I am writing this article because my friends and family have recently told me that I am addicted to my computer, ironic how I am writing this blog on the computer. I have decided to research the background behind addiction and the tell tale signs to actually determine whether I am addicted or not.
Computer Addiction Definition
Wikipedia defines the term for the “excessive use of computers to the extent that it interferes with daily life”.
Computer addiction can cause problems such as a decrease in social interactions, relationships, personality and mood processes. This also brings problems such as sleep deprivation, low libido and other such negative aspects.
Prolonged computer use and addiction can also lead to the following physical problems:
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (numbness and pain in hands and wrists)
- Dry eye / strained vision
- Back and neck aches; headaches
- Sleep deprivation
- Weight loss/increase
List of possible side effects of using the computer too much and being addicted:
- Complete decrease and lack of social interaction (not virtual)
- Turning to the computer for emotional needs (pleasure, gratification, stress relief).
- Neglecting daily responsibilities.
- Inability to control computer usage.
- Mood swings when not with the computer.
There obviously more but these are the main symptoms that relate to the complete addiction to the computer.
Whilst I feel that some of the above named problems do not apply to my case there are some that do. For example, does writing an email whilst brushing your teeth means that you are addicted, this could be the case. I definitely do not like leaving the apartment where I live for more than an hour at a time.
I am currently in the middle of setting up online businesses so that means that I am constantly on the computer from 5am until I close my eyes at 10pm. I also enjoy watching videos online and therefore I do not watch television. Add this with listening to music; reading about my sports teams etc. there is literally no time for me to peel my eyes away from the screen. I spend around 2 hours a day on this side business and the other 14 hours or so on my other online projects. Do I need self-help? maybe so.
The main stage in all addictions is to recognize that you are in fact addicted to computer usage. This is normally the hardest stage for all addicts to admit but this makes the process easier once this step is passed.
- Try to identify any underlying problems that you feel may lead to using the computer for such long times. Solving any underlying problems can lead to a complete decrease in computer usage.
- Build a support network, the more relationships you have away from the computer the less time you will spend on the computer. Relating to current friends and family is a great way to begin and stop continued use.
- Alter your routine. Do you really need to be on the computer for 12 hours a day? Do a different activity on a daily basis so that you are away from the computer.
I hope some of the ideas above have been helpful to you. I am currently in the process of trying to relate more with friends and family and using the computer only for work and not pleasure. With this I no longer watch videos, listen to music or chat on forums online, merely write blogs.