Like other activities, computers can also be addictive; computer addiction is a condition that occurs when someone's life is consumed with being on the computer. Computer addiction is a growing health problem that is often treated through setting limits, therapy, and support groups.
If you or someone you know is struggling, contact the SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) free hotline at 1-800-662-4357. SAMHSA's helpline is free, confidential, and available for English and Spanish-speaking people 24/7, 365 days a year.
Addictive computer activities
When talking about computer addiction, it's describing one or more of the following activities while on the computer.
Computer gaming addiction
Playing computer games can be extremely fun, gratifying, and a great escape. Unfortunately, computer gaming, especially online games, can be very addictive, and many are designed to keep you playing as long as possible.
Online gaming can also include online gambling, where real money is used to play slots, card games, or other betting games.
Viewing Internet pornography is another common form of computer addiction that gets in the way of someone's real life and their relationships.
The Internet has an endless amount of things to keep people entertained and can also be an addiction. In addition to the other addictions mentioned here, someone addicted to the Internet may spend all their time browsing the Internet or watching videos on services like YouTube and Twitch.
Social media addiction
It can become a habit and even an addiction to frequently check your social media accounts, especially on a smartphone.
E-mail / chatting addiction
Having the ability to talk to someone using e-mail or chat anywhere in the world is an amazing ability. However, it too can become addictive, especially for people who do not socialize much in their real life.
Websites like Amazon make it extremely easy to buy almost anything and have it shipped to your front door. Some people can find online shopping intoxicating and become addicted to making multiple purchases every day.
What are the signs of computer addiction?
When someone is addicted to a computer, they may exhibit one or more of the following symptoms.
- When on the computer, has a difficult time stopping, or loses the sense of time.
- Neglects family and friends in favor of the computer.
- Having problems with school or work.
- When away from the computer, they become irritable and crave being back on the computer.
- Not interested in the outside world.
- More interested in acquiring in-game or other digital objects than real-life objects.
- Replacing old hobbies and interests with those that are on a computer.
- Feelings of guilt or anxiety because of the time they spend on a computer.
- Suffers withdrawal symptoms when away from a computer or Internet for too long.
What are the effects of computer addiction?
The effects of being addicted to the computer can vary depending on the activity. However, common effects could include any of the following.
- Social isolation, loneliness, and dejection.
- Mood swings.
- Lack of sleep or difficulty in falling asleep.
- Poor diet and lack of proper nutrition.
- Backache, headache, or other body aches.
- Carpal tunnel and computer vision syndrome.
- Obesity and other health problems.
- If real-life money is used in the addiction (e.g., gambling or shopping), unpaid bills and even bankruptcy may result.
Arguments to a computer addiction
Everyone deserves doing enjoyable activities, and some may argue being on a computer is better than in front of a TV. While it's true, spending a lot of time doing any activity is a sign of addiction and is bad for your well-being. Set limits to help control your activities. It's easy to start doing any enjoyable activity, but if you don't set and follow realistic limits to those activities, it can get in the way of your real life.