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What does Computer Addiction mean and is it on the Rise?

Is Computer Addiction on the Rise?

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Addiction happens when one becomes dependent on something that causes one’s quality of life to deteriorate or ability to interact with other people diminish. Drugs, alcohol and sex have all been known to bring out the addictive traits in people but in the recent years, people have also been documented to become addicted to exercising, watching television and using the computer. Computer addiction not only pertains to PCs but also to video games and internet use. Addiction to PCs can happen without one noticing it just like any other type of addiction. Relationships, quality of life and other aspects of a person’s life have suffered from endless hours of chatting online, browsing the web or playing computer games.

Computer addiction has gained a lot of attention in the media especially that children have also been reported to become victims of this disorder. A recent study concluded that some children exhibit extreme behavior when forbidden to play computer games, including temper tantrums and behavior similar to an addict going cold turkey.

In order to determine if a hobby has eventually turned into an addiction, specific questions need to be asked and careful assessment need to be done. Questions may include how much time is spent using the computer browsing the internet or playing games compared to the time spent interacting or socializing with other people.

Another method to confirm computer addiction is to observe one’s way of life before and after the computer was purchased. A lot of people have been dismissed from their jobs after repeated warnings because of frequent use of the computer at work for personal reasons. Others have lost a great deal of money spending their money on online services or chat rooms.

Computer gambling and computer addiction are said to be linked. There are people who gamble online. They, too, have spent hundreds and even thousands of dollars betting and playing online poker and other games.

Just like any other addiction, computer addiction can be treated. The first and most basic step is to allot a specific amount of time spent using the computer or playing games. Turn the computer off when not in use and if you have children, an hour of PC use per night should suffice. Other hobbies that involve interaction with real people can also be pursued. Consistency and the will to refrain from excessive use of the computer are all crucial to a successful “rehabilitation” from computer addiction.

The number of people becoming computer addicts continue to increase on a daily basis. These people don’t realize that they are spending more time in a virtual environment than in the real world. If this condition is not treated right away, it can lead to a decline in the quality of life as well as social skills of the addict.

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