It seems like everyday, medical professionals, school counselors, the media or someone is talking about another addiction epidemic related to the new era of technology we have entered in the last decade. Whether these are addictions, compulsive behaviors or dependencies, the fact is that we are undergoing a major shift in how we communicate with each other, how we learn, how we gather information, how we play, and more. And we seem to be lost without many of the things we could not even have dreamed of having just a decade ago.
Here are some of the new addictions that could not have been fathomed just a few years ago:
1. Cell Phone Addiction
Cell phones are a great invention that seem to have made life so much easier. Yet they also gave people a way to be in constant touch and some people get addicted to that– constantly sending text messages, calling people to update them about everything they are doing. Cell phone addiction has often identified among tweens and teens and is becoming a global phenomena. In some cases, teens and young adults spend hours each day using their phones.
2. E-mail Addiction
Some people are so dependent on email and the feeling they get when mail arrives to their Inbox, they may send themselves mail or register for newsletters just to ensure a constant flow. If a person is constantly checking their email – before they eat, while they, after they eat, on the way to the bathroom, just before heading out of the house, first thing they do when they get home . . . they may have developed a compulsive behavior. With that said and given how many people work today using email to communicate throughout the day, it may be hard to differentiate between compulsive email use and healthy email behavior.
3. eBay Addiction
I only bought one item on eBay and it was 10 years ago. It just did not do it for me. But thre are many people who are spending time on eBay all day and it becomes about more than just hunting for bargains for things they need. It becomes an addiction to the hunt itself. The thrill of finding something , the thrill of ordering it and the thrill of receiving it by mail make for an experience that can be very addictive and is always available. Many people get a rush from winning the bidding on eBay items similar to the rush gambler get. For some, it interferes with work, leads to overspending and causes tension within families.
4. Online Gambling Addiction
Online gambling can be an enjoyable alternative to visiting casinos but for those for whom it becomes a frequent activity, it usually ends up badly. Internet gambling has led to an overall increase in the number of people who gamble and consequently in the number of compulsive gamblers. People who would have never considered taking a trip to a casino or playing poker with friends are accessing bingo sites, betting sites and getting hooked. The Internet gambling sites are built to attract first time gamblers with irresistible temptations and even provide free money to get started.
5. Internet Addiction
Just being online can be addictive. More and more people are finding it too easy to spend hours each day online. They shop, read, play, communicate, etc. all from the comfort of their home. It can be convenient and seemingly enhance our lifestyle but when overused, it is an addiction with serious consequences – from back pain to weight gain to loss of friends to depression.
6. Internet Porn Addiction
From sex talk via chat to viewing online porn, the porn industry has succeeded to enter many more homes via the Internet than was ever possible. Pornography is highly addictive content and many people, once exposed, find themselves seeking more porn images and videos and spending more and more time seeking porn online. A porn habit can effect a person’s ability to be intimate, it can be hurtful to the person’s partner, and it can interfere with daily life. Divorce lawyers mention pornography as being the cause of a growing number of divorces.
If you or someone you love appear to be developing an Internet related addiction, consider a web filter as the first line of defense. In the case that the addiction has become out of control, you may require professional therapy or self help type course to recover.