Is Internet Addiction Real? This Is How Too Much Internet Use Affects Us!

in life •  last year


Most Steemians are quite heavy Internet Users, right?

We spend several hours a day in front of screens, connecting with others on social media, googling, playing games, shopping online, watching videos and more.
So we all like to use the Internet - but did you know that you can actually be addicted to the Internet?

Studies have shown that internet usage may actually cause physiological changes and users might experience withdrawal symptoms!





Internet withdrawal: similar symptoms to drug withdrawal?

Swansea and Milan Universities have conducted two different studies regarding this topic, the first one in 2013.
60 participants in their twenties were given psychological tests to determine addiction levels, mood, depression and anxiety.
Afterwards, they were granted access to the internet for 15 minutes and were then re-tested.
This study showed that heavy internet users experienced negative moods and tended to be more depressed when not using the internet, symptoms similar to drug users who experience withdrawal.
A control group of non-internet addicts showed no difference in mood levels before and after using the internet!

"Although we do not know exactly what internet addiction is, our results show that around half of the young people we studied spend so much time on the net that it has negative consequences for the rest of their lives. When these people come off-line, they suffer increased negative mood - just like people coming off illegal drugs like ecstasy. These initial results, and related studies of brain function, suggest that there are some nasty surprises lurking on the net for people's wellbeing. These results corroborate previous reports regarding the psychological characteristics and traits of internet users, but go beyond those findings to show the immediate effect of the Internet on the mood of those who are addicted."

-Prof. Phil Reed, Swansea University


Increased heart rate and anxiety

In Swansea University's second study from 2016 about this topic, they tested participants between 18 and 33.
The subjects' vital signs were measured before and after internet use, and the results have shown that internet withdrawal increased heart rate and blood pressure by 4%, sometimes even double that figure. The symptoms ended immediately when the participants were allowed to use the internet again.
Anxiety levels were also rising for those who use the internet heavily - others didn't show any negative withdrawal symptoms.

"We have known for some time that people who are over-dependent on digital devices report feelings of anxiety when they are stopped from using them, but now we can see that these psychological effects are accompanied by actual physiological changes."

-Prof. Phil Reed, Swansea University



Although these symptoms are not life-threatening, it seems like internet addiction has actually become a real, physical condition.

The symptoms that heavy internet users experienced can be associated with anxiety, and with changes to the hormonal system which could reduce immune responses.
Researchers also concluded that withdrawing the internet from heavy users puts them in a similar state like withdrawal seen for many "sedative" drugs such as alcohol, or heroin.

"Whether problematic internet use turns out to be an addiction - involving physiological and psychological withdrawal effects - or whether compulsions are involved that do not necessitate such withdrawal effects - is yet to be seen, but these results seem to show that, for some people, it is likely to be an addiction."

-Prof. Roberto Truzoli, Milan University


Internet addiction could make you ill ?!

Like mentioned above, the anxiety experienced from internet withdrawal could even make changes to our immune system - making heavy internet addicts more prone to diseases.
In a study featuring 500 participants aged 18 to 101 , those with internet addiction showed 30% more cold and flu symptoms than those with less dramatic internet usage.
Internet addicts may suffer from great stress when being withdrawn from the internet, and this cycle of stress and relief may
lead to increased levels of cortisol - a hormone that influences our immune function.

Apart from that, heavy internet addicts are also more likely to drink more alcohol, smoke more, and suffer from sleep deprivation.

"We found that the impact of the internet on people's health was independent of a range of other factors, like depression, sleep deprivation, and loneliness, which are associated with high levels of internet use and also with poor health. It may also be that those who spend a long time alone on the internet experience reduced immune function as a result of simply not having enough contact with others and their germs."

-Prof. Phil Reed, Swansea University


Watch this video from Swansea University about their internet addiction study:


How many hours a day do you use the internet? Would you say you're dependant on it or could you stop easily?




