Internet Addiction





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Internet Addiction


How much is too much Internet use? When you feel more comfortable with your online friends than your real ones, or you can’t stop yourself from playing games, gambling, or compulsively surfing, than you may be using the Internet too much. Or even worse, are an Internet addict.

IN 2005, a South Korean man died after reportedly playing an online computer game for 50 hours with few breaks. The 28-year-old man collapsed after playing at an Internet cafe in the city of Taegu. The news reports state the man had not slept properly and had eaten very little during his marathon session. It goes on to say that the cause of death was heart failure stemming from exhaustion. South Korea is a pretty wired country. The Internet penetration there is very high. Malaysia´s not quite there. Yet.

Norton, an Internet security company, produced a family report in 2010 which stated that Malaysian children spent an average of 64 hours online every month.

Studies suggest that 1 in 8 Americans suffer from problematic Internet use. Those estimates are higher in China, Taiwan, and Korea where 30 percent or more of the population may experience problematic Internet use.

The online, interactive game craze in China continues to astound analysts. The market for fantasy and adventure "massively multiplayer online role-playing games" (MMORPGs) shot up 54% to $460 million in 2005, and research firm IDC predicts China will overtake South Korea as the biggest Asian market for this type of Net entertainment by next year.


What is Internet Addiction?

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 study or work environment.


  • relational problems
  • occupational problems
  • social problems.

Symptoms often identified were

    • a preoccupation with the Internet,
    • an inability to control use,
    • hiding or lying about the behavior,
    • psychological withdrawal, and
    • continued use despite consequences of the behavior.

While controversial, the researchers concluded that “the more hours people use the

Internet, the less time they spend in contact with real human beings.”

Types of Internet Addictions

  • Cybersex and cyberporn addiction
  • Compulsive surfing
  • Compulsive checking of emails and instant messaging
  • Compulsive checking of social media updates
  • Online games
  • Online gambling
  • Online chat rooms
  • Compulsive online shopping
  • eBay addiction

The Process of Internet Addiction

Similar to other addictions like to gambling, smoking, drugs, alcohol or sex.


  • relationship to the substance (gambling, alcohol, sex, internet)
  • the substance gives them a ‘high’
  • the ‘high’ makes them feel normal and that they belong
  • psychological escape from reality (life’s problem)
  • substitute unhealthy relationship
  • continually strive to maintain that ‘high’
  • loss of self-esteem
  • downward spiral

The keyword is RELATIONSHIP.

Internal addiction destroys relationship with God, with other people and with yourself.

With God, you have replaced God with the Internet. You look to the Internet for comfort, security and peace.

With other people, Internet takes up so much of your time, money, and energy that you have no time for other people, social communal interactions and friendship building.

With yourself, the Internet destroys your concept of relationship by offering you a false delusion that it will supply all your needs.


You are at greater risk of Internet addiction:

  • If you suffer from anxiety. You may use the Internet to distract yourself from your worries and fears. An anxiety disorder like obsessive-compulsive disorder may also contribute to excessive email checking and compulsive Internet use.
  • If you are depressed. The Internet can be an escape from feelings of depression, but too much time online can make things worse. Internet addiction further contributes to isolation and loneliness.
  • If you have any other addictions. Many Internet addicts suffer from other addictions, mainly to drugs, alcohol, gambling, and sex.
  • If you lack social support. Internet addicts often use chat rooms, instant messaging, or online gaming as a safe way of establishing new relationships and more confidently relating to others.
  • If you’re a teenager, you might be wondering where you fit in and the Internet might feel more comfortable than real life friends.
  • If you are less mobile or socially active than you are used to. For example, you may be coping with a new disability that limits your ability to drive. Parenting very young children can make it hard to leave the house or connect with old friends.

The Signs of Problematic Computer Use

A person who is “addicted” to the computer is likely to have several of the experiences and feelings on the list below: How many of them describe you?

