolis, Daejeon, South Korea

The Internet

The Internet links computer networks all over the world by satellite and telephone, connecting users with service networks such as e-mail and the World Wide Web. The Internet has turned the Earth into a global village. People from all parts of the globe can now communicate verbally, irrespective of their geographical distances. The Internet is enabled by the advancement in technology that allows data to be transferred from one electronic device to the other with high speed. The Internet is useful in all nations; in fact, it is becoming a basic need because almost everything is conducted online. It enables fast communication, saves time, and creates effectiveness and efficiency in all sectors of life. However, Internet addiction has negatively affected users.

Internet Addiction

Internet addiction is a clinical disorder or an impulse disorder. It does not involve misusing drugs but has similar effects to addiction caused by abusing intoxicating drugs. Risks posed by this phenomenon require us to address them in various ways. Internet addiction is also referred to as online addiction. This disorder covers several impulse-control problems such as

  • Cybersex Addiction - This refers to uncontrollable use of online pornography, adult fantasy sites, and adult chat rooms.
  • Cyber-Relationship Addiction - This is the unmanageable use of chat rooms, social networking, and messaging, which makes real friends and family members appear less important.
  • Net Compulsions - Net compulsions are the addictive use of the Internet with an aim of financial gain. This includes excessive use of online auctions, stock trading, and online gambling.
  • Information Overload - This is the obsessive database searching or web surfing.
  • Computer Addiction - Computer addiction has several activities, which make the user remain attached to the computer abnormally. These activities include excessive online gaming and irrational computer programming.

Emblems and Indicators of Internet Obsession or Computer Infatuation

Emblems and indicators of Internet infatuations differ from person to another. For instance, there exists no set period per day or number of messages delivered that designate Internet addiction. There are various general warning indicators that one's Internet use may prove to have developed a predicament:

  • Losing track of time online. Do you regularly spend time on online for more hours than you envisioned? Does a scarce minute turn to hours? Do you become irritated or irritable if your Internet period is interrupted (Alexander, 2002)?
  • Having distress completing responsibilities at home or at work. Do you have laundry piling up as other tasks because you have been very busy in the Internet? Perhaps you need to work long hours in the office to complete your tasks on time. Then do you stay at work even longer, after everyone in the office has departed, so that you can access the Internet without limitations?
  • Isolation from friends and family. Is your communal life suffering due to spending most of your time online? Are you deserting your friends and family? Do you feel as if there is no one—even your partner—who comprehends you as well as your online associates?
  • Feeling defensive or guilty concerning your online use. Are you upset with your partner nagging you to log off and spend time together? Do you hide your Internet utilization or deceive your family and boss about the actual amount of time you use on the computer?
  • Feeling intelligent or euphoric whilst involved in online activities. Do you utilize websites as an escape when stressed out, for sexual gratification and excitement, or when sad? Have you denied the harmful effects of the Internet in your life, or the failures it caused (Peele & Brodsky, 2007)?

Risk Elements for Internet and Computer Addiction

You are at higher risk of Internet compulsion if

  • You suffer from anxiety. You might use the website to divert from your problems and qualms. An anxiety symptom like a compulsive malady may also lead to excessive email scrutiny and Internet use.
  • You are depressed. Internet use can develop from moods of despair, but spending too much time online can even make issues worse. Internet dependence further subsidizes stress, loneliness, and isolation (Beck et al., 1999).
  • You have may have other addictions. Many Internet aficionados suffer from other compulsions, such as alcohol, drugs, sex, and gambling.
  • You lack communal support. Internet devotees often use communal networking positions, online gaming, and instant messaging as safe means of launching relationships and more confidently associating with others (Murphey, 2000).
  • You are an unhappy teenager. You may be speculating about where you can fit in, and the Internet might feel more relaxed than real-life associations (Peele & Brodsky, 2007).
  • You are less social and mobile than you were before. For instance, you might be dealing with a current disability that limits your ability to drive your car. Or you might be parenting young children that cannot maintain relationships with old associates.
  • You are under stress. Although most people go online to relieve their stress, it can bear counterproductive impacts. The longer the time spent online, the greater your stress will be.

Impacts of Internet Addiction

Internet addiction, like other addictions, has negative effects in the lives of the user and his or her immediate friends and family members. It affects the individual's personal health and family, social, financial, and academic life.

Health Effects

Newborne (2000) summarized the impacts of Internet addiction on the health status of the individual. First and foremost, the obsessive Internet user is likely to become obese. This is because users spends most of their time on the Internet. There is no time for physical exercise. The individual just sits down after eating, and excessive fat and calories pile on the body. Additionally, Internet addiction causes visual impairment. The individual uses a lot of time looking at the computer screen. This is dangerous because a computer is an electronic device, which releases radioactive elements that affect parts of the eye.
Similarly, addicts are likely to have psychological stress, as they do not have time to socialize with others. This loneliness can affect them physically and can lead to several other health issues. At the same, addicts may concentrate too much on the Internet and fail to take time to eat. This affects their growth and development, especially for teenagers and young adults (Newborne, 2000).  

Mental Disorders

Internet addiction negatively affects the mind of the individual. Individuals lose focus as they only concentrate on the Internet. The individual tends to forget other aspects of life that are important. At the same, concentration reduces and the individual cannot focus on other issues for long enough. This affects the academic status of students. It lowers productivity as one cannot handle several issues at the same time (Keepers, 1997).

Social impacts

Internet addicts spend too much time socializing with friends on the Internet and forget the importance of real friends. They do not take time to socialize with family members (Brady, 1997). Addicts tend to replace reality with the Internet. This causes great harm, especially if something happens and they require support from family and friends they neglected for the sake of online friends. Internet compulsions make addicts concentrate on the Internet to gain money. They gamble and engage in other activities that require money. Whenever they do not win in the gambling game, or the auction fails, they lose their money. This affects their financial and economic status. It often affects family relationship because partners and children are not ready to accept such behaviors (Morgan, 1999).


The Internet is useful and accessible to all people in different parts of the world. However, Internet addiction has negative health, social, mental, and financial effects. For these reasons we need to consider the many negative impacts and fight to reduce Internet addiction.


Alexander, B., (2002). Addiction. Canadian Psychology, 29, 151-162.
Beck, A. et al. (1999). Cognitive therapy of substance abuse. Guilford Press. New York
Brady, K. (1997). Impacts of computers. The Buffalo News
Keepers, G., (1997). Pathological impacts of video games. Journal of the American
Morgan, W. (1999). Addiction in Students. Physician and Sports Medicine, 5, 50-60.
Murphey, B. (2000). Computer addiction. APA Monitor, p. 23.
Newborne, E. (2000, April 16). Internet, USA Today, p. 12.
Peele, S., & Brodsky, A. (2007). The truth about addiction and recovery. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.

Other Sources

Griffiths, M. (2006). Gambling impacts. Journal of Gambling Studies, 4,2
Griffiths, M. (2006). Technological addictions and their impacts. Clinical Psychology Forum.
Jones, A. (2012, April 20). Regulator Institute audit reforms. Financial Times, p. 7.


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