Internet Addiction: More than Overusing the Online World

Man at computer crop

Much of the power wielded by addiction comes from the seemingly innocuous nature of whatever you’re using or doing. Because of the ubiquity of cyberspace in our everyday lives, most of us expect to use the internet for a sizable portion of the day – both for work and for play. Oftentimes, this use is quite productive as well as necessary.

The above reality, however, can easily start you or someone you love on the road to internet addiction. If you have certain underlying issues, this propensity is highlighted and puts you at greater risk for compulsive internet use. If you find yourself using the internet to the detriment of other things in your life, then the time being spent is unproductive and you may need help.

Common Misuses of the Internet

It’s important not to think of internet addiction as mere “overuse.” For example, if you school work online, then there are times when you need to be on almost nonstop during a project period. The problem arises when internet use becomes compulsive, to the detriment of other daily activities. Consider a handful of common progenitors of internet misuse:

  1. Online Dating and Social Media Interaction: the presence of a plethora of social networking sites can contribute to gross overuse of cyberspace. If you find yourself compulsively checking Facebook status updates every few minutes throughout the day, and constantly making alterations to your social media profiles, then it may be time to step back and evaluate the time you’re spending with virtual friends versus the time you’re spending with real-life friends.
  2. Cybersex Compulsion: this is one of the biggest problems facing people online. Studies show that immersion in online fantasy role-playing games, chat rooms and other forms of adult entertainment have a deleterious effect on how you deal with a partner outside of the virtual, idealized world. Self-evaluations can be difficult here, and if you suspect that you or someone close to you is suffering from this addiction, there is help available – without commitment.
  3. Dating and social media aren’t the only forms of internet addiction; if you’re constantly perusing e-commerce sites like Amazon and eBay, then an evaluation might be in order as you notice your finances start to take unsustainable hits. Gambling, online slots – even stock-trading – can be signs you’re not in control.
  4. Gaming: Although this refers mostly to teenagers, a sizable portion of the adult population is adversely affected by an online compulsion for gaming. With so many fantastic games on the market and many of them requiring a full-investment of time, gaming is an addiction that can creep up surreptitiously as your allotted time goes from a few hours a day to half a day and even more. Playing any game online for 10 hours a day is simply unsustainable (even for an adolescent with fewer responsibilities than most adults) and is a sure sign that help is in order.

Getting the Help You Need with Wilderness Therapy

Pacific Quest wilderness therapy program understands that online addiction is a serious issue that may be a sign of an underlying condition – such as depression, for example. In teenagers and young adults, it can contribute to a lack of social growth and ability to deal with real-world problems. That’s why Pacific Quest places such emphasis on robust outdoor activities and interactive exercises to help you or a loved one regain your social health and sense of life-balance. To learn more about how wilderness therapy has successfully treated adolescents and young adults with internet addiction, please contact us.

Parent's Guide to Internet Addiction & Overuse

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