Internet Addiction and Academic Performance
According to USA Today, 71% of those with internet addiction are between the ages of 18 to 24. The study also found that 39% of Americans spend more time socializing online than they do in-person. Internet, social media and gaming addictions have become increasingly more popular among college students and their academics are suffering.
What is Internet Addiction Disorder?
Internet addiction is defined as any online-related, compulsive behavior which interferes with normal living and causes severe stress on family, friends, loved ones and one’s work environment. Internet addiction has been called internet dependency and internet compulsivity. By any name, it is a compulsive behavior that completely dominates the addict’s life. Internet addicts make the internet a priority more important than family, friends and work. The internet becomes the organizing principle of addicts’ lives. Learn more from Kimberly Young’s TED Talk What you need to know about internet addiction.
Recognizing Internet Addiction
No single behavior pattern defines internet addiction. These behaviors, when they have taken control of addicts’ lives and become unmanageable, include: compulsive use of the internet, a preoccupation with being online, lying or hiding the extent or nature of online behavior and an inability to control online behavior. Individuals whose internet use pattern interferes with their life in any way shape or form (e.g. does it impact work, family life, relationships, school, etc.) may have a problem. In addition, individuals who find that they are using the internet as a means to regularly alter their mood may be developing a problem. It is important to note that it is not the actual time spent online that determines if someone has a problem, but rather if it impacts his or her life.
Source: Net Addiction
Tips for Overcoming Internet Addiction:
- Recognize the triggers. Students should note if they use the internet more when they are lonely or bored. Excessive smartphone use may be a way to self-soothe rocky moods for students who are struggling with depression, stress or anxiety. Instead, it is important to find healthier and more effective ways of managing moods, such as meditation.
- Understand the difference between interacting in-person and online. Human beings are social creatures. We’re not meant to be isolated or to rely on technology for human interaction. The inner ear, face and heart are wired together in the brain, so socially interacting with another person face-to-face can make people feel calm, safe and understood which can quickly put the brakes on stress. Interacting through text, email or messaging may feel important but bypasses these nonverbal cues, so it can never have the same effect on emotional well-being. In addition, online friends can’t hug during a crisis, visit during an illness or celebrate a happy occasion.
- Strengthen support networks. Set aside dedicated time each week for friends and family. There are ways for students who are shy to overcome social awkwardness and make lasting friends without relying on social media or the internet. To find people with similar interests, try reaching out to colleagues at work, joining a sports team or book club, enrolling in an education class or volunteering for a good cause. These situations allow students to interact with others, let relationships develop naturally and form friendships that will enhance their life and strengthen their health.
- Recognize any underlying problems that may support compulsive behavior. Students should note if they have had any problems with alcohol or drugs in the past and if anything about their internet use indicate a problem with addiction. If so, they may need to address the issue.
Source: Help Guide