Internet addiction disorder (IAD) is described as an impulse control disorder, which does not involve an intoxicating drug.
An internet addict will display compulsive behaviour which interferes with their normal routine and causes severe stress for them, their family and friends. And with more and more people becoming digitally dependent, whether it be for business, social or personal use the number of addicts is on a rapid rise.
Now there are many rehabilitation facilities across the world that cater for net addicts and try to free them from the enslavement of their computers, phones, laptops and tablets, etc.
There are also different types of internet addict categories, such as gaming, social, pornography, catfishing, gambling, and online shopping.
Internet addiction as a whole has been a serious issue for the last decade or more, but what I have noticed becoming increasingly prevalent is the addiction to the smartphone. Something I can testify to, and will be honest when I say I have aimlessly checked my social media accounts several times while writing this article. Knowing outright I am using it as a distraction to feel somewhat okay about procrastinating. Although, I know I’m not at the level of needing rehab… yet.
Because I was born before the digital age really exploded I feel like I will be okay in the sense that I can still remember and hold onto the memories of me playing outside all day until the street lights came on, writing the lyrics to songs down with a pen and begging my mum to buy me the S club 7 cassette tape because obviously, I couldn’t stream it.
But for the digital age babies, technology is all they know, and they are so incredibly smart at using it. I’ve found myself asking my 8-year-old ‘how to’ questions for my phone, and he doesn’t even have a phone.
I feel truly lucky to have grown up in an era with basic technology. We had the opportunity to appreciate the world for the simpler things like nature and making fun out of the most random things we had. Without being surrounded and bombarded with constant societal pressures. Sometimes I do feel a little commiseration for the digital age babies that never knew the struggles my generation went through; although at the time it wasn’t a struggle. In turn, they probably feel sorry for us that we had to endure such “boredom”.
I can’t even comprehend what it would be like without our smartphones now. What did we do before their existence? We supposedly had full uninterrupted conversations at the dinner table? We read newspapers or stared at the wall while on the loo? We didn’t take photos of every meal, gym session and our faces every minute? And at night in bed, we’d read a novel or count sheep to fall asleep.
Although I am not a full blown addict, I do feel the constant urge to keep up to date with all social media outlets. Thankfully technology has made that so simple and easy. Within seconds you’ve opened the app but then contradict yourself when you end up spending hours scrolling through them all.
Sometimes it can feel like a chore. And all you’re keeping up to date with is other people’s lives and possibly transcending yourself into the black hole of obsessive comparison disorder which has been named millennials’ biggest problem. Now that’s an entire other issue that’s stemmed from the digital craze that we won’t delve into right now.
I can’t go anywhere without my phone, sadly including the bathroom. That is time I could use to check my news feeds and Snapchat updates. Mainly I have to have my phone on me at all times just in case of an emergency and having that security. But also because I don’t want to have an overload of new updates to check because it’s time-consuming, or is it just consuming in general.
The internet has changed the way we live drastically. It’s a bittersweet evolution that makes our lives easier and more convenient – by saving us time, money, energy and hassle. It even saves lives. We can communicate with people from all over the world free of charge. We can look up information within seconds and keep up to date with news sport and weather. There are too many advantages to thank the inventor of the internet for.
But, there is a flip-side to everything and there are just as many disadvantages, so be careful. Everything in moderation. It’s really up to you if you use the internet for good or bad.