The Internet has, to a great extent, transformed the way we live. It is an amazing medium where you can practically get to know about the whole world with a click of the mouse. Besides umpteen information and entertainment, its latest contribution is the various social networking sites that connect you to thousands of people. Although most of us enjoy the benefits of this useful medium, some people become compulsive internet users such that they neglect all other responsibilities and get completely hooked to the internet. In scientific parlance, this is often referred to as cyber addiction. Thousands of people the world over suffer from this addiction.
Signs and symptoms
Cyber addiction is a relatively recent phenomenon and cannot be termed as a formal medical or psychological disorder like other forms of additions. However, it has been noticed that people who are totally addicted to the internet have certain behavioral problems. For example, they often have a problem with their personal lives and relationships. They have a problem completing their daily activities at home or at work, completely lose track of time and responsibilities and in some way become isolated from people around although because they are always connected to the virtual world.
Treatment of cyber addiction
Treatment in the form of medication is not required in case of cyber addiction. One of the best methods is to ask someone close to the addict to explain to him the consequences of internet overuse. However, in serious cases, friendly talks and suggestions do not work. Researchers have compared cyber addiction to any other addiction in terms of seriousness and listed a few techniques to alleviate the problem.
Partial abstinence: Abstinence is a method used to treat alcohol or drug addiction. However, in case of cyber addiction, you cannot ask a person to stay completely away from internet usage as most businesses/studies today heavily rely on the internet. However, reducing the use of this medium as a deliberate attempt often proves to be very useful. The therapist should also make him alert regularly about the various complications that can occur from the avid usage of internet.
Motivational Interviewing: This is a technique that is used for assessing the addiction level of the addict. This is generally moderated by the therapist but involves people who are directly affected by the addict’s behavior, such as his friends, family, co-workers, and employers. The technique helps the addict to first understand how his actions are affecting others. Thereafter, the therapist can help him change his attitude towards compulsive internet use and activities.
Personal inventory: The therapist asks the addict to make a list of his daily activities or the things that have been neglecting for a while. After repeatedly seeing the list, he would be made to feel guilty and will start focusing on other activities as well. He is also encouraged to keep reminder cards and alerts so that he keeps a track of his time.