Are you spending too much time on the Internet? Are you facing health issues because of it? Spending hours in front of the phone or computer using the internet causes severe health problems and might even lead to a life-threatening outcome. It affects a person physically as well as emotionally. Let us now enlighten ourselves about the 17 harmful effects of internet addiction.
Harmful Effects of Using the Internet for Too Long
The Internet has its fair share of advantages as well as its disadvantages. You are aware that people who use the internet too much are vulnerable to various mental and physical health issues. Also, your privacy is at stake when you start sharing your personal details on the internet. In addition, security issues, leaking of personal information, cyberbullying, and cyber-crime cannot be neglected. Continue reading to know more about the harmful effects of too much internet addiction.
1. Weight Gain or Weight Loss
If you are stuck on a PC, you may develop a habit of eating too much or not at all. It is one of the most noticeable harmful effects of internet addiction. It is a hazardous example of a sedentary lifestyle that causes obesity. (See 9 Diseases Caused by Obesity)
On the other hand, you can also lose weight as a result of not paying too much attention to eating cycles or skipping meals in a day. From time to time, you may see fluctuations in body weight as you go on spending too much time on the internet. It is a concerning behavior and even if you are unable to control it, try seeing a health professional. Not eating due to the internet is a grave sign of concern, and you should heed to it immediately.
If you are in front of a computer, you are inclined to stay close and discard your choice of cooking dinner or eating healthy food at regular intervals. Your portion sizes may vary depending on what you are doing right now. Malnutrition is a condition that occurs when the body lacks nutrients, minerals & various vitamins that it needs to maintain healthy tissue and organ elements. (Also read 20 Amazing Health Benefits of Bananas)
Malnutrition is the result of prioritizing staying online instead of taking proper breaks to consume healthy and nutritious food. Chocolate bars, cookies, fast noodles, and other fast food items can profoundly affect your health in the long run.
- Malnourished adolescents may be prone to premature aging, thin or bloated, dehydrated, and weakened immune systems.
- They may cause tension, mood swings, and other symptoms.
- Also, they can affect vision, taste & smell of a person who is not getting enough nutrients and essential elements to function properly.
3. Dry Eyes
If you spend long hours looking at a computer screen, you may not be blinking enough to clear your attention span. Over time, this will lead to dry eye syndrome. Dry eyes are caused when there isn’t enough lubrication for the eyes through tear films. If you are not blinking enough while working on your computer, the eyes do not receive the required lubrication from the tear films, and eventually, your eyes will get dry and also prone to dust accumulation.
Further, due to insufficient lubrication, the eyes get irritated and itchy. You can also experience dry eyes under certain conditions, like being in an air-conditioned room, while using a motorcycle, or, obviously, looking at a computer screen for extended periods of time. (Also read How VR Affects The Eyes)
4. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal Tunnel can transpire in our palm or arm when a wrist nerve gets squeezed. It can happen when the positioning of hands is not right while using the computer, especially the mouse, for a long period of time. The carpal tunnel is a small tunnel surrounded by bones and muscles in the palm of your hand. When the median nerve is compressed, symptoms may include numbness, tingling, pain, and weakness in the wrist or arm. (Also read 6 Negative Health Effects of Self Harm and Cutting Habits)
As there are several reasons for a headache, using the internet for long durations is the most significant one. The most common type of headache is migraine. To see the screen clearly, the brain has to direct the eye muscles to adjust the sensitivity between the RPA and the front of the screen. This war in which our eyes need to focus and where they should be directed can cause eye strain and eye fatigue, both of which can cause headaches. (Also read Why is it so hard to read on a computer screen?)
6. Improper Hygiene
With little or no physical contact with the people outside your room, internet addicts are less forced to care for their non-social grooming. This neglect of personal hygiene can lead to acne, dental and skin infections. Terrible breathing, food stuck between the teeth, tooth decay, gingivitis symptoms, itchy and flaky skin, smelly hair are a few signs that you lack personal hygiene. (Also read How to Get Rid of Bad Breath? 25 Home Remedies to Keep it Away)
If you fixate yourself in front of your computer while surfing the internet and traveling virtual miles, you will realize the painful reality once the backache kicks in. Not moving from a fixed position for a long time can stiffen your muscles, and trying to use them haphazardly can cause lower back and neck pains. This way, it turns out to be one of the most worrying harmful effects of internet addiction. (See How to Stop Back Pain Fast?)
Insomnia is another one of the harmful effects of internet addiction which can cause serious problems discussed further in this article. According to UCLA Sleep Disorders Center, melatonin is a hormone that keeps the body in a state of sleep close to bedtime. However, due to over usage of the internet at night can disrupt its release. The light from the computer at night interferes with the production of melatonin, which rises during the dark and then decreases in motion and light as part of a natural cycle known as the Circadian rhythm.
