The 3 most common Internet addictions to look out for

The 3 most common Internet addictions to look out for include social media addiction, net compulsions, and information overload. What are characteristics of each? We explore here.

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Are you addicted to the internet?

By Peyton Spencer

The Internet is an integral part of life today. We bank, work, go to school, shop, play, and interact socially online. According to US Consumers, the average amount of time spent on the Internet is three hours per day. But does the neuroscience of addiction manifest in our technological lives?  You betcha.  Signs of internet addiction in kids and adults are becoming widely recognized and more common.

While the internet has many benefits, excessive use may interfere with daily life. This causes work and relationships to suffer, which are both symptoms of Internet addiction. Cybersex and cyberporn may be the most common types of Internet addiction, however, the 3 most common Internet addictions to look out for include social media addiction, net compulsions, and information overload.

1. Social Media Addiction

If you find yourself compulsively checking social media every spare moment and prioritizing Facebook over actual time spent with family and friends, you might be addicted. Social media users may become consumed with what other people are doing that they check up on them for hours on end. Symptoms can include feelings of jealousy and anxiety over a lack of “likes”. For example, they post a Facebook status and check 20 times that day in hopes that a significant amount of people have liked or commented on it, which creates feelings of validation and self-esteem.

Scientists have proven one physiological reason we constantly check emails or social networks is when we find something interesting or that challenges us to respond, our brains release a burst of dopamine. Although social media isn’t a chemical substance, you can stillbecome hooked on this stimulus overtime. This compulsion leads to checking of mobile devices even when it isn’t safe or appropriate, such as driving a car or during a movie at the theatre. People who neglect real-life relationships for online friends have a serious Internet addiction.

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2. Net Compulsions

Net compulsions include things like obsessive online gambling, gaming, shopping, auctions, and stock trading. The Internet makes these activities available day or night without the limitations experienced in real life and the risk of being caught. Accomplishments such as beating high game scores, peer admiration, and purchasing sale items online can add fuel to the fire and lead to obsessive behavior.

The International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction cites a gaming addiction where a boy spent 80 hours a week and 10-14 hours a day playing World of Warcraft. His entire social life existed online while his actual relationships suffered. He admitted that gaming increased his self-esteem.Net Compulsions promise immediate gratification, but result in negative consequences instead like maxed out credit cards, failed relationships, and job-related struggles.

3. Information Overload

The Internet gives access to all the information we could want or need at our fingertips, but in some cases, people become obsessed with staying up-to-date on the latest economic news, celebrity gossip, or technology.

Information overload is a compulsive habit of web surfing, browsing, and researching. It isn’t unusual for people addicted to information to stay up to the wee hours of the night surfing the net. This behavior negatively affects daily activities, such as diminishing quality thinking time, becoming less productive, experiencing a breakdown in organizational processes, and a deterioration of interpersonal communication.

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Are You Internet Addicted?

A recent study used a psychometrically developed test to research various aspects of Internet addiction. The study anticipated interactive Internet functions to be more addictive, but the result was the contrary. In a second study, researchers found that people who used the Internet for long periods of time were often in a bad mood when they signed off. As a result, they immediately return to the Internet in order to feel better.

If you do not suffer any of the Internet addiction symptoms mentioned above, you can rest assured that you are engaging in a healthy level of internet use. It’s not always easy to limit your time online and learn to balance this time at home, but you must practice self-control and time management. Don’t blame satellite Internet for your addiction. Instead, accept responsibility and learn how to change your behavior. Your relationships shouldn’t suffer because of an internet addiction. Instead, the Internet should be used to enrich lives rather than consume them.

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Reference Sources: Internet Cybersex Addiction
Internet Addiction Test Research

Peyton Spencer has a degree in Communication Studies from Concordia University. She is passionate about traveling, technology, social media and helping others by volunteering for reputable charities. She currently resides in Florida, but will always call Minnesota home.

About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.


