The 7 Types of Internet Addiction (and Their Effects)

Internet addiction, also called cyberaddiction, is a psychological disorder that can manifest itself through a wide variety of symptoms. If we add to this that it has been around for a relatively short time (and therefore we talk about it as a problem), we have the perfect cocktail for hundreds of thousands of people to suffer without realizing what happens for them.

To facilitate the detection of this phenomenon, here we will see what are the most important types of Internet addictionas well as its effects and characteristics.

Types of Internet Addiction: What Types of Web Pages Cause the Most Addiction?

One of the most useful criteria for classifying variants of problematic Internet use concerns the format and services offered on the websites most visited by users who suffer from this problem. The fact that there are different types of cyberaddiction shows us that the network of networks should not be seen as a cause of addictive disorders, but in any case as a context in which these people who are more prone to develop problems with impulsivity and managing their emotions are relatively vulnerable to “become addicted to the screen”.

In other words, assuming that there are certain types of web pages capable of generating addiction is a somewhat simplistic and partial way of looking at things. Yes, it is true that some companies design their digital platforms trying to capture users’ attention again and again and make it difficult to search from the smartphone or computer, but it is also true that the majority of people who use Internet in every day, they don’t end up suffering from cyberaddiction.

Taking all this into account, let’s see what are the types of Internet addiction.

1. Online social networks

Social networking services such as Instagram, Facebook or TikTok have two characteristics that make them very useful when it comes to make us revisit these web pages again and again and that we lose track of time: on the one hand, they collect a lot of information about us through the way we interact with their content, and on the other hand, they have the ability to offer us a flow constant new publications that change from second to second.

2. Online games pages

Some online video games are complete enough to have access beyond Internet pages (eg icons on a computer desktop), while others can only be played by accessing certain websites. Either way, the mechanics are the same; use the users themselves as game content so that each game session is unique and, on the other hand, the need to shuffle memories (in the case of tournament games) or to keep a group identity alive (in the case of online role-playing games).

3. Gambling websites

This type of experience offered by online casinos deserves its own category apart from the one we have seen previously, since they are not video games to be used, but real machines designed to “trap” users. in a loop of eagerness to earn money and recover lost money. Of the types of Internet addiction we will see here, it is the only one officially defined as an addictive disorder, and as such it appears in diagnostic manuals of psychiatry and clinical psychology.

4. Adult Content Pages

This category of websites can be divided into recorded pornography websites on the one hand and cybersex websites on the other. In this case, cyberaddiction it overlaps in many ways with sex addiction.

5. Online Entertainment Pages

In this category we find other websites that do not belong to the previous types and are marketed as entertainment providers anyway, such as YouTube. Also on this online platform there is a constant stream of new content and mechanisms are applied to offer publications adapted to everyone’s tastes.

6. Trading Platforms

The popularization of speculative interest investments has caused many people to consult the value of their assets again and again, suffering from particular anxiety. when they place their money in highly volatile marketssuch as cryptocurrencies.

7. Chat platforms

Finally, the last of the types of addition to the Internet is perhaps the oldest of all. What started out as rudimentary chat pages where only lines of text could be sent and received has now become instant messaging applications that follow us wherever we go thanks to mobile technology.

The Characteristics and Effects of Internet Addiction

Although due to the diverse and changing nature of the network of networks, the phenomenon of Internet addiction can take many forms, there are a series of general characteristics that appear in almost all of its offshoots. These are the main ones:

1. FOMO (Fear of missing something)

As its number indicates in English, this phenomenon is based on the discomfort that generates the idea of ​​missing out on things that might be happening online in real time. FOMO usually occurs mostly in types of internet addiction in which there is a strong social component, i.e. social networks, chat platforms, forums, etc.

2. Bingeing (digital bingeing)

As most people today who have developed a cyber addiction put on a smartphone, they end up replicating a pattern of behavior that involves constantly press the power button of the mobile phone, to quickly check on your screen if they have new notifications. Due to the speed and ease of performing this action, they may end up doing it every few minutes, even when interacting with other people, driving a vehicle, working…

3. Sleep problems

A person who constantly stares at the screen of their device connected to the Internet will great difficulty falling asleep. He will expose himself to the light of the screen even lying down with the light off, and in front of the slightest stimulus similar to the sound of his smartphone, he will check his phone, instead of relaxing to sleep well.

4. Anxiety about abstinence

In all types of internet addiction, the simple fact of spending hours without being able to connect to the network causes the person to develop anxiety and a feeling of anguish rises in her. It makes you feel the need to use your computer or mobile phone as soon as possible.

5. Irritability before interruptions

Another characteristic that is reflected in the behavior of people with cyberaddiction is that they are in a very bad mood when something or someone requires their attention and have to stop looking at the screen. This causes frequent family arguments.

How is internet addiction therapy performed?

When it comes to therapeutically intervening in problematic Internet use, most of the strategies used by mental health professionals rely on psychotherapy. Specifically, we work with patients to, first, identify the triggers for this anxious response to the experience of going many hours at a time without being connected to the network; and second, to carry out training in techniques for managing impulsivity and emotions.

For this, some of the resources used in psychotherapy are relaxation exercises, controlled exposure to anxiety stimuli, cognitive restructuring, time management techniques (e.g. action triggers) and psychoeducation, among others. In the most serious cases where, behind the appearances of Internet addiction, there are actually cases of pathological gambling (ludopathy), the use of psychotropic drugs prescribed by the doctor may prove necessary.

If you are interested in undergoing therapy to overcome certain types of Internet addiction, contact us. In Advanced Psychologists we serve adults, adolescents and children, and we have over two decades of experience in the mental health field.

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