Spending excessive time in front of a computer, laptop, mobile phone, or other digital devices is digital addiction. Different people use the Internet to serve different purposes. Some would use it for work-related aspects, while others would use it to socialize with their family and friends. Whatsoever be the motive, spending more time on the Internet to the extent that you neglect your day-to-day responsibilities, like work, family, relationships, daily household chores, etc., could be detrimental to your physical and emotional well-being.
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Are you Addicted to Internet?
Most of us would have binge-watched series or movies at least once in our lifetime. But can we refer to that as digital addiction? Certainly not! Any activity becomes an addiction when it negatively impacts your life. The following are a few symptoms that may help you understand whether you are addicted to the Internet. The symptoms could either be emotional or physical.
Emotional Digital Addiction Symptoms
Euphoria and Guilt
While spending too much time on Internet, you may experience a sense of euphoria. Binge-watching series, playing online games for hours and hours, watching YouTube videos on a specific genre, or scrolling down through social media platforms without keeping a count on time may make you happy. But after a while, you might also start feeling guilty and bad for wasting your time consuming the content on Internet, ignoring your priorities. These are signs of digital addiction or internet addiction.
Spending too much time on digital platforms will make you feel isolated from your friends and family.
Poor Time Management
Running behind in time in completing your day-to-day activities, like completing school or college-based assignments, household chores, skipping meals, sleep deprivation, missing out on the daily bath, etc., defines your addictive behavior to the Internet.
- Physical addiction symptoms
- Poor vision and dry eyes
- Body pain, neck pain, and back pain
- Poor personal hygiene and poor nutrition
- Sleep deprivation
- Experiences headaches frequently
Causes of Digital Addiction
Multiple factors cause digital addiction. The causes may vary from person to person.
Release of Dopamine
Digital addiction can be related to drug or alcohol addiction. People addicted to drugs and alcohol keep consuming them for experiencing the sense of euphoria from the release of dopamine in the body. Repeating the same behavioral pattern will help them chase euphoria. The same applies to a user addicted to the Internet. Watching movies, web series, or spending time on other social media platforms will initially give us a sense of happiness. To keep experiencing the same level of pleasure, one will tend to engage in similar behavioral patterns.
The role played by genetics isn’t subtle when it comes to digital addiction. People suffering from digital addiction may have low dopamine and serotonin levels in their bodies. So, to keep up with it, they engage in activities that help them seek pleasure, keeping up with the dopamine levels.
Internet could be a source of multiple layers of rewards for some people. Getting a rewarding experience from such platforms may motivate users to return. For instance, some people consider watching drama or anime to reward their efforts after studying or working. Receiving likes and comments from posting your pictures on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram could make people excited for a while. These days children, youth, and adults seek their comfort and happiness in cherishing such rewarding experiences. Getting engaged with such practices and activities, looking forward to more such rewarding experiences may eventually lead to digital addiction.
Depression and Anxiety
Some people start using the Internet to fight their depression and anxiety, i.e., escape reality. But over time, it may become a habit, further paving the way for digital addiction.
From visual impairments to sleep deprivation, digital addiction can deteriorate your physical health, emotional and mental well-being. You may not realize that you are falling prey to digital addiction. Reflect upon what makes you spend more time on the Internet and linger around it for more than required. Work upon those reasons and take all preventive measures to keep yourselves away from falling for it. The best way is to keep a reminder to stop using the Internet after exceeding your daily limit. If it seems like your digital addiction is out of your control, seek medical help from professionals.