People who are addicted to the internet may experience some of the following effects:
-Poor impulse control: being unable to stop visiting websites, clicking links or checking emails.
-Procrastination: a person may regularly perform activities such as website browsing or online gaming to avoid doing important tasks such as starting an essay or making a difficult phone call.
-Avoiding family and friends (reduction in social life): people who become addicted to the internet often go out less frequently and interact with their friends and family less and less overtime.
-Lower productivity: this links with procrastination. People who are addicted to the internet are likely to have lower rates of productivity as they put off doing their work and are unable to focus on the work at hand, becoming easily distracted.
-Time distortion: aimless web surfing or play online games is common among internet addicts who may find that time passes rapidly whilst doing these activities. Internet addicts become so wrapped up in what they are doing online they fail to notice all the time that has gone by.
-Escapism and dissociation: becoming heavily involved in an online community or videogame may be used as a way to escape the problems that users are currently facing. For example, someone might become excessively involved in an internet community based around a videogame, or an online social network and they use this as a crutch to avoid having to deal with face to face interactions in the ‘real world’.
-Depression and anxiety: this relates to escapism and dissociation. People who are depressed may use the internet as a type of ‘self medication’ allowing themselves to escape and ignore the problems they are currently facing by immersing themselves in the online world. This can lead to further depression or anxiety when they ‘log off’ as they still have yet to face their problems and putting off problems often only makes them worse.
Other effects of internet addiction include:
-a reduction in personal hygiene and caring for how one looks
-feeling ‘zoned out’ after several hours of internet usage
-back pain as users spend long periods of time hunched forward looking at a computer screen.