Internet addiction is a behavioral disorder that’s characterized by compulsive Internet use despite negative physical, mental, and emotional consequences.
This may be called problematic internet use (PIU) or internet addiction disorder (IAD).
Many of us have felt the short-term and long-term effects of Internet use as it’s become an integral aspect of our everyday lives to complete school, work, projects, and as a means of entertainment.
Daily use can quickly turn to Internet addiction, which may be recognized by signs such as excessive use, lying to hide Internet use, a lack of control over Internet use, and other effects.
An Internet addiction can lead to several physical and mental health effects, as well as effects on relationships, employment status, and interpersonal interactions in real life.
Negative Effects on Mental Health
Researchers have found that Internet addiction can have profound negative consequences on a person’s mental health, causing serious disorders.
It’s important to recognize these early signs of mental health issues in conjunction with a person’s Internet use in order to make positive changes to improve these patterns.
Research from 2011 found that college-age students experienced adverse mental effects of Internet addiction, as there was a correlation with psychiatric symptoms such as somatization, sensitivity, depression, anxiety, aggression, phobias, and psychosis.
A more recent study of college students in 2020 published in the Journal of Education and Health Promotion proved similar results: Internet addiction was directly associated with anxiety, depression, and adverse mental health.
Worsened Sleeping Habits
Internet addiction leads to poor quality sleep and sleep disturbances. American psychiatrist and Yale professor Dr. Marc Potenza touches on this topic in an Expert Opinion interview.
He discusses unhealthy Internet behaviors, such as bringing an iPad into bed and remaining awake for hours instead of going to sleep earlier and getting quality rest.
(Learn More from Expert Opinion, a series where Yale experts give their opinion on medical-themed stories in the news. In this edition, Dr. Marc Potenza explains if there is medical relevance to the term internet addiction and what can be done to treat it. Courtesy of Yale School Of Medicine and YouTube.)
Anyone can be affected by the Internet’s impact on sleep.
However, this issue disproportionately affects adolescents and young adults who have grown up with streaming networks, social media, video games, and other uses of the Internet as primary sources of fulfillment.
Many younger individuals choose the Internet to oversleep, worsening their sleeping patterns and overall health. Additionally, because the light emitted from screens impacts melatonin production, many find it more difficult to fall asleep after heavy Internet use.
Impacts on Social Performance
Research published in 2021 in Frontiers in Psychiatry analyzed the interplay between Internet addiction and intolerance of uncertainty (IU), which is a cognitive bias that affects how a person perceives, interprets, and responds to uncertain situations.
This includes many social situations, such as meeting a new group of friends.
The article discusses how this level of uncertainty, though uncomfortable, encourages us to take control of our lives and adopt more proactive approaches for future situations.
Many individuals who lack the ability to handle social anxieties and new situations well turn to the Internet for temporary peace and detachment.
The more a person avoids these situations in favor of the predictability and comfort of the Internet, the more difficult it becomes to navigate social situations.
Work and School Performance
It’s been proven by several scientific studies that Internet addiction leads to lower performance at work and in school.
Internet addiction has been found to have a significant impact on students, as higher levels of Internet use typically lead to difficulty concentrating, lower grades, and worsened exam performance.
Other studies have shown that many full-time workers find it difficult to control their internet use, jeopardizing their employment status and personal relationships.
Not only this, but Internet addiction has also been linked to decreased job satisfaction for many employees, causing negative impacts on mental health, motivation, and other effects.
How to Protect Yourself from Internet Addiction
Though the implications of Internet addiction may seem alarming, we have control over these outcomes.
With better practices and techniques for self-monitoring Internet use, you can regain areas of your life that have been controlled by excessive Internet use.
In his interview, Potenza encourages Internet users to increase mindfulness over their time spent on the Internet, and recognize when problems arise that are associated with this use.
Try keeping a log of your time spent on the Internet and track any physical or emotional responses you experience as a result of Internet use.
For example, many people are fatigued, get headaches, or feel negative emotional impacts after long periods spent scrolling on social media, watching Netflix, etc.
Pay attention to how your mind and body respond to this time spent on the Internet, and implement new behaviors based on those findings.
Set time limits on your phone and computer, and plan screen-free activities to pursue in time spent off of the Internet. This will provide a healthy alternative to fill that void and encourage better patterns.
If further help is needed, the best treatment approach for Internet addiction is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), a therapy approach that involves replacing negative thought patterns with positive coping strategies, improving self-awareness and problem-solving skills.
Kevin Becker Recognized in 2021 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Program
American Security Today’s Annual ‘ASTORS’ Awards is the preeminent U.S. Homeland Security Awards Program, and now in its Seventh Year, continues to recognize industry leaders of Physical and Border Security, Cybersecurity, Emergency Preparedness – Management and Response, Law Enforcement, First Responders, as well as federal, state and municipal government agencies in the acknowledgment of their outstanding efforts to Keep our Nation Secure.
Excellence in Scientific Research
Trauma Counselor, and Owner of ORI Consulting
In recognition of Dr. Becker’s lifetime of service as a practitioner and as a psychologist helping individuals, organizations, and governments prepare for, respond to, and recover from crisis and traumatic events, and the human impact of trauma, crisis, and disaster for organizations and individuals.
(Hear Dr. Kevin Becker, keynote speaker at Newtown Sandy Hook Community Connections Day posted on Jul 10, 2017. Courtesy of ORI Consulting and YouTube.)
The Annual ‘ASTORS’ Awards highlight the most cutting-edge and forward-thinking security solutions coming onto the market today, to ensure our readers have the information they need to stay ahead of the competition and keep our Nation safe – one facility, street, and city at a time.
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Our 2021 keynote speaker featured a moving and informative address from TSA Administrator and Vice-Admiral of the United States Coast Guard (Ret), David Pekoske; to our attendees who traveled from across the United States and abroad, on the strategic priorities of the 64,000 member TSA workforce in securing the transportation system, enabling safe, and in many cases, contactless travel.
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AlertMedia, Allied Universal, AMAROK, ATI Systems, Attivo Networks, Axis Communications, Automatic Systems of America, BriefCam, Canon U.S.A., Fortior Solutions, guardDog.ai, Hanwha Techwin of America, HID Global, Mark43, IPVideo Corporation, Konica Minolta Business Solutions, Lumina Analytics, NEC National Security Systems, NICE Public Safety, OnSolve, PureTech Systems, Quantum Corporation, Rave Mobile Safety, Regroup Mass Notification, Robotic Assistance Devices, Rajant Corporation, SafeLogic, Senstar Corporation, ShotSpotter, Singlewire Software, SolarWinds Worldwide, Teledyne FLIR, Valor Systems, and Wiresecure, just to name a few!
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