Images: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5



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This is indeed very frightening @sirwinchester. Whether we accept it or not everyone who spends more than 8 hours a day on the web is addicted. This is the sad truth. The answer to which will only come when we try and stay away from the internet for long periods of time. Also I feel rather than saying that we are addicted to internet, we can actually pinpoint a few things specifically for e.g for some internet might just be Facebook or youtube or any other site. Right now I am addicted to STEEM :)

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Yes, "Internet" is not a very specific term. Although I did read that most internet use is indeed social media (and news).
But Steemit doesn't count in this case! Steemit is a positive addiction 😉

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Heheh yea Steemit is a positive addiction..no doubt :)

Excellent work dear friend @sirwinchester. I tell you my experience I live from what I generate on the internet for such reason I am all day to generate my daily income, I do not use another social network other than steemit, I spend 17 hours a day, publishing, commenting and sharing My companions, the symptoms that I feel the most anxiety, I have become impassive and I want everything now, I do not suffer from abstinence, or lack of sleep, when I get to bed I watch 5 minutes television and I fall asleep in a single shot.
Excellent material as everything you present.
I wish you a beautiful day

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Wow, I didn't know you were hat commited to Steemit - that's awesome! Hats off to you!

And great to hear that you don't experience any negative "side effects", especially falling asleep at night can be quite difficult if you spent the whole day in front of a screen but seems like you don't have a problem with that. That's very good.
Steemit really is addictive, so no one here blames you for spending that much time on Steemit 😬

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When you feel comfortable and part of a place the hours do not weigh, steemit gave me the opportunity to live my work, with what I generate here I maintain my family and that is a lot, especially in the difficult times that we live.
I send you a big hug that you had a great day

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OMG ... 17 hours a day, that's quite a lot... good thing you're focused on steemit... I spend too much time doing nothing on the Internet!

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I am passionate about this platform and interaction with people, which I believe is the success of this platform, being able to talk to nice people from all over the world that is exciting. Pass by your blog you have some very interesting works.
I wish you a beautiful weekend dear friend @ladyrebecca

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Thank you very much. I'm still new to this platform and trying to find my way around.

I have been really active in steemit lately and in consequnces i have been really tired to work these day. But i guess as a person, we still need to plan our time about when we should do what even steemit is so addictive, we still need a healthy life.

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You're right, even when spending several hours a day on the internet you should always try to balance it out by going outside or exercising!

I think we've gone past addiction now that we simply can't live without it, it has become a vital part of our daily life.

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If I look at some of the young teenagers nowadays, they really can't function without it. They google everything, use the GPS, are in constant contact with everyone, always updating their Snapchat or Instagram, etc.

All symptoms checked. XD

All of that is valid in my opinion. I already spent a good amount of time on the internet/in front of screen for work and hobby, steemit has taken to addiction level. First thing I do when I wake up is jump on steemit and it also is what keep me up past bedtime. Need to dial it back!

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Yeah, absolutely!

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I like to think that Steemit is a healthy addiction! 😉
But yes, sometimes it can be nice to cut back on Internet browsing time and go for a walk or work out.

Ofcourse its real! I found myself getting addicted and I had to put my phone down for a couple weeks and do other stuffs like reading a book or watch TV. Trust me, it helps :)

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Interesting, I'm sure it felt unusual for you at first but you got used to it!

Great info, might start to only spend 20 hours a day on steemit. Cutting back will be a good thing. Been seeing double for days now! Must steem, must steem

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Hahaha, once you've reached the point of seeing double you should probably cut back, yes!
Make sure to balance it out by getting some fresh air or exercising!

I only clicked on this story because the thumbnail looked like two naked women. I'm moderately disappointed, but I will get over it.

I AM ADDICTED LOL

ive been on the internet since AOL 1.0, so im definitely addicted, it's something i try to get away from at least a few hours a day though.

