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Internet Overuse, Internet Addiction & Computer Addiction
Internet Benefits Many of us have become dependent on the enormous range of information systems, high accessibility that the internet provides us with. The internet connects us, offering an array of possibilities and has many advantages, making many things easier. The internet can play a key role for us and society, affecting family, business, politics, etc. Part of a global community, the internet can take us anywhere in the world and beyond taking away graphical boundaries. We can explore and share things with anyone, anywhere, and get feedback straight away. The internet has a social function, offering social support, is dynamic and creates ripples and waves - it has the potential to be a force for good, human creativity, fostering social participation. Opportunities on the net are immense and it's relatively low cost. The internet provides global entertainment, enjoyment, stimulation, interaction, information and communication at rapid speed. We can buy an almost endless supply of goods and services. It can be our reference library. We can plunge in, reading random bits of information, moving from one source to another - in this digital world we press a button and get an instant answer. The internet can make contacting others so much easier and is often a positive experience. The internet enables us to find others online with similar ideas, interests to us. We can date, have a level of emotional, or even sexual contact. The internet allows us to create a virtual fantasy life including a virtual online identity when in a role such as our avatar allowing us to present and represent ourself to the world in very editable formats (see also Self-Identity & Personality). The internet provides us with an opportunity for being anonymous, if that is our choice, and to socialise with others. We may value the way that computers enhance our lives, add to our capabilities. The internet with its perceived anonymity has a vast amount of data and provides a tapestry of human knowledge, resources and research facilities. Yet some of our own internal resources, imagination, creativity may diminish as we tirelessly search or seek information, interaction.
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The Internet & Its Possible Effects On Us The internet has a profound influence on the way we live and many of us have become dependent on the computer for what it offers. The internet changes the way we communicate and think. It is a rich means of communication, yet it is only a part of the whole way we exchange information, communicate and interact. The 24/7 internet can for example help us to rapidly absorb bits of information - often the latest information or search engine optimised text. When we are on-line surfing the net, demanding instant results may affect our ability to be patient and contemplative. Multi-tasking may be one of our skills as things bounce around us, where slowing down is no longer an option. Browsing and skimming what we see, important though this may be, affects our ability to give our attention to in-depth reading. Over time other, more rounded ways of solving problems, understanding things, being curious, may erode. Hungry for on-tap stimulation, we may gradually lose our balanced way of acquiring information in depth or make time for reflection. For some the computer becomes the dominant way of gathering information, and this can work well. In an age of instant gratification, our quick-fix need for information becomes our habit. The internet stores a vast amount of data including information about us. The quality and sources of information we extract online varies considerably, and we may struggle discriminating this (an example may be cyberchondria, where we can look up our physical, mental health symptoms, conditions manifesting). Our attention span for other forms of communication may diminish. Our attention can divide and split into the infinite windows of options available. Yet we may have closed down other windows in our life, now questioning if this is a price worth paying. As if a glaze comes upon us, choosing to follow our urges, or substitute them we may find it hard to switch off from blogging, social networking, writing or checking emails. Our computer can provide us with escape from the demands of relating and we may become more reclusive - inward looking. The depth, value and subtleties of human interactions, senses, relationships, can become eroded. Sustaining concentration may be a challenge as the depth of our thinking, richness of imagination may dilute. Within all the internet possibilities, opportunities, we may not have enough time and energy to do everything and struggle to say "no" to all else what is available to us off-line. Adjusting and simplifying our priorities may support us. Despite our online interactions, we may feel lonely, isolated inside, numb our feelings. Internet addiction may be slowly creeping up on us.
Internet - where all human life expresses, mirrors itself.
