Symptoms of Computer addiction<br />The newly diagnosed computeraddiction has gained much press attention recently, as children have also been affected. A recent research study showed that some children suffer from computer rage when they are forbidden to play computer games.<br /><ul><li>Anxiety if access to computer denied
Persistent need to spend excessive amount of time on the computer
Neglecting other duties in order to spend time on the computer
Forgoing social activities in order to spend time on the computer
Neglecting family relationships in order to spend time on the computer
Withdrawing from other pleasurable activities </li></li></ul><li>Many people are addicted to their computers long before the internet enters their lives.Some people are extremely attached to their computer and don't even care about the internet.Also, let's not forget the very powerful, but now seemingly mundane and almost accepted addiction that some people develop to video games.Perhaps, on a broad level, it makes sense to talk about a "Cyberspace Addiction" - an addiction to virtual realms of experience created through computer engineering.<br />Somepeople are definitely hurting themselves by their addiction to computers and cyberspace.When people lose their jobs, or flunk out of school, or are divorced by their spouses because they cannot resist devoting all of their time to virtual lands, they are pathologically addicted. These extreme cases are clear cut. But as in all addictions, the problem is where to draw the line between "normal" enthusiasm and "abnormal" preoccupation.As yet, there is no official psychological or psychiatric diagnosis of an "Internet" or "Computer" addiction.<br />So far, researchers have only been able to focus on that first criteria - trying to define the constellation of symptoms that constitutes a computer or internet addiction.<br />
Top 10 Signs You're Addicted to the Net<br />Your hard drive crashes. You haven't logged in for two hours. You start to twitch. You pick up the phone and manually dial your ISP's access number. You try to hum to communicate with the modem. <br />The last mate you picked up was a JPEG. <br />You start using smileys in your snail mail. <br />You laugh at people with 2400-baud modems. <br />You decide to stay in college for an additional year or two, just for the free Internet access.<br />You spend half of the plane trip with your laptop on your lap...and your child in the overhead compartment.<br />You turn off your modem and get this awful empty feeling, like you just pulled the plug on a loved one.<br />You name your children Eudora, Mozilla and Dotcom. <br />You get a tattoo that reads "This body best viewed with Netscape Navigator 1.1 or higher." <br />You wake up at 3 a.m. to go to the bathroom and stop and check your e-mail on the way back to bed.<br />
Creating a single definition for computer addiction is difficult because the term actually covers a wide spectrum of addictions. Few people are literally addicted to a computer as a physical object. They become addicted to activities performed on a computer, like instant messaging, playing video games, checking e-mail and reading news articles. These activities are collectively referred to as Computer Mediated Communication (CMC). Computer addiction focused on Internet use is often called Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD).<br />
COMPUTER ADDICTION<br />Computer addiction, a loosely used term with Internet Addiction, or Video game addiction, is the excessive or compulsive use of computers to the extent that it interferes with daily life. This disorder may affect the following: social interaction, mood, personality, work ethic, relationships, thought process. It may also cause social disorders or possibly sleep deprivation. It is important to note that as of now, psychologists are not sure how to label this disorder. Many refer to it as Internet Addiction Disorder; however, computer addiction originated long before internet use is as common as it is today. In addition, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders has yet to recognize this exact disorder, and are more likely to include a more specific term of addiction, such as Internet Addiction, or Video game addiction.<br />Some people develop bad habits in their computer use that cause them significant problems in their lives. The types of behavior and negative consequences are similar to those of known addictive disorders; therefore, the term Computer or Internet Addiction has come into use. While anyone who uses a computer could be vulnerable, those people who are lonely, shy, easily bored, or suffering from another addiction or impulse control disorder as especially vulnerable to computer abuse.<br />Computer abuse can result from people using it repeatedly as their main stress reliever, instead of having a variety of ways to cope with negative events and feelings. Other misuses can include procrastination from undesirable responsibilities, distraction from being upset, and attempts to meet needs for companionship and belonging.<br />