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  1. I don’t know what to do. My SO used to be addicted to Internet porn, and it has snowballed into us having no intimacy….. whatsoever…EVER. We have been engaged for five years, two of those completely void of sex, or anything even close to it. And while he may not be looking at girls (or should I say pixels) anymore, it is hard to trust him with anything, as the internet has become the third wheel in our “relationship”. Old man UNO games, racing shiz, Old cars, houses,(we just closed on one but he can’t stop looking), shoes on etsy- anything to avoid real human feelings. I don’t want to be a harpy, and HAVE given him an *inordinate* amount of space- but I’m ready to get my man back or say goodbye forever, no matter how hard it hurts. While we both do, his work takes precedence, as do games with no momentary reward when I’m in need (I’m handicapped and he came into this relationship “for better or worse” … just 1,000%, but maybe I’m just too much of a burden to handle. I’d never tell him that though- it can complicate stuff with us crips and “normies”(despite his seemingly under control mental health issues since childhood). But now since a few “in real life” indiscretions (no cheating, just untruths about ** asinine** things that borderlines on compulsive lying: I mean, you talk in your sleep- why lie about what your buying your best friend for Xmas?! Why be deceptive about the content of your lunch?!) *sigh* I love the Internet for this very reason- having a community to talk these things through with- but I hate how my SO uses it to be a slime ball (also haven’t called him that- don’t want to start a war of words). Help me out, gals! (And lovely guys!).
    _A. Noni._

  2. Hello Jontew. First of all, if you do have ADD there are many other, less addictive meds to help you with the condition. Dexedrine has a high addictive potential and if used for a prolonged period of time can lead to serious consequences. This drug causes elevation of your blood pressure, which if already is high (as your doctor says) can be even more dangerous. But, high blood pressure can also explain the severe headaches you’ve been getting. And, you should not be obtaining this med without doctor’s prescription nor should you use it for non-therapeutic purposes.

  3. This really sounds like me, especially no 3. I haven’t fucked up anything completly yet though, but I maybe will soon with uni and following career. And I think I can quit it myself but it’s not as easy as it sounds always.

    I also think that I have ADD, and probably need medical assistance to get my everyday life to work out. My problem though is that I’m a Swede and the queue for being let to start the tests and evaluation for it is about a year and the process thereafter another six month or so and then you’re getting a shitty first med before you another year later at last get the right help. USA is the extreme on one side where you can go in to any doctor and come out with an adderall prescription same day (has some problems with addicts) and Sweden is the extreme on the other where you won’t get medical help anytime, especially not from “dangerous” drugs.

    Although right now I’m on exchange semester in Canada and have bought dexedrine xt 10 mg from random shady figure via an online ad. A bit worried that I will screw things up with that when I don’t have anyone to consult with. And it has an tremdous positive effects on me even at as low doses as 10-20 mg, my thoughts really clears up and I also get some euphoria.

    My main concerns:
    – I get headache after I been on it for a day (has been the case with illegal versions I tried earlier as well)
    – I am a bit worried about my blood pressure which my doc said was too high for my age when he checked me this summer even but I am in perfect fitness condition and eat healthy. Probably caused by my occasion experimenting with amphetamines the last quarter of a year or he maybe was just was bluffing to make me stay away from the drugs?
    – I don’t want to get dependent as I won’t be able to get them in Sweden without threatening serious criminal risks. (Drugs is considered to be almost as bad as murder in Sweden.)
    – I already have a more than normal metabolism and have a hard time to gain weight at the gym. How many extra calories will this med make me burn? (Not worried about losing appetite, more the fact that I have to start eating even more than what I already do)
    – The cost. 150 $ a month is it now but what happens if tolerance goes up and I need more. Plus food costs will also rise. Students are for sure not rich…
    – If I don’t have the disorder (hard to know what is lack of self discipline and what is an actual disorder and also what is personality and what is disorder) do I just take a fast track to far worse troubles?

    On the other hand, I really need and want to make a change. It doesn’t work out to always go (extreme) sporting to be able to function, which this far has always been my strategy. I loose interest in what I’m doing and never stay commited to anything else it feels like and usually end up spending way to much time on inpropriate things like this post for example.

    The risk/benefit analysis doesn’t give any clear answers…

    Many questions, I guess I just wanted to get them out and would really appreciate an answer…

I am ready to call
i Who Answers?