Internet Accuracy, Security, Online Safety & Privacy There is a delicate balance between online privacy and security. Boundaries can become blurred, weakened, e.g. what is work, play, what is public, private and our privacy can be sacrificed. Transparency of online information may be in short supply. How information and personal data is used by individuals, governments, the powerful structures of commercial organisations, corporations, formidably powerful global organisations (where corporate priorities may run counter to a greater good), is usually out of our control and surrendering our data is a price we may have to pay and this may include our lifestyle being tracked. False news, fake news, unreliable information, misinformation - false claims, incorrect, inaccurate, false information or disinformation when this is covertly spread also through rumour, innuendo is present Online activities may also include trolling, malware, fraud, identity theft, criminal and anti-social behaviour, paedophilia, pornography, cyber bullying, etc. Online challenges that potentially threaten our safety, privacy may include unwanted pop-ups, unsolicited emails, malware, trolls, phishing, hacking, scamming, cyber attacks, data breaches, etc.
Relating Face To Face Seeing people, intimately relating face-to-face in meaningful ways may diminish as may our social skills and states of relating. We may be distracted by technology, miss the depth of human connection, simply observing, listening, inspiring, fostering compassion, loving, utilising our senses, being in contact with nature, offering acts of service.
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From A Resource To An Emerging Problem Forever surfing the net we can get carried away on the surf, losing our focus and sustained attention, shutting, blocking things out (e.g. our uncomfortable thoughts we don't have to deal with). Eyes glued to the screen can put us in a trance-like state. Immersed and lost in the internet, we can lose our purpose of using the internet in the first place. We may also forget that it is a tool and that we are in charge of it, so it doesn't become the centre of our life. (We may also need to be aware that online information is passed onto third parties.) Although an inanimate object, our computer can evoke feelings in us and we can nevertheless develop a relationship with it. It has the potential to stimulate and soothe us. When it works well we can feel secure, yet erode our internal secure base, sense of space inside ourself and can also set up a dependency. The computer becomes part of our mental resources, holding our memories, and we may no longer try to remember things so much. We may use the internet as an essential structure for us, because we struggle to put in place other structures in our life. Forever connected to the internet we may slowly begin to feel disconnected inside - caught in the net. Unhooking ourself from the net nay enable us to untangle things, so we can focus on what we actually want from the internet, reconnecting to what really matters, engaging us out in the world (see Connected Yet Disconnected). Finding our way home (and not to a new home page) back inside to what really matters and how we best want to spend our productive, creative time with us and others - may be our challenge. Even what we value may be sacrificed. Constantly online, it can mean we also constantly crave immediate stimulation, information and feedback. The effects of our "internet addiction" may also include changes to the way we think. Consumed by the internet and information overload, we may have become less creative or productive in other ways, losing our sense of time, or be in a trance-like state. If we are online at work and at home we may want to review our work-life balance. Our computer usage starts off as a helpful resource or distraction, yet it can become our habit, what has been called internet dependence or internet addiction. We may have been doing it for so long now, we have become unquestioningly used to it. We may also have concerns about online chat rooms, internet dating, cybersex, internet pornography addiction, online gambling addiction, internet shopping or computer games addiction.
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Physical, Emotional, Psychological Health Synchronised with our addictive internet usage, our moods may rise, then dip. We may become lethargic sitting in front of the computer. In our sedentary lifestyle our body may become more rigid. Our eyes may glaze over and we can sometimes appear in an almost hypnotic state. Regular breaks away from the computer are recommended for good reason. We may have become detached from the physical and natural world, activities around us. Our own physical and emotional health may also be affected. We may end up skipping meals or have a poor diet, lack exercise, lose time for other things, or deprive ourselves from sleep. Our vitality or focus may diminish. Our body can become increasingly disconnected, as if separate from our mind. We may question what makes us happy, as our interactions on the computer may modify our potential. Computer usage may reduce our off-line communication skills, to think abstractly. Some of us may have become disinhibited.