Healthy vs. unhealthy Internet use<br />How do people become addicted to the Internet?<br />To relieve unpleasant and overwhelming feelings<br />The Internet provides a constant, ever-changing source of information and entertainment. Email, blogs, social networks, and message boards allow for both public and anonymous communication about any topic. But how much is too much Internet usage?<br />Each person’s Internet use is different. You might need to use the Internet extensively for your work, for example, or you might rely heavily on social networking sites to keep in touch with faraway family and friends. Spending a lot of time online only becomes a problem when it absorbs too much of your time, causing you to neglect your relationships, your work, school, or other important things in your life. If you keep repeating compulsive Internet behavior despite the negative consequences in your offline life, then it’s time to strike a new balance. <br />Many people turn to the Internet in order to manage unpleasant feelings such as stress, loneliness, depression, and anxiety. When you have a bad day and are looking for a way to escape your problems or to quickly relieve stress or self-soothe, the Internet can be an easily accessible outlet. Losing yourself online can temporarily make feelings such as loneliness, stress, anxiety, depression, and boredom evaporate into thin air. As much comfort as the Internet can provide, though, it’s important to remember that there are healthier (and more effective) ways to keep difficult feelings in check. These may include exercising, meditating, using sensory relaxation strategies, and practicing simple breathing exercises. <br />For many people, an important aspect of overcoming Internet and computer addiction is to find alternate ways to handle these difficult feelings. Even when your Internet use is back to healthy levels, the painful and unpleasant feelings that may have prompted you to engage in unhealthy Internet use in the past will remain. So, it’s worth spending some time thinking about the different ways you intend to deal with stressful situations and the daily irritations that would normally have you logging on.<br />
Risk factors for Internet addiction and computer addiction<br /><ul><li>You suffer from anxiety. You may use the Internet to distract yourself from your worries and fears. An anxiety disorder like obsessive-compulsive disorder may also contribute to excessive email checking and compulsive Internet use.
You are depressed. The Internet can be an escape from feelings of depression, but too much time online can make things worse. Internet addiction further contributes to stress, isolation and loneliness.
You have any other addictions. Many Internet addicts suffer from other addictions, such as drugs, alcohol, gambling, etc.
You lack social support. Internet addicts often use social networking sites, instant messaging, or online gaming as a safe way of establishing new relationships and more confidently relating to others.
You’re an unhappy teenager, you might be wondering where you fit in and the Internet might feel more comfortable than real life friends.
You are less mobile or socially active than you are used to. For example, you may be coping with a new disability that limits your ability to drive. Parenting very young children can make it hard to leave the house or connect with old friends.
You are stressed. While some people use the Internet to relieve stress, it can have a counterproductive effect. The longer you spend online, the higher your stress levels will be. </li></li></ul><li>Cyber-relationships<br />When used responsibly, the Internet can be a great place to interact socially, meet new people, and even start romantic relationships. However, online relationships can often be more intense than those in real life. Our fantasies are given free reign and the idea of being with our online love can exceed all realistic expectations. Since few real-life relationships can compete with these wild, fantasy relationships, the Internet addict will prefer to spend more and more time with their online friends.<br />Another problem is that about 50% of people online lie about their age, weight, job, marital status, or gender. When online friends meet and the real-life person fails to match the online persona, it can create profound emotional disappointment. <br />Self-help tips for breaking your Internet addiction <br />Recognize any underlying problems that may support your Internet addiction. If you are struggling with depression, stress, or anxiety, for example, Internet addiction might be a way to self-soothe rocky moods.<br />Build your coping skills. Perhaps blowing off steam on the Internet is your way of coping with stress or angry feelings. Or maybe you have trouble relating to others, or are excessively shy with people in real life. Building skills in these areas will help you weather the stresses and strains of daily life without resorting to compulsive Internet use. <br />