Internet Addiction Term Paper

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Internet started way back 3 to 4 decades, but it really took the world by storm through the 90's and till now it has become one of the main assets of modern day computer user. More people get the information through Internet, especially those who use it than by any other means. The world has become a cyber village where simply anyone from anywhere can communicate with other person living absolutely thousands of miles away either through voice communication, chat, email. People can buy online from the different portals, web sites through their cards because of Internet. All in all, Internet has for sure changed the lives of millions if not billions. Life without it would be chaotic for those who use it and take if for granted.

Even though life without would be unthinkable without the Internet, there are some ingredients because of which it has stigmatized itself. Most of the time, you will find people wasting there time on the Internet, just for the sake of killing time or having fun. For example, chatting is an activity on the net; once you get hooked to it then the chances are that you will spend hours on it and this will become a daily routine.

Internet Addiction

Internet addiction (also known as 'pathological Internet

use')1 is a disorder that affects millions of Internet users throughout the world. Often, people joke about being addicted to the Net, but most people don't realize that there are people out there who are essentially slaves to their computers. Often times they miss work or school, spend hours and hours online, carry on extramarital cyber sex affairs, and participate in various online activities that end

Internet Addiction 2

up affecting their own offline worlds. Make no mistake about it, Internet addiction is real, and chances are good that someone you know has it.

What is Internet Addiction?

In the mid- 1990's people became fascinated with the Internet (What is Internet Addiction? Davis A.

Richard) 2. All of the sudden, information was available on any topic imaginable. It was as if someone collected all of the world's knowledge, put it together on an easy-to-use interface, and handed it to anyone who wanted it. With so much information at our fingertips, it is no astonishing phenomenon that some users couldn't seem to get enough.

For hours on end, these people would sit at their computers and breathe in the entire universe of knowledge. This behavior has even been called Information Masturbation.

As the content increased and the number of things one could actually do increased dramatically, people began to display symptoms of is now called "Internet addiction." The term was actually coined by Psychiatrist

Ivan Goldberg in 1996 as a joke on an e-mail listserv. He adapted the criteria for alcohol dependence to fit behaviors associated with the Internet. Some psychologists recognized that there were patients that actually displayed these symptoms, and began to study the condition in terms of a real psychiatric disorder. Over the next five years, the number of Internet users grew exponentially, and so did the number of people who had symptoms of Internet addiction.

While there is still controversy about whether Internet

addiction is real or not, experts have successfully argued

Internet Addiction 3

that since the behavior exists, it must be recognized and treated accordingly.

What are the symptoms of Internet addiction?

Internet addiction (What is Internet Addiction?

Davis A. Richard) 2, also known as pathological Internet use, is a psychiatric condition that involves both pathological behaviors and maladaptive cognitions. The symptomatic behaviors include: academic/work or interpersonal problems, neglecting friends, family, and job or personal responsibilities, withdrawal when away from the Internet, irritability when attempting to stop using the Internet, staying online more than originally intended, lying or concealing how much time you spend online, drastic lifestyle changes in order to spend more time online, a general decrease in physical activity, disregard for one's health as a result of Internet activity, and sleep deprivation or a change in sleep patterns in order to spend time on the net.

Cognitions are essentially (What is Internet

Addiction? Davis A. Richard) 2 thought patterns. In Internet

addiction, people not only behave differently than what

society would consider 'normal,' they also think differently from the average individual. They have obsessive thoughts about the Internet, diminished impulse control, and feel as though the Internet is their only friend. There is the feeling that the Internet is the only place where they feel good about themselves and the world around them. Other symptoms include thinking about the Internet while offline, anticipating future time online, and spending large of Internet Addiction 4

amounts of money on Internet time and other such expenses. The person spends less time doing otherwise pleasurable activities than before the condition began.

What used to be fun is no longer enjoyable. A further complication arises when the person eventually isolates himself or herself from friends, in favor of friends online.

Finally, people with Internet addiction have a sense of guilt about their online use. They often lie to their friends about how much time they spend online, and consider their

Internet use a secret to others. While they understand that what they are doing is not entirely socially acceptable, they cannot stop. This results in a diminished self-worth and further symptoms of Internet addiction.

Specific thoughts associated with Internet addiction

(What is Internet Addiction? Davis A. Richard) 2 are subconscious and automatic. People with Internet

addiction don't even realize that they are thinking this way.

These thoughts are played over and over again in the person's mind until it is difficult to separate fact from fiction. Typical thoughts about the self include, "I am only good on the Internet," "I am worthless offline, but online I

am someone," "I have power and control online, but offline

I have little effect on other people," and "I am a failure when I am offline."

Typical thoughts about the world (What is Internet

Addiction? Davis A. Richard) 2 involve generalizing specific events to global trends. In other words, the individual might think, "The Internet is the only place I am respected," "Nobody loves me offline," "the Internet is my only friend," or "People treat me badly offline."

Internet Addiction 5

What are people addicted to?

There are several technologies and applications (What is Internet

Addiction? Davis A. Richard) 2 that people have become addicted to on the Internet.

Online Sex:

Perhaps the most frequently reported addiction is to (What is Internet Addiction? Davis A. Richard) 2 online sexual materials. Pornography is pervasive on the Internet, and readily available for anyone at any time.

Moreover, access to this material is made completely anonymously and without the threat of social retribution.

So, some Internet addicts collect and trade pornographic images and movies online. There have been reports of users collecting hundreds of thousands of pornographic pictures online. Often, they will not even look at the pictures.

Instead, the thrill is in the act of collecting and trading these images, and the massive amounts of collected materials only serve as either a vehicle to attain more or a record of the taboo behavior.

Other Internet addiction related to pornography

(What is Internet Addiction? Davis A. Richard) 2 involves the 'chat' technology. This is where two or more individuals can text chat over the Internet in real time. In a typical online sexual encounter, two Internet users will meet in a public chat room. After brief discourse, the individuals may decide to go into a private chat situation, whereby only they can read each other's messages. In the private chat, the two begin to role play a sexual encounter.

The sexual text chat is accompanied by masturbation by both parties from their respective homes. Such behavior is

Internet Addiction 6

often called "cyber sex." What is especially enticing, and therefore addictive, about cyber sex is that it is completely anonymous, and the parties may assume any role character they choose. Although one might be a middle-aged father of three, he might pretend to be a twenty-year-old muscled bodybuilder. Such fantasy role playing is admittedly safe and anonymous, and allows individuals to be in control of their sexual satisfaction while interacting with in real time with others. For many Internet addicts, this is an especially enticing scenario.

Online sex has contributed to relationship problems

(What is Internet Addiction? Davis A. Richard) 2 of thousands of marriages and families. Individuals whose partners are addicted to online sexual activity are often called, "cyber widows," because they are victims of partners who have left them for Internet romances and such. This is becoming a particularly troublesome phenomenon, and many such cases wind up in marriage counseling or divorce.

Online sex (What is Internet Addiction? Davis

A. Richard) 2 has been accompanied by various elicit and illegal activities. The two most serious involve children. Firstly, Internet addicts (and others) have been known to exchange child pornography images and movies over the Internet. This behavior, which…[continue]

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