Essay, Research Paper: Computer Addiction


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March 2, 2000 There once was a time when the only computers known to the average
person were those the military possessed. Eventually, large corporations found
many different uses for computers in the business world, and today, computers
are as common in numerous households around the globe. People from all age
groups are learning to operate computers and anyone who has worked with
computers for long periods of time knows that computers can be just as addicting
as smoking. Computer addiction can have a number of physical, social, and
psychological effects on a person and it is to be taken as seriously as any
other addiction that a person is battling. One common physical effect computer
addiction can have on a person are back problems. Sitting for so long can take a
toll on a person's muscles and can result in poor posture. Poor posture can
result in chronic back problems that require the services of a chiropractor. Dry
eyes, carpal tunnel syndrome, and vision complications are some eye problems
caused by over use of a computer. Migraine headaches are quite common in
computer addiction and are linked to the straining of the eyes. Because of the
long hours spent engrossed in a computer, addicts often have eating
irregularities, such as skipping meals and binge eating. Computer addicts
experience sleep disturbances, or changes in sleeping patterns, which are most
likely due to late hours on the computer and low blood sugar from eating
irregularities. One last effect is the failure to attend to personal hygiene,
such as bathing, combing hair and brushing teeth. All of these physical effects
can be linked to computer addiction. Social effects of computer addiction
include reduced time spent socializing with others. People may begin to feel
that their computer is the only relationship that they have the time to focus
on. They lose the desire for human contact and communication and in a way they
are breaking away from reality. Lacking the desire to make contact with others,
means lacking the desire to create new relationships or to build on already
existing ones. After a certain amount of time, they lose their conversation
skills completely. Within the lives of computer addicts it is their friends and
family that suffer the most from this form of alienation. They are often moved
to the very bottom of the computer addict's list of priorities. Computer
addiction has the power to cause serious social effects and cannot be left
untreated. Along with the physical and social effects of computer addiction
there are also psychological effects. Some psychological symptoms experienced by
computer addicts when they are not at the computer are feelings of depression,
emptiness, irritability, distraction and withdrawal. Feelings that are common
when addicts are at the computer are a sense of euphoria or well-being. These
senses of complete ecstasy and pleasure also causes and inability for people who
are addicted to computers to stop the activity. They end up having a constant
craving for more time at the computer, and this is where one can identify an
addiction. Along with addiction comes a need to cover up their secret and
computer addicts often lie to those around them. For example lying to employers,
and family members about their hours spent at the computer and also denying they
have a problem. This lying a sneaking around eventually results in problems
either at school or at work. The psychological effects of computer addiction may
not only lead to distraction and emptiness but may also lead to critical
depression. When people think of addictions, no one ever thinks of computer
addiction to actually be common. In this age of computers, computer addiction
will only increase as time passes. More and more people will experience the
physical, social, and psychological effects of computer addiction but,
thankfully, like other addictions, this condition is treatable.

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