  • You have mixed feelings of well-being and guilt while at the computer.
  • You have difficulty getting your homework done because computer games occupy a great deal of your time.
  • You make unsuccessful efforts to quit or limit your computer use.
  • You lose track of time while on the computer. You connect to the Internet and suddenly discover it is several hours later and you have not left the computer. 
  • Your friends are worried about you going on a date alone with a person known only from a chat room.
  • You spend most of your time on-line talking to friends from home, instead of making new friends at college.
  • Almost all of your friends are from on-line activities and contacts.
  • You neglect friends, family and/or responsibilities in order to be online.
  • You find yourself lying to your parents and family about the amount of time spent on the computer and what you do while on it.
  • You feel anxious, depressed, or irritable when your computer time is shortened or interrupted.
  • You use the computer repeatedly as an outlet when sad, upset, or for sexual gratification.
  • You develop problems in school as a result of the time spent and the type of activities accessed on the computer.
  • When you are not on the computer, you think about it frequently and anticipate when you will use it again.

Being “addicted” to the computer also can cause physical discomfort. Are you suffering from the following physical problems?

  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (pain, numbness, and burning in your hands that can radiate up the wrists, elbows, and shoulders)
  • Dry eyes or strained vision
  • Back aches and neck aches
  • Severe headaches
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Irritability



Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has been shown to be an effective treatment for compulsive disorders such as intermittent explosive disorder, and pathological gambling. CBT is a familiar treatment based on the premise that thoughts determine feelings. Patients are taught to monitor their thoughts and identify those that trigger addictive feelings and actions while they learn new coping skills and ways to prevent a relapse. CBT usually requires three to months of treatment or approximately 12 weekly sessions. The early stage of therapy is behavioral, focusing on specific behaviors and situations where the impulse control disorder causes the greatest difficulty. As therapy progresses, there is more of a focus on the cognitive assumptions and distortions that have developed and the effects of these on behavior. This involves assessment of the type of distortion, problem-solving skills and coping strategies training, modeling in therapy, support groups, and keeping thought journals (Treatment Outcomes with Internet Addicts

Dr. Kimberly S. Young, Clinical Director Center for Internet Addiction Recovery Published in CyberPsychology & Behavior, 2007, Vol. 10, No. 5; pp. 671-679).


Helping a child or teen with an Internet addiction

It’s a fine line as a parent. If you severely limit a child or teen’s Internet use, they might rebel and go to excess. But you can and should model appropriate computer use, supervise computer activity and get your child help if he or she needs it. If your child or teen is showing signs of Internet addiction, there are many things that you as a parent can do to help:

  • Encourage other interests and social activities. Get your child out from behind the computer screen. Expose kids to other hobbies and activities, such as team sports, Boy or Girl Scouts, and afterschool clubs.
  • Monitor computer use and set clear limits. Make sure the computer is in a common area of the house where you can keep an eye on your child's online activity, and limit time online, waiting until homework and chores are done. This will be most effective if you as parents follow suit. If you can’t stay offline, chances are your children won’t either.
  • Talk to your child about underlying issues. Compulsive computer use can be the sign of deeper problems. Is your child having problems fitting in? Has there been a recent major change, like a move or divorce, which is causing stress? Don’t be afraid to seek professional counseling if you are concerned about your child.


How to Help Computer Obsessed Friends

  • Be a good role model. Manage the computer use in your own life well.
  • Introduce them to some other people who handle their computer use sensibly.
  • Get them involved in some non-computer related fun.
  • Talk to your friends about your concerns with their computer use.
  • Support their desire for change if they think they have a problem.
  • Encourage them to seek professional counseling.


Approach to Break the Bondage of Internet Addiction (adapted from Alcoholic Anonymous)

1.       Admit that you are an Internet Addict

2.       Confess to God and ask for his help

3.       Confess to your trusted friends and ask for their help

4.       Say no to Internet Addiction. DELETE all facebook etc accounts. Use the Net only for work or study purposes. Connect to people by phone.

5.       Be accountable to one or two other trusted persons. Find a support group of former Internet addicts

6.       Find alternative ways to replace the Internet in your life

7.       If you fail, try, try again.



There is a need to differentiate Internet Addiction from excessive use of Internet. Excessive use may not be healthy either but is not a bondage. Internet addiction is a bondage and you need to be set free.

Note: acknowledgements to all the sources used. This article is for information and not for commercial use.

| posted 24 November 2010 |


An earlier article I wrote on Internet addiction before facebook etc. Confessions of an Internet Addict


"treat, heal, and comfort always"

 "spiritual forming disciples of Jesus Christ with informed minds, hearts on fire and contemplative in actions"  


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