New dangers of addiction in the digital age

That there are also risks for surfers on the Internet is shown by new dangers in relation to addiction. Caution should be exercised when using the web.

The digital age has brought many achievements and represents progress. But with progress, the risks associated with addiction also increase for some people.

In the course of digitization, many established processes have changed fundamentally. At work, almost nothing works without modern IT. The computer is the most important tool in the office. In addition, constant accessibility has become an absolute matter of course, because most people have a mobile phone or smartphone. Communication has also changed significantly as a result of social networks.

Technical progress and the increasing relevance of the Internet have given rise to completely new disciplines and business areas in recent years. Examples include web design, e-business, online marketing, influencer marketing and online shopping. At the same time, classic encyclopedias have become obsolete, because all information is available online anytime and anywhere. However, the Internet not only provides the knowledge of the world, but also provides entertainment. Music streaming, video platforms, podcasts, and e-books are examples of how the Internet is transforming the entertainment industry.

Access to information, endless entertainment, and socializing opportunities are showcases of the Internet’s limitless possibilities . Some users may experience this as sensory overload and be overwhelmed. The internet also does something to the human psyche. Although IT security is primarily concerned with technical matters, the effects on personality and everyday life should also be considered.

The addictive potential of the Internet

If you want to play without a limit in the online casino, for example, you have to be aware of the associated risk of loss. This is obvious and usually needs no further explanation. Friends of virtual gambling should also be aware of the potential for addiction and use the countless possibilities of online gambling responsibly. Players who are unable to do this should critically question their gaming behavior and, if necessary, seek professional help. The BZgA telephone advice on gambling addiction can be very helpful here and show ways out of gambling addiction.

Apart from the existence of casino fraud, which undoubtedly represents a major danger on the Internet, this is above all to mention addiction potential. This is usually associated primarily with online sports betting and virtual gambling, but has a much broader impact. The intensive use of modern media can be addictive. In this context, there is talk of Internet addiction, which manifests itself as a behavioral addiction and is affecting more and more people. Although children and young people are particularly at risk, the virtual world is also increasingly attracting adults. They lose themselves in the digital world and lose their connection to reality.

Reality is becoming less important as their thoughts revolve around smartphones and the like. In view of the fact that digitization is progressing and affecting all areas of life, you have to face and use digital media. Only those who are safe on the Internet and exploit the full potential remain up to date. Sound knowledge of the internet is indispensable both in private life and at work. Intensive use of the Internet is therefore part of everyday life for most people. However, there is also a risk that the whole thing will get out of hand and a tangible Internet addiction will develop.

Symptoms and forms of Internet addiction

Internet addiction can take many different forms. In principle, the addiction can concentrate on one of the following areas:

  • digital communication media
  • Console and computer games
  • In addition, various well-known addictions, such as Example, a shopping addiction or gambling addiction, also shift to the Internet. Internet addiction can therefore only serve as a generic term for a wide variety of addictions and requires an exact differentiation.

    Regardless of the respective form of addiction, there are some parallels. If the digital media are used excessively intensively, one can initially speak of online addiction. However, the smooth transition sometimes makes identification difficult. However, the following typical symptoms can help to recognize an impending or existing addiction problem:

    • Reduction of social contacts in real life
    • increasing loneliness
    • neglect of school or work
    • Give up hobbies
    • Lower productivity
    • Loss of control over internet usage
    • Irritability

    If those affected are permanently online and are increasingly withdrawing from real life, these are alarm signs for an addiction problem in connection with the Internet. There is an acute need for action here in order to break the spiral of addiction and enable normal life again.

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    Measures against internet addiction as a form of IT security

    There is no question that something must be done to combat internet addiction. However, the omnipresence of digital media makes this very difficult and a complete renunciation online almost impossible. However, the diagnosis must first be established in order to initiate adequate treatment. Classic addiction criteria are used and quickly reveal whether there is a serious addiction problem. If confirmed, behavioral therapy is usually followed, after all, internet addiction is a behavioral addiction.

    People who are affected by an online addiction can first try on their own to steer their internet use in an orderly manner. If this does not succeed, therapy is indicated. This can take place on an outpatient, part-time inpatient or inpatient basis and thus take place in psychotherapy practices, day clinics or psychosomatic clinics. Individual talks, group sessions and other therapeutic measures can be used. In principle, an individual therapy plan for the treatment of online addiction should always be worked out.

    In view of the high number of cases and the high risk posed by digital media, one should always think about the security of one’s own psyche when using the Internet . Responsible handling is immensely important here. However, actual IT security has so far ignored this. A rethink is required here.

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