The Internet has reduced the world to a global village. It is a convenient and valuable source of information and knowledge. From e-mail to chat and e-greetings to contests, the net has spawned virtual communities who eat, live and breathe on the net.
Here's a checklist to determine if you are suffering from Internet addiction:
1. Do you surf the net first thing every morning?
2. Do you prefer chatting on the net rather than going to a party?
3. Do you brainstorm for ideas on the net?
4. Do you spend half of your train or plane trip with a laptop in front of you?
5. Do all your friend have a @ in their names?
6. When your wife or your mom stresses the importance of communication, do you just go ahead and buy another computer?
7. Do you get up at 5 in the morning to go to the bathroom but land up checking your mail?
8. Do you feel that you have nothing to do if your net connection is not getting through?
9. Do you feel irritated and restless if you try to cut down on your Internet usage?
10. Do you spend much more time surfing the net than what you had intended to?
If you reply yes to any of the above two questions, you are suffering from what is commonly referred to as 'Internet Addiction'! You are a cyber junkie, bitten by the Internet bug that is slowly and steadily enslaving you in its grip.
What is Internet Addiction?
When the Internet starts intruding into the real world and disturbs the equilibrium of life, then it is time to press the danger button. Typically, cyber addiction can have a detrimental effect in four areas of your life:
Your relationships: Excessive use of the net can impair your relationships as you prefer to spend time with a clunky machine rather than in the company of loved ones. Internet addicts gradually become solitary recluses who spend less and less time with real people in the real world.
Your personality: It has been found that obsessive netizens tend to become withdrawn and introvert as they sit holed up in front of the computer. What's more, they tend to use the Internet as an escape route to run away from their problems. This switching off from reality can have a retrograde effect on your personality, not allowing it to blossom to the fullest.
Your productivity at work: Your work too might take a backseat if you get too engrossed in the net. This could happen in a number of ways. You may start ignoring work, make silly mistakes, start working late just to use the Internet and withdraw from colleagues. All this is bound to hamper your productivity.
Your health and fitness: As if television wasn't enough to turn people into couch potatoes, the Internet revolution has finally sealed the lid on that. Physical activity, exercise, sports, playing games have all received a setback as more and more people prefer the activities of the virtual world to that of the real world. In the end, it is your overall fitness that will take a beating. Besides, prolonged sitting on the computer can lead to other ailments such as back problems and muscle aches and pains
Remember, the Internet is not your enemy. It has a number of advantages. However, the problem arises when you spend excess time on the Net to the point of neglecting your relationships, health and office life. As with everything else in life, moderation is the key to success in using the Internet.