Some people may dismiss the idea of computer addiction, but it’s a real thing that can diminish the life of someone who struggles with it. Many young people grow up used to spending hours a day staring at a variety of screens. When it crosses the line into addiction, it becomes crucial to seek help in order to reestablish a healthy balance in how a person spends their time.
What is Computer Addiction?
Computer addiction also goes by the name internet addiction and online addiction. This type of addiction involves the lack of ability to practice impulse control in relation to using a computer. A person with computer addiction centers their lives around activities that take place on their computers, including smartphones.
Young adults and teenagers find themselves particularly prone to becoming addicted to screen time. Their generation has grown up not knowing anything but a world filled with desktops, laptops, tablets, and cell phones. They often feel disconnected from life when they cannot actively participate in some sort of communication, searching, or game playing on their devices. Parents often recognize that their child has become withdrawn due to an obsession with computer activity but don’t realize it has crossed the line into an actual addiction.
Types of Computer Addiction
Many types of activities can fall under the umbrella of computer addiction. Some people focus on just one or two activities while others bounce around among several of them. Common types of computer addiction include:
A wealth of choices for video gaming exist online and count young people among their biggest fans. Hyper-realistic video graphics and creative input from users help create worlds that draw users in, often blurring the line between reality and the game world.
For a generation now, virtually every shopping need can be satisfied without leaving the house. People can buy everything from coffee to clothing to cars with a few clicks and often have it delivered within an hour or overnight. Addictions to shopping can become financially ruinous to an individual in a short amount of time.
The internet provides older social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter while consistently serving up popular newer ones like Instagram and TikTok. Younger people tend to cave in to the pressure to gain high numbers of likes, follows, and shares, mistaking it for proof that they have value and are likable. Keeping up with their own accounts and those of friends, as well as entertainment-related and other accounts, can eat up hours a day.
Surfing the Internet
Even when a person doesn’t have a specific goal when they go online, they can still lose hours at a time just surfing the internet. Options like reading articles and blogs, checking out information sites, and moving rapidly among other activities can become addictive. What starts out as just doing one thing online can end up eating up an entire afternoon or day.
Chatrooms and Texting
Computer addicts often end up feeling they can only comfortably socialize through text messages. Whether in a chatroom or texting on their phones, they limit their communication to screens, leading to a social life comprised mostly of isolation.
The Side Effects of Computer Addiction
Real risks of side effects happen when a person experiences computer addiction. Physical side effects can include:
- Back and neck aches
- Vision problems
- Difficulty sleeping
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
Many people believe their excessive usage of computers doesn’t impact them outside of possible physical complaints. In reality, many adverse side effects can happen, including:
- Frustration and irritability when not using a computer
- Loss of large blocks of time
- Isolation from family and friends
- Negative impact on relationships with family and partners
- Loss of interest in hobbies and pastimes
- Ignoring work or school responsibilities
- Difficulty connecting to “the real world”
How to Help a Child With Computer Addiction
Treatment programs that understand how to treat commonly known addictions to things like alcohol and drugs can also help someone overcome computer addiction. Addictive behaviors all have certain things in common, and the right treatment center can help a person retrain their thinking and behaviors. Treatment plans can be done through either a residential or an outpatient program.
Patients will be taught by therapists and other clinicians how to rethink technology and how much time they spend engaging in it via computers. Individual therapy, group therapy, and holistic therapy all offer ways to allow a person to understand the source of their addictive impulses and leave them behind. If the person also deals with abuse of alcohol or drugs, they can treat this at the same time.
Treatment team members will assess the individual for any accompanying mental health concerns that may influence their impulses to spend so much time on a computer. Many people with this type of addiction also suffer from diseases like depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders. When those mental health issues are properly addressed, it makes it easier to move away from the need to be online constantly.
Treatment for Computer Addiction in Los Angeles, CA
Computer addiction is a real problem that many young adults face today. They spend hours glued to their screens every day and don’t always realize how much their lives have become compromised. If you have a loved one who has become addicted to their computer, we know how to teach them to move back into real life. We also treat addiction to alcohol and drugs and help our clients manage their mental health. Contact Launch Centers in Los Angeles, CA, today by visiting our admissions page to find out about our full range of treatment options.