Relying on the Internet and other deceptive behaviors can profoundly result in wakefulness, which is a major factor in sleep apnea and other sleep disorders. Extreme internet use is associated with insomnia causing significant sleep disturbances. (Also read How to Have a Good Night Sleep?)
9. Irregular Bedtime Habits
You may be cutting down on sleep to fit all your computer usage, which adds to sleep deprivation. A live clock for healthy adults follows a 24-hour sleep cycle. When the sun rises in the morning, your body produces cortisol, a hormone that causes you to feel alert. As the hours of sunlight pass, the body releases another hormone, melatonin, which triggers the sensation of drowsiness. Electronic gadgets are illuminated, such as cell phones, tablets, readers, and computer systems that emit short wavelengths that are soft, also called blue light. While using it, the brain will mistake the night for the day and release cortisol instead. Your craving for sleep will increase during the morning hours and again during the afternoon.
Fluorescent lamps and LED lights additionally emit blue light, which has been found to reduce or delay the production of melatonin at night and reduce sleep sensations. Greenlight can also reduce the amount of time you spend on slow sleep and rapid eye movement (REM), two phases of the sleep cycle that are important for mental functioning. This is one of the harmful effects of internet addiction. (Also read Is Sleeping Late Bad for Health?)
10. Irregular Daily Schedule
Hyperfocus may be a term used to describe a deep and solid-state of mind. Internet addiction seems dangerous once you solely consider it your hobby or are careless to neglect appointments, meals, social time, or sleep. So you have to push tasks and appointments to the next day where everything might repeat once again. (See Woes of the Bored and Lonely Mind)
11. Inability to be Productive
This is indeed one of the most irritating and harmful effects of internet addiction. Instead of doing your work, you neglect it, leaving your colleagues to do it for you. As long as your work includes computer and network access, the temptation to drift on the internet to seek entertainment will always be there. This further causes inability to be worthful at your job which will most likely lead to serious consequences. (See Why do Asians work very hard?)
12. Relationship Hurdles
With the internet, you no longer have to leave your home to get news of the daily ongoings. You can talk, play, and meet people online while being anonymous. Some of the ways that affect public life are withdrawal, conflict, independence, and isolation. As constant use of the internet causes health problems, it can further cause sociological problems as well. You will slowly and eventually cease talking to your loved ones being busy on your computer. It can cause the relationship to stall and eventually end. (Also read Why Instagram is bad for relationships?)
13. Addictive Behavior
Internet addiction is a real possibility. It can strengthen the bond between your mind and the computer screen. As the internet seeps into our lives further and further, several experts have raised concerns about the same. Internet addiction commonly referred to as Internet Addiction Disorder or IAD is not a condition that has been identified in the most recent Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-five). However, many psychologists argue that internet usage abuse should be treated similarly to different types of dependencies. A number of factors come into play in the development of addiction, and these characteristics vary for men & women (Also read Why Online Games are addictive?)
14. Indulging in Unsafe Online Activities
As you discover the internet more day by day, the most shocking but intriguing things might interest your attention. You may come across some unsafe websites, applications, or even people who might be ready to cause you trouble and leech off of you. Like some applications or websites might contain a virus that will leak your data, which will aid the perpetrator to extort more money from you or attempt something way worse. These unsafe situations can put you in a really tough spot. This is the worst harmful effects of internet addiction.
15. Committing Online Crimes
It is possible to commit online crimes if you learn the methods to harm someone financially, mentally, or even physically. Several frauds, kidnapping, rape, and murder cases have been registered against criminals who meet the victims through the internet. (See 3 Main Types of Serial Killers)
According to the research led by Tetsuya Nakazawa at Chiba University in Japan, sitting in front of a computer screen for 5 hours a day can greatly increase the risk of melancholy. In a 3–12-month study of 25,000 workers, many complained of feeling depressed, irritable, and reluctant to get up and go to work in the morning. Many studies have concluded that long-internet usage may cause psychological problems in internet addicts, like melancholy, intolerance, lack of confidence, and depression. (See Different Types of BPD)
Researchers at University College London found spending more than five hours a day in front of a computer can damage your heart. Note that if you sit too long in front of a computer or PC, the imminent death is yours. Of the 719 people aged 14 to 24, 79% reported being exposed to suicidal content by family, friends, and the mainstream media, including newspapers. While 59% had seen such content through online material. It is indeed one of the shocking and unwanted harmful effects of internet addiction.
In addition to all these, it also causes a disease named Tired All The Time (TATT) syndrome. We should always take care of our health, limiting ourselves to a healthy amount of regular screen time. Overuse of the internet should be avoided to live a great and positive life. (Also read Why some people are always online on Facebook?)