Meaning of Computer Addiction

Computer addiction exists where an individual displays excessive or compulsive use of the computer, either in online or offline mode, notwithstanding its dire consequences on his or her daily routine and socio-economic functionality. Three sub types are generally recognized, that is, games addiction, sexual viewing, and e-mail/ text messaging addictions. Computer addiction is still considered an unofficial compulsive disorder according to the latest release of The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. There are two major types of computer addiction; these are the online and the offline addictions. Offline addiction is used in reference to computer game playing which could be done either online or offline by means of downloaded or copied games. The addiction to online games is what is usually called Internet addiction and it attracts more scientific research than the offline mode of computer gaming.

Key Symptoms of Computer Addiction

There is a thin line between occupational or necessary use of computers and addictive behaviour. However, there are some signs that indicate that an individual may have gone aboard in his use of electronic media/technology. These include the following:

  1. Being constantly preoccupied with the computer whether in the online or offline mode
  2. Strong desire to go online or use the computer applications all the time
  3. Immediate desire to use the computer as soon as one wakes up in the morning
  4. Old hobbies being replaced by time spent on the computer, thus being the main source of leisure and entertainment leading to procrastination
  5. Allowing actions done on the computer to take the time which is ordinarily meant for doing important activities such as assignments
  6. Telling lies about what you actually do on your computer to give the impression that you are spending quality time whereas you were merely playing computer games
  7. Feeling anxious about using the computer or feeling disturbed when you have limited time on it
  8. To lose track of the passage of time when you are using the computer
  9. Using the computer to evade reality

The Effects of Computer Addiction

The effects of computer addiction includes cutting off direct physical social interaction; using the computer for narcotic effects either to relieve stress, boredom or to gain pleasure; irritability and depression when opportunity to use the computer is denied; spending undue amounts of money on hardware and other computer related accessories; and failure to carry out educational, job, family and social obligations as a result of excessive time spent on the computer.

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