With the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic, governments have forced their people to stay in the comfort of their homes. In hopes of controlling the virus, we now spend each day in quarantine. During these tough times, most of us are fortunate enough to have access to the Internet. With the Internet, you can binge-watch movies on Netflix, contact your friends on Messenger, and video chat family on Skype. However, as fortunate as you are to have such a privilege, is it right for you?
As we have no means of going outside, most of us resort to the comfort of our phones, computers, or gaming consoles. We have the freedom to spend as much time as we please on these devices. Though, the more time you spend on the Internet, the more you may become addicted to it.
Common Internet Addiction Symptoms
There have been several studies regarding internet addiction disorder; however, it is yet to establish a proper diagnosis. Instead, a questionnaire measures or determines whether a patient has internet addiction. Here are some common symptoms or traits associated with internet addiction:
- Achieves satisfaction with more internet time
- Stays on the Internet longer than initially intended
- Becomes moody, irritable, or depressed when the connection to the Internet is lost
- Uses the Internet as a means of escape from problems
- Risks the loss of a significant other or responsibility for internet use
- Unsuccessful with any efforts to reduce internet time
Why COVID-19 May Cause Internet Addiction
Internet addiction is not yet recognized as a condition under the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). However, most psychologists argue that it should still get treated the same as other forms of addiction.
There may be no exact cause for the addiction, and it may vary from person to person. However, here are five reasons why COVID-19 may cause internet addiction.
- It’s Human Nature to Seek A Connection
It is part of our human nature to be associated with a company or group. Whether it may be with a friend, loved ones, or significant other, we always want to stay in touch. Having someone to talk to, especially when you alone, helps you calm down and stay sane. During the quarantine, it is difficult to manage a day with only having yourself. Thus, we spend more time messaging or video chatting with other people to feel connected.
- The Internet Becomes A Digital Playground
One thing we all enjoy doing is going around a particular area, such as a mall or park. As social beings, we tend to look for a place to be with other people. However, during the quarantine, we can only look for a place in our homes. We may do online shopping, seek for fun and recreation in online games, or watch random videos online. The Internet becomes our mall, playground, and school.
- Means Of Escape From The COVID-19 Situation
Most of us have become anxious about the COVID-19 situation. With how fast the virus is spreading and the growing number of lives it took, you can’t help but be scared. The Internet provides those having difficulty coping up with a sanctuary. The Internet may become their second home with all the possibilities it holds to help you escape. Even if their escape is temporary, it could become addicting.
- Lack Of Emotional Support
Those separated from their families during immediate lockdowns may be developing a void in their hearts. It is difficult to be alone and could cause your emotions to overflow. Suzanne Degges-White, Ph.D., says, “As we are all feeling isolated and dealing with anxiety or fear, having someone who steadies us, supports us, and appreciates who we are in our imperfection can be the healing force that keeps us moving forward.” The Internet may become a tool to fill in those voids. The emotional support it provides may end up as an addicting drug they’ll continuously seek.
- Desire To Be Constantly Informed
Right now, the most essential tool everyone needs at their disposal is information. We need to know of necessities such as the use of IDs, supermarket hours, food deliveries, and emergency hotlines. However, nowadays, the bulk of information is online. With a growing desire to find out what we need to know, the longer we may end up staying online.
Everyone should watch out for the COVID-19 situation. It is during these crises that we become most vulnerable. We need to take care of not only our bodies but also our mental health. Some things to help you avoid internet addiction include a timer, doing other activities offline, and self-reflection.