We all benefit from the opportunities provided by the Internet, and for many of us, the Internet is an indispensable tool in our training, and most importantly as a means of communication. While the time spent on the Internet can be largely spent on productivity, the use of dependent and uncontrolled Internet, especially in our own community, affects daily life, the business environment and the relationships among people.
If people and especially children feel more comfortable communicating with their friends on the Internet and cannot make it happen in real life with their friends, in other words, if people cannot discourage themselves from playing games, Internet gambling, and particularly inappropriate content on the Internet, the negative effects of the internet are clearly exposed and it means life is directly affected. This situation, which is defined as Internet addiction, makes it necessary to examine how the online and offline balance should be established, and especially in terms of the psychological, sociological and health hazards of children.
What is Internet Addiction?
Internet addiction (also known as online addiction or computer addiction) is a symptom that involves various impulse control issues in human being. The most common types of Internet addiction are:
Cybersex addiction: Adult internet pornography, illegal child pornography, adult content chat rooms, and adult fantasy role-playing sites that directly affect real life relationships fall into this category.
Cyber-relationship addiction: Social networks, chat rooms, virtual relationship building sites, and all kinds of virtual relationships, and addiction to messaging and information sharing are included in this category.
Open addiction: any type of games, internet gambling, online purchase and sale of internet games, online auction sites and other financial problem sites that fall into this category.
Overload of information: Internet addiction and search dependency on the Internet are included in this category, which leads to less social interaction with family and friends and affect the production of work in real life.
How do people become addicted to the internet?
1. Trying to move away from tiring and unpleasant events of real life: Stress, loneliness, depression and other negative emotions in real life accelerate Internet addiction. Today, the use of internet is perceived as to escape from real-life problems, and temporarily to relax and distress. Online self-loneliness temporarily helps to forget loneliness, stress, sadness, depression and other problems, but is definitely not a solution. For many people, an important aspect of overcoming Internet and computer addiction is to develop alternative ways and engagements to overcome these difficult emotions.
2. Possessing risk factors that may lead to Internet addiction: This dependency is one of the leading factors that cause Internet addiction. These factors are important:
a. Having a dependency: Many Internet addicts suffer from real-life drugs, alcohol, gambling and other addictions like sex.
b. Lack of social support: Internet addicts often have a-social life in real life and lack family and peer support. Hence, social networking sites lead to Internet addiction, instant messaging or new relationships and feeling more confident online.
c. Living an unhappy life: The fact that not having a sense of dignity in real life and not finding where it belongs are the factors that cause Internet addiction.
What are the symptoms of Internet addiction?
Internet addiction symptoms vary from person to person. For example, the number of messages sent per hour or daily can be used to determine the time dependence on the Internet. What is important here is to realize that the use of internet is beginning to affect the flow of real life. The general symptoms are:
1. Losing control of online time: Do you spend time on the Internet longer than you often want? A few minutes turn into a few hours? Do you feel discomfort immediately if your time on the Internet is interrupted or divided? If the answer to these questions is yes, you are addicted to the internet.
2. Difficulty in doing routine work at home or at work: Is not something prepared for dinner at home, or is the home too messy?, while surfing on the Internet. Are you backing up more than anyone else, or you're running late, so you'll be able to use the Internet comfortably when everyone leaves? If the answer to these questions is yes, you are addicted to the internet.
3. Breaking away from family and friends: Social life is going too bad, because at every turn you are in the Internet?. Are you neglecting your family and friends or even your spouse? Nobody understands you in real life, but only your friend in the chat room understands? If the answer to these questions is yes, you are addicted to the internet.
4. Feeling guilty or self-defense about using the Internet: If your partner is using computer / internet, he / she fights with you constantly and wants to spend time together? Do you feel the feeling of hiding the use of the Internet from friends and family? If the answer to these questions is yes, you are addicted to the internet.
5. Feeling excitement and enthusiasm in internet activities: Do you use the Internet for stress, for sorrow, or for a sense of sexual desire? Is your Internet use to escape from something? If the answer to these questions is yes, you are addicted to the internet.
What are the physical symptoms of Internet addiction?
Internet / computer addiction also causes physical discomfort. The most important of these disorders are (Saisan, Smith, Robinson, & Segal, 2012):
•Pain and numbness in the hand and wrists
•Dryness, redness, blurred eyes
•Back pain and neck pain
•Significant weight gain or weight loss
While gambling is a known and documented problem, Internet gambling has caused the gambling to spread and become more accessible. It has become more difficult with Internet gambling to prevent gambling addicts from getting rid of it. Online or virtual casinos are open all day, for anyone with Internet access. The only thing required for Internet gambling is that you have a valid credit card. For example, people who do not live near a traditional casino or a place where a bet is being played, even teens and children are faced with sites that are gambling or betting with the help of the Internet and access is easier. The only thing that needs to be done is to click to login to the site and enter the credit card number.
Financial issues such as stock trading or online auction and internet exchange on the Internet can be harmful like internet gambling. For example, it is a fact that e-bay addicts can wake up in the odd hour for the sake of internet connection for the last minute remaining in an auction.
Internet games creating virtual reality or creating online fantasy environments, causing to forget all stages of real-life such as business and family, connecting people to a virtual environment for hours and hours, help to teach children to hurt each other, especially by providing violence against young people and children.
The image of a truly remote and fantastic human body in Internet games is presented as a role model for children. The number of people killed in bloody scenes in the video games increased the possibility of showing aggressive and hostile behavior (Barlet, Harris, & Bruey, 2008).
Barlett, C. P., Harris, R. J., & Bruey, C. (2008). The effect of the amount of blood in a violent video game on aggression, hostility, and arousal. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 44(3), 539-546.
Saisan, J., Smith, M., Robinson, L. & Segal, J. (2012). Internet and Computer Addiction: Signs, Symptoms, and Treatment. Retrieved June 7, 2018 from http://www.helpguide.org/mental/internet_cybersex_addiction.htm.