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Yes that's good, especially before bedtime. The blue light from the screens can mess with our sleep cycles and cause problems falling asleep.

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i've experienced that.. too many 4am sessions staring at this screen man. Everyone needs to get out and absorb some sunlight, that natural fuel.

Interesting post.. yes I think I do struggle with internet/phone addiction from time to time. I think it's important that we go outside more often (preaching to myself)

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Yes!
You should get up and stretch your legs once in a while, and get some fresh air to balance out your internet use

interestinggggg

It has definitely made life easier in regard to doing research, keeping up with others, etc....I do feel myself getting sucked in and then losing track of time, so I try to be aware of that. When I'm on vacation I don't spend time on the internet except to find an appropriate restaurant or get directions. I notice my kids do spend time on the internet even when on vacation. Maybe the younger generation is more addcited than my generation? Thank you for this article!

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Interesting! I think that's true. But also because your kids see the internet as something different.. when on vacation, they still like to play games or chat with friends because that is FUN for them.
For you, the internet might be mostly a source of information or a part of work. (Of course entertainment as well, but probably not as much as for your kids)

Oh my god, I spend more than 10 hours a day on the Internet, and it's mostly because of my job :/ I don't think I am addicted because I feel good without net during the weekends. It recharges my batteries. What about you @sirwinchester?
Thanks for posting this!

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I think there's a big difference between using the Internet a lot, and being DEPENDANT on it.
Yes I of course I use the internet quite a lot, it's also part of my job, but I make sure to do other things like meditating or dancing to balance it out.
It's just that you should be able to function without the internet and not depend on it all the time.

a bit too addictive

My kids should know how to steem instead of snap, fb or other social network. They will be millionaire before reaching adulthood.

Cheers,
@Yehey
https://QUE.com - I will follow ALL who follow me. I think that's fair.

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Ha, that's so true! Teach them early!

And here i am refusing my addiction, haha.

Good stuff thanks for posting. I had heard about internet addiction before but I will admit didn't realize it was so prevalent. I guess I never thought about it that much. This will be making me look into this more that's for sure.

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Glad I could share some news!
It's becoming more serious than we thought, with actual physical side effects and withdrawal symptoms!

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I guess I should't be surprised since almost anything can become a true addiction. It's good information to keep in mind though. Sometimes it's almost easy to get disconnected from the real world.

I know phone addiction is real thing too. I work with several people who can't go more than 15 mins without checking their phone.

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Yes I know some of those people too. Absolutely crazy how far this has come!

my age is 30 and its my job be online upto 15 hours a day, at least 10 hours a day is my job and else is personal :p
and agree with problems like mood, depression and anxiety as well as i got angry really fast but i will try to control all this stuff in future...
thank you for sharing this @sirwinchester

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Yes, part of my job is also to spend time on the internet but it's all good if you balance it out with fresh air and exercise!

VERY good post. Liked it :)

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Thank you, appreciate it!

But for me steemit addiction is working in positive side...I drink less...I get up early in the morning and last but not the least I'm more informed about what's going around in the world.

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That's awesome! Yes I think since Steemit is so different from other social media platforms, it doesn't really count as a negative addiction.
Steem On!

Excellent article and "spot on".

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😬 thank you!

............Already addicted !!!
Thanks for your post @sirwinchester

interesting article, thanks for sharing

The reality is that 90% of the populace of the United States is "Internet Addicted" we live in a society that craves new content, and we monetize ourselves in our data dependent lust. We have a society based on instant gratification that encompasses paying bills, ordering groceries, and receiving feedback from our "friends" based on our latest Facebook missives . I spend a great deal of my day time on the web because its part of my job, when I get home I try to divorce myself as much as possible from it, hence my low post count on Steemit and my total lack of presence on Facebook , Pinterst, and the host of other social networking sites.

How many people actually put down the phone , tablet or laptop when they go on break at work or get home to read a book, paint a picture or do a crossword ?

