Internet Addiction Disorder, the name of the disorder itself explains the main culprit of abnormal or dysfunctional behavior and emotion is internet. There are other mediums of media that a person can be addicted to, like television, radio, newspaper, etc., but in this era, in terms of technological advancement, the internet has boomed and is taking a place as a central medium in media. Addiction basically means when an individual becomes dependent on a particular substance and that substance provides them with relief from stress or relaxes them when they worry about something else. An addict may become calm after using that substance and feel contended. Internet is just like a substance for many addicts to feel good. Just answer yourself these questions to understand where you lie on the scale of being an internet addict: Do you feel severe urges to be online on social media platforms (one or more) to not miss anything? Do you spend the majority of the day in playing video games? Do you find that your other aspect of life (like relationships, family, friends, work, etc.) are being distant from you because of your involvement with social media? Answering yes to such question indicates that its time to talk mental health professional. Talking to a mental health professional does not mean that we are sick, we can talk to them to be more productive in life or to adjust better in life
Psychologs Magazine in its last edition started a campaign to raise awareness on addiction related to the Internet by publishing articles by eminent psychologists of the country. In the last 3 days, on this issue, about 20 psychologists of the country expressed their concern and they also talked about the solution to this issue in an event called “Internet: a new challenge to mental health wellbeing” conducted by Psychologs.
Gopa Bhardwaj, who has been the former Dean of Faculty of Arts and Head of Psychology Department in Delhi University, said that children especially teenagers are getting more affected but this problem is increasing among adults also.
Uday Sinha, Head of Clinical Psychology Department, IHBAS, Delhi said that it is time to take internet-related addiction seriously, due to the change in routine during the time of Covid, the problem has increased significantly.
The editor-in-chief of the magazine, Arvind Otta, said that the problem is more serious than it appears. Parents need to be alert as it is affecting teenagers more. If you notice any negative changes in the behavior of the teen, a mental health professional should be contacted.
There are various forms of Internet related addiction. Psychologists mentioned in their opening remark that there are various reasons for which people go online and surf various sites but there are some dominant and main reasons to surf on the internet when we talk about internet addiction. People who spend most of their time on the internet for maintaining relationships or friendships on the internet, usually are trying to achieve a farfetched goal to make “real connections or relations”, without actually spending time with real people around them. Many individuals feel the necessity to achieve a goal in a game on an online platform or get some points in their games or have a level up in online gaming. They spend most of the time gaming online rather than achieving a goal in gaming outdoor and being physically active. There is also a type of internet user that spends hours and hours acquiring information through various online sites and is obsessed and absorbed in doing so. Many individuals are addicted to online gaming too and sometime that addiction could be the reason of serious financial loss.
Renowned Clinical Psychologist and Former HOD of NIMHANS, CR Mukundan appreciate the initiative taken by Psychologs Magazine and mentioned that along with many psychological symptoms there are several physical signs of internet addiction, like, as experiencing headaches, experiencing insomnia, experiencing neck and back pains, facing disorders with vision or eyesight, and experiencing issues with weight. There are several emotional signs of internet addiction as well, like, as feeling guilty, feeling anxious and/or depressed, dishonest, defensive, moody, feeling isolated or lonely, delaying or avoiding work responsibilities, feeling agitated, and feeling euphoric when using the internet , losing track of time when online, feeling bored of normal routine, and unable to maintain schedule on time.
Experts also talked about the solutions and mainly they focused on therapeutic procedures of treatment that can help in reducing the symptoms like, behavioral therapy, dialectic behavioral therapy, cognitive therapy etc. All the experts conclude that if there is a problem, then there is also a solution, but recognizing the problem is the first step.