The best prevention is education about the difference between Internet use and abuse and to raise awareness. One should also have a good understanding of the importance of social interaction. Ultimately, face-to-face contact contributes to a sense of psychological security and happiness.
Abstinence from the Internet is not recommended for Internet addicts because the use of the Internet is sometimes required for ones work or school life. For some people treatment may involve learning time management skills, setting goals, using reminder cards, or developing a personal inventory.
Recent studies suggest the problem is widespread, with as much as 18.5 per cent of the U.S. population addicted to the web. One Stanford University survey found a staggering one in eight American adults showed signs of “problematic internet use.”
“Internet addiction, for me, is a compulsive action that you want to do over and over,” says Will, a 23-year-old Oklahoman who arrived at reStart on Nov. 5 last year. (He asked that his last name not be used.) After a few fruitless efforts to rein in his internet use, Will was a college dropout, wired for 12-hour stretches in his bedroom, gaming and browsing, which sometimes included five-hour YouTube benders. Plugging in had become a “habit, by nature,” he says, as necessary as eating or doing homework.
On the other hand, healthy internet use means integrating the f2f and cyberspace worlds. You talk about your online life with your real world family and friends. You bring your real identity, interests, and skills into your online community. You call on the phone or meet in-person the people you know online. And it works the other way too: some of the people you knew primarily in the real world, you also contact through email or chat. "Bringing in the real world" is an important principle for helping people who are addictively stuck in cyberspace. And its also a powerful tool for intervening with people who are addicted to misbehaving in cyberspace, such as snerts.
Some programs have already integrated face to face interaction such as Skype. Video chatting brings the perspective of reality to an online lifestyle. Online addicts such as snerts, snot-nosed eros-ridden teenagers, can be rude to others whom are trying to bring reality into an online lifestyle without consideration.
Net-gaming is also a very serious addiction. People who are net-gaming addicts cannot stop playing games on the Internet, but not only that, it also includes those who excessively gamble online. These people invest or gamble thousands of dollars on the Internet, which in the end not only disrupts their job-related duties, but also become bothersome to loved ones around them. Net-gaming addicts can seek help in various places, and are recommended to do so before their Internet addiction takes over their lives. Because often times this addiction involves money, it is almost always detected by spouses or partners, thus making it among the addictions that are mostly treated.
Cyber-Relational Addiction is when someone is addicted to chat rooms and is over involved in online relationships. Addicts who are married usually end up committing adultery and it is often seen that families break up because of the very fact that someone cannot let go of the virtual life they have online and deal with the real life issues and people at hand. This is not very different from cybersex addiction, in that it too involved the particular connection between people on the Internet and may lead to such acts as cybersex or even possibly physical meetings between to partners.
An individual exhibiting Internet addiction is often dealing with underlying psychological issues. These issues may include problematic relationships (e.g., with partner, family, boss), academic or work difficulties, existential or identity crises, and separation anxiety. Internet use aids in the person's avoidance of the problem and creates a buffer between the person's conscious mind and the negative thoughts and feelings the underlying issue generates. It is not surprising that the Internet frequently is used as a means of procrastination and escape. Of course, greater Internet involvement only exacerbates these underlying issues while providing temporary relief at best.
An internet addiction is simillar to a compulsive gambler. Also, one could be addicted to healthy activity such as exercise. However, too much of any activity, healthy or not, becomes unhealthy. Exercise addicts could become anorexic/bulimic, and excessive gamblers could gamble their funds away to the point of bankruptcy.
Symptoms of Internet addiction often include an increasing preoccupation with, and investment of resources (time, energy, money, etc.) on, Internet activities. Also, when not online, the individual can experience unpleasant feelings (e.g., anxiety, depression, emptiness, loneliness) that are relieved by engaging in Internet-related behaviors. Tolerance levels can also develop. One hour in a chat room or MUD game may satisfy an individual initially, but as the person becomes more involved with the online group, a need to be connected, both literally and metaphorically, can occur. A fear of missing out on something can drive users to marathon-length Internet sessions with little or no sleep or sustenance.
The internet allows for a place where individuals can interact with other individuals behind the screen, without knowing the other individual’s appearance. Such an interaction consequently makes both individuals lose real life communication skills, and even become socially withdrawn. Online, emotions can be expressed with symbols and specific words designated to convey a feeling. On the other hand, it takes away the need for using visual communication skills of the face, body, and hands. Without exercising these skills, they can weaken. And as one spends more and more time online, they can become used to only communicating with typed words, and finding it difficult to talk to people in real life.