The facts are everyone is the pusher and everyone is the junkie in the world of the 24 hour news cycle and twitter feed.

I'm not addicted to the internet, this is where I live.

This is my home! =)

(there are lots of people in my home)

I'm living proof it's real, 24/7 checking tablet, phones PC.. it's irresistible. Literally hearing that noise that someone has liked or upvoted my steemit comment makes me run for my phone or computer..it's pure excitement so it's OK :)

It's not like it has it's disadvantages only. Besides that it could lead up to an addication, it also seems to be the great way of learning things. I think it just depends on how you use the Internet.

Is it weird that when I do other things away from the internet I actually feel more relaxed and calmer? I've gone on camping trips with no cell/wifi service for several days and I felt totally fine without it. The times I did miss cell service was when I wanted to send someone a message. However, most days I probably use the internet at least 2-4 hours. The thing is, somedays I don't use the internet for more than 10 minutes and it doesn't bother me.

I am gaining weight because I have been on this computer too much, too often, and the winter here was awful so I was online more than usual. I used to be addicted but now I dont go through withdrawls, but I used to. So like with everything else we have to find the correct balance.
Thanks for sharing :)

Internet doesn't make us ill, sitting making us ill.

I spent over 8 hours in front of the internet. But i do not call it adiction, i call it work.

I think it is more prevalent in the younger generation as they can use computers at a young age and even being outside we can go on the internet.

Resteemed and upvoted!
Frightening indeed! I think we have to be aware of anything in our life to have potetianl of becoming harmful and addictive to use. Would it be the case at all times, I don't think so, but it can be certainly with things we are using in excessive amount.

The Internet is really addictive I'm addicted. Can Any one tell how to cure from its addiction?

Internet addiction is truly a real thing but it's not very serious of course. When you look at it, we get addicted to absolutely everything. Food, people, money, sex and many more things. The real question would be - what do we not get addicted to ?
@trendo

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Good point. If you look at it that way people really could get addicted to anything!

Wow! That's such a well researched article @sirwinchester.

Of course, internet addiction is for real. People are glued to their smart devices and can't take off the eyes of it. I am sure there will be many de-addiction center for getting rid of Internet addiction.

Personally I use internet for more than 10 hours daily and I am sure I am dependent on it coz I am making my living out of internet :-)

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You are so right, Internet-rehabs (or even electronic-rehabs) will probably become a real thing in the future! Crazy!

Jup internet addiction is real, still beter than television addiction though.

You are right. I am always thinking why people are running from the reality to virtual world. I guess it is because we (as humans) were never use to directly interact with so many people. You have two option 1. hide yourself behind the screen or 2. escape to nature. I chose the second option. Even I live in the midle of nowhere in the forest I need to spend much time on internet. My only goal is actually to get funding to save the Abongphen Highland Forest. Thank you very much in advance for your resteems, votes, promotion or donation. If you are interested more about our conservation activities in Cameroon find it [here]((https://steemit.com/introduceyourself/@kedjom-keku/we-are-kedjom-keku-people-of-the-forest-join-us-to-save-misty-mountain-forest-in-cameroon). Thank you in advance for your votes, resteems, promotion or donation. All steems gained on Steemit will be use to save the forest.

If my work didn't involve a lot of online work, I probably would use the internet a lot less. But I do take a break every now and then: taking walks around mother nature in serene environments. It keeps me balanced.

On a side note though: of all the online platorms I've ever used, none was ever successful in getting me addicted. That is until I met Steemit. I spend a lot of time here nowadays :)

I feel Internet is just a way to get physical comfort. It can not give you happiness.

Good Post! There so many electronic radiation all over the world now. I usually on a daily bases go bare-footed to neutralize all the radiation we absorb through the electronic

I think it's real. When, internet connection fails for just 1-2 hours, I feel suffocated like I cannot live without it. Like smoking, it has become an addiction!