Excessive time spent on the internet or the computer can be as bad for you as any other type of addiction. Symptoms of internet addiction can include depression, weight loss or gain, diminishing interest in work or school, carpal tunnel syndrome, decreased fitness level (which has its own dangers), and dry eyes, to name a few. Insomnia may also develop as a result of the light that interferes with the pineal gland. Over time, web addicts may get much less sleep which begins to affect melatonin production and cortisol levels. These factors can affect the ability to think clearly, cause increased weight gain and irritability.
People who are lonely feel less lonely when they surf the internet. Interaction with others on forums substitute for friendship in the real world. Many times, when people have met for the first time after years of close friendship on the web, they have found that they don’t like each other and actually have very little in common. This is because some people have an altered persona on the internet, but it’s mainly because many of the factors that are evident in face to face contact are not evident online.
Sometimes people become addicted to the internet because they are bored by the lack of stimulating factors in their real lives. This includes endless debates, arguments, romantic talk, etc. on forums, social networking sites, and even some sex sites. For instance, often times the people who become gaming addicts substitute wins in the games for wins in real life. Those who are more likely to fall into this category tend to be people who do not do well in an overly political environment where workplace gossip, manipulation, aggressiveness, and extroversion make winning difficult for those not inclined that way.
One of the reasons there’s so much cyber bullying is that the internet is the perfect environment for being able to say and do things that would, at some point, risk penalties and punishment. The anonymity of the web enables the bully to get the feeling of satisfaction that they are perhaps not achieving elsewhere in their lives. People who are avoidant by nature or have anxiety or obsessive-compulsive disorders may find themselves also particularly vulnerable to internet addictions.
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