Internet dependency - or cyber dependency – is a relatively new phenomenon and is not yet totally recognized in the medical community.
It is one of the new health problems of 21st century society.
A good definition would be that cyber dependency is the problematic use of the Internet and new technologies.
Cyber-dependent people will exhibit generalized anxiety disorders, depressions or burnout that may lead to disability.
Cyber dependency most often affects individuals suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorders. "For example, the individual will have a haunting notion, a constantly omnipresent idea or thought that will amplify until it becomes an obsession. It will be followed by compulsion, characterized by repetitive, often irrational and illogical behaviour that generates suffering."
Here are the main psychological symptoms associated with cyber dependency:
- a sense of well-being and euphoria when using the Internet;
- the inability to stop using the Internet;
- the need to keep increasing the time spent using the Internet (even at night);
- the lack of time for family, friends or other recreational activities;
- problems of attendance or performance at school or at work;
- lying to family or friends about the time spent on the Internet;
- depression or irritability when the person is deprived of the Internet.
Here are the physical symptoms associated with cyber dependency:
- Dry eyes;
- Migraine headaches;
- Carpal tunnel syndrome;
- Irregular or skipped meals;
- Poor personal hygiene;
- Insomnia or sleep cycle changes.
Cyber dependency can take various forms. Pathological online gambling is one of them.
People increasingly turn to online gambling due to its anonymity and practicality.
Another form of cyber dependency is the cyber-relationship, a relationship developed via the Internet.
There may be cyber dependency in texting, social networks, or compulsively checking one's email...
All these habits translate into:
- A significant period of time devoted to looking for information on the Internet;
- A reduction of productivity (at work or in school);
- A reduction of time for tasks in general;
- An increase in stress factors.
As we can see, the relatively new phenomenon of cyber dependency can have consequences on workplace efficiency.
This trend cannot be ignored. It must be managed.
To find out more about this topic, we suggest you read the reference document.
In case of any questions, doubts or a specific need for support, don't hesitate to contact the specialized support service offered to the eligible individuals.