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  • Writer's pictureCharlotte Wallwork

Internet and Gaming Addiction

What is Internet Addiction?

Internet Addiction refers to the compulsive use of the internet or technology, to the extent that it causes problems with daily functioning. For example, relationships, work, health, etc. There are various forms of internet addiction which include online gaming, social media, smartphone apps, or just general online browsing.

There has been a recent boom in smartphone use and availability, making the Internet considerably more accessible. The issue of internet addiction has only started to gain widespread attention in the past five years.

How many people have Internet Addiction?

The following internet addiction statistics reveal that internet addiction is prevalent in all age groups. However, as you’ll notice, teenagers and young adults are the worst hit.

  • On average, in 2019, an internet user spends 6 hours and 42 minutes online each day.

  • Internet users spend an average of 3 hours on social media platforms per day.

  • 12.4% of internet users spend more time online than intended very often or often.

  • 13.7% of internet addicts find it hard to stay away from the internet for several days at a time.

What are some of the risk factors for developing Internet Addiction?

  • Going through a recent stressful event

  • Poor social support/loneliness

  • Having other psychological and mental health issues, e.g. depression, anxiety, low self-esteem

  • Family dissatisfaction/poor family communication

It is important to know that not everyone with the above risk factors will necessarily develop Internet Addiction. Furthermore, people who don’t have these risk factors can still be at risk of developing Internet Addiction.

The problem is, many internet users don’t know where to draw the line and declare certain levels of engagement in these activities to be too much.

What should I be looking out for?

The symptoms of Internet Addiction look very similar to other addictive disorders such as Alcohol Use Disorder and Gambling Disorder.

Some symptoms include:

  • Frequently thinking about gaming or using the Internet.

  • Needing to game or use the Internet for longer and longer to feel ‘satisfied’.

  • Feeling anxious, frustrated or down when not on the Internet or gaming. These feelings go away when back online.

  • Continuing to use the Internet or gaming despite it having negative effects on relationships and daily activities.

  • Losing interest in other hobbies and activities.

  • Continuing to game or use the Internet despite losing sleep or other physical health issues (e.g. back/neck problems, eye strain).

  • Feeling that you can’t control your gaming or Internet use - you may have had failed attempts to "cut down"

The most important way to judge whether you (or someone else) might have a problem is the impact on your daily life. Review your relationships, work, school, study, or other activities and monitor if these are regularly suffering because of Internet use. If the answer is YES, this strongly suggests you should seek help. Contact us today at Clarity Counselling to make a booking to talk to someone about your addiction.

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