Addiction problems related to the use of new technologies and social networks are a relatively recent phenomenon, but their impact on society is growing and more palpable, especially among young people and adolescents. And when we talk about addiction to the Internet and social networks, elements standardized even among minors and of massive use in practically all countries of the world, the problems that can arise in this area are even deeper.
Therefore, in this article, we will an overview of the main signs of internet addictionso that this phenomenon can be detected as early as possible and that it is possible to call on a professional before it settles definitively in the daily life of the person.
The Main Signs of Internet Addiction
The new modalities of social interaction, especially among the youngest, increasingly involve the use of virtual platforms such as chat rooms, social networks and even online video games, leading to an increase in all types of problems related to excessive Internet use.
And although the network of networks is not in itself a bad thing and should not cause psychological problems, if we mismanage the use that we make of this type of resources, a problem can arise practically comparable to behavioral addictions such as pathological gambling (disorderly gambling). This can occur especially in adolescents, who have less emotional regulation skills and are more oriented towards short-term goals, something that the world of immediacy that reigns on social networks can constantly provide them.
In order to know more about this problem, below we will see a list of the main signs that can indicate a case of Internet addiction in any person.
1. Intrusive thoughts
Having frequent thoughts or obsessive ideas about the activity developed in the network is one of the most determining signs that we are facing a case of addiction of this type.
People with this type of addiction are there all day constantly and repetitively thinking about Internet activities they have done in the past or will do in the future in said virtual context.
Thinking about connecting to the Internet throughout the day, at all hours, makes it difficult to correctly carry out other daily activities that may be of great importance, such as work or social and family responsibilities.
2. Well-being for simply connecting
Internet addiction, like other addictions, generates an extreme dependence on the Internet connection, and a consequent well-being each time the person connects to their computer or any other mobile deviceeven if it is in the form of entertainment and a form of escape from reality, something that disappears as soon as you stop using this electronic device.
The internet addict’s brain reward system is given whenever he has the ability to turn on any electronic device and can surf the internet freely or use any application or social network, which generates pleasure.
3. Annoyance at not being able to log in
Just as the ability to go online and surf the Internet can bring great pleasure to the addicted person, the impossibility of doing so generally generates a feeling of discomfort, suffering and helplessness.
What the person usually feels when they can’t connect to the internet are usually states of anxiety, stress, anger, physical symptoms and a wide variety of different symptoms depending on their personality and level of addiction . It is not an abstinence syndrome of the same type that occurs in drug addiction, but is based above all on what is called FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), that is to say the anxiety that the person Imagine how much you miss because you do not follow in real time the news that is published on social networks, in WhatsApp groups of friends, etc.
This discomfort can be more or less important according to the degree of dependence of the person and generally takes the form of irritability.; in the most serious or advanced stages, violent episodes can be triggered against people or objects of all kinds, due to frustration.
4. Social isolation
The gradual isolation of the person is another unequivocal symptom of Internet addiction, especially if he spends the whole day connected to his room and neglects any of his daily obligations.
A gradual deterioration of face-to-face interpersonal relationships is also common, which become a source of stress, and a decrease in joint social activities that were carried out before. This is why the person will gradually stop seeing friends or family with whom they frequented frequently, assuming that this treatment can be replaced by the chat.
In addition to the well-known impact in the social sphere, Internet addiction also generally causes an alteration in the interpersonal relationships of those who suffer from this type of problem.
This affectation occurs in friendships as well as in family relationships and can also occur in the field of couples and romantic relationships.
5. Changing lifestyle habits
As with any addiction, internet addicts experience a gradual change in your daily lifestyle habits that usually negatively affect your physical and mental health.
In addition to the loss of friendships, it is also common to stop playing sports or healthy activities, to start eating badly and late, to neglect personal hygiene and to deteriorate school or professional performance.
The feeling of guilt after spending marathon days connected to the Internet, because of the feeling of emptiness and loss of time that occurs, it is also one of the fundamental characteristics of people who have this problem, and a warning signal that should not be ignored. However, the fault does not prevent it from soon ending up “falling back” into the excessive use of digital platforms on the Internet.
Insomnia and sleep disturbances are also considered as a sign to be taken into account to identify a possible case of Internet addiction. It is common for the person to use their smartphone or laptop even when lying in bed with the light offand in turn, exposure to intense screen light causes the body’s circadian rhythms to alter, making the body “believe” that it is not time to fall asleep.
8. Aggressive reaction to restrictions
Finally, another of the signs that we can highlight when it comes to identifying whether or not a person has an Internet addiction problem is the negative reaction to restrictions on using technology to log in; It also causes the person to refuse to stay in places where they know they will not be able to access the web.
This phenomenon is more common among children and adolescents who are under the guardianship of their parents and consists of a very disproportionate or negative reaction whenever parents limit access to the Internet or prevent it altogether, or when the plans for vacation don’t go to a place with a good Wi-Fi signal.