Our hyperdynamic society is obsessed with escaping reality. And what better way to do that than by using the Internet?
What is Internet Addiction?
Our idea of addiction is rooted in the 70s and centres around suffering and the inability to change one’s destiny. Gambling, eating disorders, sex, or compulsive shopping are as addictive as the Internet. Their common denominator is the dependency mechanisms where behaviour is just as important as the product itself.
It is important to differentiate between dependence behaviours linked to the Internet as a tool and those related to the opportunities offered by the Internet. In the first case, the Internet is the cause of dependence, while in the second, it is only the means. Tools are not dangerous in themselves. It’s how we use them that can lead to all kinds of addictions. An online game is a parallel world through which one’s ego is boosted. Here’s how a typical hardcore gamer explains their obsession: “I want to stop, but I can’t because things I can do there will never be possible in reality.” They are well aware that this world is the real one, but their narcissistic addiction prevents them from leaving it.
A no-life is a person who devotes a colossal part of their life to playing video games. Here’s a set of words that characterizes such an unhealthy lifestyle: academic difficulties and a desire to buy essay cheap, professional, romantic or social, psychic chart of distress, depression, serious pathologies. The consequences include broken social and family ties, dropping out of school, and deterioration of general physical health. Sociologists often compare the “no-life” type to “otaku.” Derived from the Japanese slang term “freak,” it is used to describe anyone with an addiction to manga (comics or graphic novels created in Japan).
Cyber Addiction: A Socially Accepted Dependency
Our relaxed attitude toward the Internet is explained by the fact that it satisfies our innate need for communication. That is precisely why society does not treat all addictions the same way. Paradoxically, dependence is one of the factors of social stability, and unlike drug or alcohol abuse, the social consequences of Internet addiction are too difficult to assess.
If we consider workaholics, i.e., people dependent on their professional activity, we’ll find the same mechanisms, the same symptoms, and the same suffering as in any other form of addiction. These are the individuals who work fifteen to eighteen hours a day (including weekends) and have no vacations. Their obsession forces them to gradually give up on other important things necessary for a balanced life.
How the Internet Is Changing Our Daily Lives
Over the last several decades, we have been witnessing rapid technology-powered changes. In barely fifty years, our planet has been covered with a twisted and tangled web of cables and wires. In 1997, only 1% of households had access to the Web. Today, we use it on a daily basis and cannot imagine our lives without it.
Internet access also concerns our cultural practices, such as photography, video, music, graphic arts, and all of our hobbies. In addition to the issue of addiction, our relationship with the Internet also raises the question of our privacy, our personal data, and our right to digital oblivion. The Internet is also a window to unexpected freedom. It makes it possible for us to choose a name, a life, or a belonging. Thanks to it, we can cut distances and share knowledge anytime and anywhere.
Is Internet Addiction Treatable?
Can Internet addiction be treated? As with all drug-free addictions, it is the patients who should seek consultation and support. Their motivation should be something like this: “I am not a drug addict, but I cannot live without the Internet. I spend nearly all of my free time surfing the Web, and I cannot escape this loop on my own. I’ve come to see what you can do for me.” Doctors, in their turn, should ask their patients the following questions: “How did you become addicted?”, “Why do you want to get rid of your addiction?”, “What sacrifices are you prepared to make?” The aim of any therapy should be to restore the person’s ability to choose the so-called “psychic democracy.”