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Connected Yet Disconnected When browsing the internet we can become connected with others online, deepening our relationships and sharing information. We can feel like we are part of communities - interconnected online. Constantly online, the internet offers us the gift of linking with the wider world, yet if we are not careful, we can over time become reclusive - sucked in. The internet helps us be involved, connect, yet hooked on the net, the remoteness of spending a lot of time in the internet can fill an unexplored gap in our lives, rendering some of us empty or lonely inside, alienated, disconnected. Our internet addiction may creep up on us. Our attention and focus becomes computer based, and our relationships with others and the wider world may reduce or have become of less importance. After a while it can be as if we lose, and even waste, much of our time being online, as if the rest of our life has been captured. The internet provides a social activity, yet slowly inside of us we can become isolated, or machine-like, like the very computer we are using online. Forever connected to the internet, other important things can be gradually neglected and we can end up with a sense of disconnection inside and in our off-line world. Addicted to the global net, in our need to connect we may have begun to disconnect from our own, personal needs, neglecting these, struggling to emotionally connect with ourself or our partner. The world wide web can be stimulating, yet other forms of stimulation, spontaneity may dry up. It can be as if our life has become less rounded, whole, especially if we struggle with taking our downtime. Enjoying and embracing nature, the wider world out there, what it has to offer, our interests may pass us by as may our sensual world of touch, taste, smell, etc, alongside being grounded in our body.
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What Is Internet Addiction? We may become so preoccupied with our internet activity (internet dependency, computer dependency, PC addiction, net addiction, online addiction, computer addiction or internet addiction - whatever label we give to it) that it begins to interfere with our relationships, friendships, work, health, etc (see also Physical, Emotional, Psychological Health). Other important routines, activities and responsibilities may be neglected, maybe also our relationship. Although we may be seeking connection with others, whether or not we call it an internet addiction, we may certainly have a compulsive internet overuse problem. What is computer addiction, does it exist are questions that researchers struggle with.
Counselling For Internet Addiction, Computer Addiction In our internet overuse, internet compulsion things may have got out of control. (On a practical level we may want to feed ourself with natural light to our eyes, have good nutrition, fluids, exercise, introducing pauses and reminders.) We may be out of touch with our life's desires, have displaced our drives, urges or have a hard time letting go of our internet devices, so they don't dominate the rest of our life. Frazzled, we may have overlooked what else relaxes us, gives us peace of mind. We may struggle to have breaks, reduce usage, close things down, regain our long term attention span, take charge again in all what life has to offer, live life to our full potential. We may want to turn to internet addiction counselling, online addiction counselling to take charge of our life again, be aware of the impact of what we say (see also Over-Talking, Oversharing - Whether Or Not To Share Our Feelings - Taking Responsibility & Care For Our Feelings, Over-Talking, Oversharing - Balance Between Withholding Or Sharing All Our Thoughts) and no longer be internet addicted, computer addicted, so we can intelligently live, balancing what technology (the computer, internet) offers us with the quality with our offline life. The therapy may also explore our conscious and unconscious intentions, what we are searching for.
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Counselling Questions Regarding Internet Addiction, Computer Addiction We may have a range of internet addiction questions, e.g.:
- Internet addiction - what is internet addiction? Am I addicted to internet? Am I an internet addict?
- Signs of internet addiction - does internet addiction exist? If so, am I addicted to the internet? What are the signs of internet addiction?
- Overcoming internet addiction - I need help for internet addiction, can internet addiction therapy help me dealing with internet addiction?
- Internet addiction treatment - I am addicted to the internet, is there an internet addiction cure? How to cure internet addiction?
- Computer addiction - what is computer addiction? Am I a computer addict, addicted to computer?
- Computer addiction symptoms - I am addicted to the computer, how to stop computer addiction?
- PC addiction, net addiction - I've been described as PC addict, net addict, is there such a thing?
- Online addiction - how widespread is online addiction and how online addiction counselling or online addiction therapy help? What is the online addiction treatment?
- Internet dependency, computer dependency - is there a difference between internet dependency and computer dependency, or internet addiction and computer addiction?
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