By Roli Verma:
Are you online 24 x 7 either through your computer or your cell phone? Or do you feel tempted to change your status after every few minutes and feel distressed when no one comments? If yes, you are into living in the parallel virtual world of internet. In the era of advancement, the internet has successfully invaded our hearts and minds without even letting us know! Our generation (the Gen i- the internet generation) knows how to get it all at the click of the mouse, from movies, music, friendship to relationships… More and more people are getting hooked to the internet, especially the youngsters. India has more than 50 million internet users currently and about 85% of these internet users are between the age-group of 19-40 years. People working in offices are also into social networking. Software professional Vivek Trikha says that he spends most of his free time checking out mails and chatting on social networking sites.
The craze for internet started off with e-mails a few years ago, then came the operation of chat and now there is a flurry of social networking sites like facebook, twitter, myspace, flickr, orkut etc… facebook alone has 500 million active users. Through these sites, people can share their thoughts, pictures, plans and views with their friends. Youngsters are so lured by these social networking trends that they spend the entire day in front of their computers and even sacrifice their sleep.
A 19 year old mass communication student Anshu Sharma wakes up suddenly in the night to check the latest updates of her social networking partners. Consequently, it has become an addiction causing techno-anxiety (mental disorder) among the youth. This anxiety is a result of over-usage of internet. Its symptoms include restlessness, mood-swings, aggression, lack of attention or focus and difficulty in processing real time information. A person suffering from this disorder feels anxious when he/she is away from the internet. According to the psychologists, patients complain of strong temptation for the internet which wakes them up in the middle of the night to check their mails and latest updates.
This addiction and techno-anxiety ruins a person’s health and distances him from family members. In some cases net addiction is a result of loneliness and isolation, since man is a social being and when his life becomes hectic and fast-paced he looks at alternative ways of socializing. It also becomes a way of escaping harsh realities and relieving depression. Gradually these people get so used to the internet that they lose their ability to differentiate between the virtual and real world. Psychologists say that they receive more than 5-6 such psychological cases in a week.
Cyber dating and friendships have also become a fad today. Through cyber interaction two like minded people share their lives via the net without seeing each other. It was considered to be harmless fun but then Sania-Shoaib-Ayesha triangle burst the bubble of this online phenomenon. There are a lot of dangers associated with cyber-dating. It mainly affects the lives of young children and young adults who lack maturity. It eventually leads to cyber-dating-abuse which causes break-ups leading to mental trauma and insomnia.
Today the kids are obsessed with online gaming and this is giving rise to aggressiveness and violent behavior. Gone are those days when children used to play in their park! Now they enjoy playing online games sitting in the comfort of their rooms. According to psychologist, Jitender Nagpal, even 9 yr olds come to him with parents. They feel restless if they are not able to check their mails or if parents monitor their internet usage. However It is extremely essential for parents to monitor the use of internet and spend quality time with their children.
It is certainly true that internet has proved to be a boon for all. However, we cannot deny the fact that ‘excess of everything is bad’. In the age of information bombardment we need to keep ourselves aware and update. At the same time, we must make sure that our quest for knowledge doesn’t cost our health. After all a sound mind in a sound body is a short but a full description of a happy state in this world!