With more and more access to online services, countless individuals across the UK are developing an internet addiction. While this may seem harmless, it can end up being so bad that it can have a severe negative impact on those affected. It is also something that adversely affects the family members and friends of addicted individuals, as well as society as a whole.
The problem of internet addiction has become so bad here in Britain, that fifteen million people have admitted to taking a ‘digital detox’, during which they implemented a self-imposed ban on digital devices.
The Ofcom report showed that millions are becoming hooked on the internet, with more than half of those questioned admitting to being addicted. A third of those who took part in the survey said that they find it tough to step away from their digital devices. More than two thousand adults and five hundred teenagers participated in the survey in which they talked about how the internet is having a detrimental effect on their lives.
With internet addiction an ever-growing problem, the Ofcom report has revealed that the average amount of time spent online by British adults is 25 hours per week. More than forty per cent of those questioned admitted to checking their apps more than ten times every day while eleven per cent admitted to doing this more than fifty times each day.
Negative Consequences of an Internet Addiction
The internet has taken over lives so much that some have acknowledged that it has negatively affected their personal and work lives. Almost half of all users said that they spend longer online than they planned to every day, which resulted in them being late for work or school. Others stated that they neglected responsibilities such as housework or schoolwork in favour of being online, and almost a third said that they had neglected spending time with family and friends because they were too busy online.
Sixty-one per cent of teenagers said that parents had taken away digital devices because they were spending too much time online. More than a quarter had been late to school because of their internet addiction, with more than half admitting to spending time online instead of doing their school work.
Many people believe that digital devices are having an adverse impact on society as a whole and are preventing individuals from communicating effectively with each other in the ‘real’ world. In fact, a quarter of UK adults have admitted to sending an instant message or text to another person who was in the same room as them.
Most people take their mobile devices everywhere with them, and some cannot bear to have their phone out of their hand. Teenagers have become so dependent on the internet, and social media in particular, that they find it difficult to interact with others face to face.
Being too engrossed in a digital device has led to some people bumping into others on the street or ignoring their friends and family members.
Detoxing from the Internet
The idea of a digital detox may sound simple for most people, but the reality is that those who have become dependent on their mobile device may find it very difficult to go without it. Of those who decided to do a digital detox, twenty-five per cent managed to go without the internet for just one day. Twenty per cent managed to live without it for a week while just five per cent managed a month.
It seems the pull of the internet may be too strong for many, but of those who did manage to stay away for up to a month, thirty-three per cent said they felt they had used their time more productively. Twenty-five per cent stated that they enjoyed their life more. Most of those who did decide they wanted to do the detox did so in order to have time to do other things or to spend more time with their family and friends.
Do You Have an Internet Addiction?
These days, most people use the internet to find out information or to keep in touch with friends and family members. There is no doubting the fact that it has revolutionised the lives of many, but how much internet use is too much? When does it become an internet addiction?
Some people spend most of their day online for work, but who do not become addicted. However, there are others who develop an addiction that causes terrible consequences for their general wellbeing.
If you are worried that you are spending too much online, ask yourself the following questions:
- Are you preoccupied with the internet? Do you spend long hours online or thinking about it when you cannot access the internet?
- Do you need to spend more and more time online in order to feel satisfied?
- Have you tried to spend less time online but have been unable to?
- Do you spend longer online than you planned to?
- Have you neglected family members, friends or responsibilities in favour of going online?
- Do you lie to family members about the time you spend online?
- Does going online help to make you feel better?
If you have answered yes to one or more of the above questions, you may have developed an internet addiction and should consider a digital detox. Spending less time online may be beneficial to your health and your wellbeing. You may find that you have more time to devote to other people and activities.
- Digital Detox: 15 Million Britons Have Ditched Their Devices As Internet Addiction Reaches New High