Internet usage has increased exponentially in the last 10 years. Most homes in America now have Internet access, and even more people can connect to the Internet through their smart phones and other devices. While the ability to view an endless barrage of information whenever we want can be beneficial, many people are now becoming addicted to the Internet.
Internet addiction is part of a group of disorders called process addictions. Process addicts are not dependent on drugs or alcohol, but actually an activity or process. Just as a drug addict craves their substance and does not feel complete without it, likewise Internet addicts constantly want to be online, even if it means their family or job suffers as a result of it.
Reasons for Internet Addiction
There is a plethora of knowledge to be gained from surfing the Internet that the activity can pull people in. Even sites that may seem like a waste of time, such as sites that list the most viewed videos of the day or are full of meaningless facts, can trap web viewers into hours of watching.
Then there are the sites that purposely use addiction to promote their sites. Many games that people play online were actually designed to keep people playing. Creators of these games get players hooked by allowing them to beat a few levels, and then giving them incentives to attempt higher levels. The feeling of accomplishment, along with grasping for something just out of reach, makes players become addicted to the game.
Other sites like Facebook and social media sites are addicting because users get caught up learning about people they know and catching up with them. People get great satisfaction from checking and receiving messages, which keeps them coming back for more.
Getting Help for an Internet Addiction
While many, many people tend to occasionally neglect responsibilities because of their Internet usage, some people have a true addiction. These people find themselves unable to pull away and do something else. They lose interest in the things around them, and spend hours a day online.
An Internet addiction may require professional help, just as a drug addiction or alcoholism does. If you think you or a loved one is struggling with an Internet addiction, consider getting professional help.