Internet addition, otherwise called online addiction or internet addiction disorder, is a potent problem that is increasing becoming part of our daily lives. Unlike what obtains in some parts of the developed world where such problems are given systematic support and special intervention, little or nothing is being done about it here in Nigeria.
Internet addiction operates in a variety of ways. Its forms include cybersex addiction, cyber-relationship addiction, net compulsion, information overload and computer addiction. You are likely to find people, especially the youth, around you that have these problems. If they are not online for a day, it is as if they are lost in the wilderness.
Cybersex addiction is a disorder that makes you to always access internet pornography or hop from one adult chat room to another. You are wired to see online literature, videos and photos relating to sex and you do that often such that the real world is negatively affected by your virtual experience.
Cyber-relationship addiction concerns your compulsive attachment to social networking. You chat, you ping, you text, you tweet, you “watsapp” and you are closer to those who are far from you and become distant from family members that are supposed to be close to you. You must read every thrash posted by every friend and you must “like” or share it to show support.
Net compulsion arises from your predilection for online gaming, gambling, shopping and extreme use of auction sites. It is a compulsive engagement with the net with negative implications for work and concentration.
Information overload is excessive online surfing, database searching and non-stop browsing all in the name of seeking information. At the end of the day, precious time is lost and much of the information is useless.
Computer addiction was the precursor to internet addiction. Playing computer games is what operates here. Anytime the addict gets to hold a computer, his destination is straight to the offline games.
We have become so much addicted to technology and gadgets that we are losing values that define us and we put ourselves in danger’s way. People text and ping when they drive while others receive such phone calls. We talk less with family and real friends as we are engrossed with replying and following virtual, social media friends who regale us with updates that have little bearing on our lives.
Internet addiction is worrisome because it affects education. There are many students who pretend to listen in the class while quietly chatting with their online friends with their devices hidden under the table. As a matter of fact, studies now show that poor educational performance is associated with internet addiction.
I do not understand why a student should belong to more than three social media sites. However, for many students, they are they on Facebook, Twitter, Google +, My Space, 2go, Instagram, PinInterest and so many of them. They chat excitedly all the time at the expense of what really matters: their tomorrow.
Guarding against internet addiction is in the interest of peace and education. We know that several atrocities are committed online, from fraud to child trafficking and terrorism. Saving ourselves and our impressionistic young ones from the dangers of internet addiction is a task that must be done at the personal, parental and government levels.
At the individual level, discipline should be our watchword in dealing with the internet. You don’t have to be online 24/7 to be trendy. Only go online when you have something to do there. Then, time management is crucial. There is time for everything and all time should not be spent surfing.
Parents need to constantly keep an eye on the online behavior of their children. Smart phones are doubled-edged swords especially with the low rates of data subscription these days. I just read a heart-rending story of a young girl was lured into prostitution in Italy just because of a cell phone gift, through which her manipulator was able to achieve his ulterior motive.
On its part, Government should support outdoor games, school sports and other activities that keep people healthy and really social. The good old days of exciting inter-house sports should be brought back as the current situation of playing all kinds of games, from football to ping pong, on the screen is counter-productive.
Technology, including smart phones and gadgets, is for us to use and control. Technology is not to use and control us. A stitch in time saves nine. Stop internet addiction and be free.