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Computer Addiction

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Computer Addiction: Defining the Problem and Finding the Solution

In today’s society, it is an acceptable idea for people to obtain information via the computer and the internet. With most things in life, there are disadvantages. Computer technology has shown that there are many disadvantages in using this device. Computer addiction, an ongoing problem, causes problems such as addictive behavior, obsession and multitasking dilemmas. What are the disadvantages of using the Internet? The internet teaches us how to interact with people and places all over the world. There are downfalls to this convenience that we are not told about beforehand. Some of these downfalls occur as psychological disorders, addictions, obsessions and in multitasking. Computer addiction is an ongoing problem in 2015. We need to find a solution.
Computer addiction fits the definition of a psychological disorder, a psychological disorder of thought or emotion, a more neutral term than mental illness. For example, Sharon Jayson in her article in USA Today refers to experts who think technology is “rewiring our brains.” Psychological disorders like anxiety, narcissism, addictions and compulsive behaviors that people have are due to excessive computer use. Mary Sykes Wiley, agreeing with Jayson, states that being on the computer is like Cybercoke. It’s an instant high, zooming from link to link. Emily Listfield also uses Jayson’s same words to indicate that the computer internet may even be “rewiring their brains.” Some good examples are that people on the Internet have hundreds of friends on Facebook that they have never even met. These types of relationships interfere with social face-to-face relationships because they never have had to face the person on the computer. Listfield states that communication skills are lacking regarding how to converse with people, how to read cues from vocal intonation, and even negotiating. These are just some of the psychological disorders that people are experiencing due to excessive computer addiction. The overuse of computer technology causes an abnormally strong craving, a characteristic of addiction. Jayson believes that one must have mindfulness in not allowing the device to control the attention or to disrupt conventional life. Wiley says that taking a break to view Facebook and not realizing that an hour or two have passed is an addiction comparable to smoking a cigarette when addicted to nicotine. Furthermore, Listfield says that when users get an unexpected text, the dopamine cells in the brain fire up and create the feeling of pleasure which can also lead to addiction. Jayson says dopamine is the feeling of a reward every time someone tweets or sends you a message. Some people have a hard time not letting that tweet control them. They are always opening up the phone to find out just who is on the other end. Adults are not the only ones facing this addiction. Additionally, children are equally likely to become addicted. Listfield states, “Children may never be content spending time on their own which is an important part of a psychological development.” Wylie agrees with her by saying, “reflection, critical thinking and imagination” take time, as stated by psychologist Patricia Greenfield in Science 2009. The internet doesn’t allow for that time, due to its multifunctional capabilities. Sharon Jayson exclaims, “Technology has made us lazier.” We have less conversations with people and in turn, less eye to eye contact. Less interaction causes less sensitivity towards each other. We are deactivating ourselves as humans more and more each day. This is also having an effect on our children. Children as young as toddlers are using computers to occupy their time during the daylight hours while their parents are busy taking care of other matters. Children become addicted to the Internet because of its interactive tool. It replaces human interaction and that’s where the problems begin. Problems that exist with computer addiction in children are: drop in grades, change in sleep pattern and increased anxiety as children interact and increase their gameplay. While playing these games for an extended period of time, children may forgo eating, homework and sleep. These are all signs of computer addiction and they are affecting all of us from youth to adult. This is only one such form of addiction and it doesn’t end here. The domination of one's thoughts or feelings by a persistent idea, image or desire, is a characteristic of obsession. Jayson describes obsession when she says that you need mindfulness so that your device does not control you. She says that being so connected or obsessed can make us behave as if we have real psychological disorders. Examples of disorders would be narcissistic personality disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder, addiction and depression. In these situations, enough is never enough! Technology fosters our obsessions, dependence and stress reactions and makes us appear out of control. Mary Wiley says, “You notice that you’re losing it—“it” being your mind.” The computer can be soothing, and it can be habit-forming. She says, “You lose your mind, you just disappear and you are depleted, you are numb, and you forego food, sleep and bathroom breaks.” Wiley gives an example of obsession as when a South Korean couple was arrested for letting their three month-old baby starve to death while they spent six hours every night at the countries Internet games café. Listfield also agrees that computing is an obsession when your child's grades drop and sleep patterns are affected, showing signs of increased anxiety. These are the telltale signs of obsession with the internet. Computer obsession is a real problem in 2015. Multitasking is defined as an individual handling more than one task at the same time. For example, taking calls while answering an email. Wiley argues, “Multitasking makes your neurons expand at the speed of light, giving a false sense of confidence.” People might be multitasking, but how efficient is their production? She states that multitasking weakens higher order cognitive processes. For example, multitasking also makes people worse at multitasking. Listfield states, “forty percent of kids in middle school and high school say that when they're on the computer most of the time they're also plugged into other media.” The effects of the multitasking is a negative one because the prefrontal cortex which is essential for social behavior, planning, reasoning and impulse control is not fully developed in young children and its development depends largely on what activities the child does. Multitasking results in the diminished ability to focus on one particular thing for a long period of time because you don't have any deep thoughts or any imagination. You don't have any attentiveness and you're less likely to be thorough due to multitasking. The job is to get things done and be quick about it. Multitasking is another form of addiction in the computer world and we need to acknowledge that fact, if we want to make our lives better in the future. When we think about how computer technology has helped us get through our day, we realize that computers play an important part in our everyday life. To simply do without this technology would be a waste of an efficient gift. The computer can be used constructively. People get used to one way of performing tasks and it becomes a habit. I believe that we can overcome our addictions, obsessions and our multi-tasking problems by making some general rules before sitting in front of the computer. I believe that computer usage should be timed. One hour time intervals are enough to get your tasks completed and still have a family life. People that use the computer at home should have an activity hour planned every night of the week. Introduce your family to board games, read a book together, have a karaoke night or watch a good movie together. Bringing family together breaks up the cravings for the computer. Set up bed time hours and stick to them. Rest makes the brain energized for the upcoming day. Making a rule that you must eat your meal before going on the computer delays that obsession to have to find out what is happening on Facebook today. Meals feed the brain and are very important in keeping us productive and healthy. The most important rule that should be adhered to is that when using the internet, be relaxed and stress free and concentrate on one particular task. Multitasking can be left at the workplace. When families enjoy their personal space, there is less conflict and more productivity, more happiness and more tranquility. These rules are an important guide to avoiding the addictions mentioned in this paper. These rules make sense and they make everybody a happier internet user and a healthier individual as well.

Works Cited Jayson, Sharon. USA TODAY. Web. Listfield, Emily. 12 Oct. 2011. Web. Sykes Wylie, Mary. www.Addiction. Web.…...

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