How to avoid Internet Addiction ?

Who is affected?

According to a European Commission report of 2001, Western youths aged 15 to 24 regularly use computers in almost half of their free time. The mobile phone is the new technology used, as it is used by 9 out of 10 young people. The email use increases with age but, conversely, the use of video games is reduced with age. The “chat” is the most common and preferred communication even many youths.

The pathological use of the Internet and other new technologies can affect anyone, but are concerned about how it affects every day more often children and young people of both sexes, to the extent that they have been called generation “net”. The boys use more the “chat” and video games than girls, but they listen to more radio and devote more time to record the music you listen to or share later.

What forms of addiction exist?

There are several forms of Internet addiction according to the type of abuse made. Among the most common we find:

Another group would comprise the so-called “hackers” or hackers, classified as a modern tribe or marginal group. These people, usually young people with great computer skills, often self-taught, have created new rituals, new languages ​​and special rhythms that lead to addiction.

  • Cybersex
  • Discussion forums (“chat”)
  • Online Games
  • Search pathological information

What are the consequences of these addictions?

Dependent young Internet and new technologies in general spend excessive time on these activities over others such as school or work, rest and sleep, reading books, watching TV or just chat with family or friends, with the consequent impoverishment of social relations.

The time spent on these activities and reasons for use are two variables that effectively illustrate the degree of dependence and need-preference of these new technologies. They are young consumers across large virtual-technological product. Consumerism is found more in the aesthetics and fashion you need in-use of the product itself, generating a certain craving or desire to always buy the newest, powerful and sophisticated market, independently, to some extent, the actual need and use.

What health problems can create this addiction?

By the excessive time spent in front of these people computer screen can cause problems such as eye irritation, headache , back pain , etc..

Also may appear sedentary and weight gain, even obesity, lack of productivity in other areas, irritability, sleep disorders, etc.. It has been observed in these young people a capacity reduction of expression, mainly in written language, and tendency to isolation and loneliness.

It was found also that problematic Internet use may be associated with psychiatric disorders, as a disorder of impulse control, obsessive, dysfunctional social behaviors and even psychiatric illness
called bipolar disorder or manic depression.

How are these disorders diagnosed?

Different scales have been developed or psychological tests to address this problem, called Internet addiction scales.

What measures can be taken?

As we try to know what our children are in school, how friends relate and what they do outside the home or what activities or duties must be performed at home, you need to worry about the websites you visit, the people you communicating through the network or the degree of technological knowledge possesses.

Moreover, just as often happens with television, our children, especially in their adolescent stage, tend to “hook” into these technologies and somewhat abused. It seems then that the negotiation with them becomes a valid strategy so that together we can make a rational use of this technology. So long as you are using the computer for work or for leisure, time to be connected to the Internet and places or people who are visiting should be contained in this negotiation, no doubt, like others will sometimes win and sometimes resignations. The type of game, if you use them, its contents and the time spent on them should also be monitored.

Tips and recommendations

Recent studies on the use of children and adolescents of the Internet has raised some concern among pediatricians Spanish, to the point that their national association has recently issued a series of tips and advice on how adults can control navigation in the network of smaller and reproduce below:

It seems logical that a rational and moderate these new technologies could prevent the onset of these addictions. The problem arises when what should be a means or an instrument (Internet, mobile phone) becomes an objective in itself. The abuse of these technologies make some people, as surrogate for other activities, generating mechanisms dependence and even withdrawal symptoms, similar to those that produce psychoactive substances.

In cases of true addiction to the Internet or other new technologies may require intervention mental health team (psychologist, psychiatrist) who specializes in these disorders.

  • Let the child or young surf the Internet at home only if accompanied by an adult.
  • Do not place the computer in the child’s room and, in any case, position the screen so that it is visible to the person who enters or is in the room.
  • Being able to use a computer at least the same level as the child, so that he is aware that he has the capacity to control it.
  • Use all protection systems currently available to prevent access to sites not approved for children
  • Talk regularly with your child about Internet surfing, trying to get information about what you see and view and trying to show any reluctance.
  • Teach children that when connected to a “chat” is not to facilitate or ask directions, phone numbers or any information that could identify you. It should be clear, but not alarm you, risks that may result from “chat” with strangers.
  • Prevent your child connect to the Internet (particularly in the “chat”) overnight.
  • Alert you that you should tell your parents whenever any “chat friend” request information or insist on personal habits or his family.
  • Browse and “chat” with the child sometimes be led to greater trust with parents about the content of their conversations on the network.
  • Wherever possible, try to avoid the child has his own email address and which only he knows the password.
  • Building next to the child a series of agreed rules for Internet browsing, not wanting to impose them.

Pertusa Dr. Salvador Martinez , a specialist in Family and Community Medicine