Life and it’s pressures, pressures to live up to the societal demands, the ever increasing financial needs, building a career , peer pressures et al., continously excercise lots of strain, which essentially then shows up in our relationships, adding in emotional stress to the mix. It is a vicious cycle.
Social media, the cyber world has become an easy hideout, where people are finding solace from their current life’s emptiness, trying to fill up spaces in their lives with cyber friends, old aquaintances, ex’s who were once separated by time and distance, now brought close by the internet.
Substance addiction has been around for centuries but internet addiction is relatively new and so it can be difficult to spot, here are a few inidicators that will raise those red flags of cyber addiction.
- Emotional dependence
Everyone is searching for pieces of themselves that they have lost somewhere in the hustle bustle of life, in others. And the wide reach of the cyber world helps them find just that – real or fake, but they find it. It’s fulfilling to find your clan. The youngsters jump in straight and hard, the mature ones start off small, keeping in mind – the unreal nature of this world.
However, slowly, the drug gets into your system, without even realizing these cyber acquaintances become your habit, the daily doze of your emotional steroid. You find yourself logging in more and more to check messages, comments, likes – craving attention from these strangers. They are your new addiction now, unknowingly, you are now becoming emotionally dependent on them and somewhere you forget that its all unreal.
2. Avenue For Connection and Affection
This now becomes your avenue to share every event of your life, you look for support in words from people who are perhaps just casually reading stuff, pressing the no effort like button or responding with stereotype answers. This creates an illusion of connection and affection. Now you are in the danger zone.
3. Spending more time on social media than with family or real friends
Gradually, you get so involved that somewhere you cut off from your real world friends and family and get more and more driven to those in your fantasy world.
Well afterall it is so much more easier to love people that just show you the stage performances as against your real life family where you are actually experiencing the back stage.
4. Internet interfering with work or life responsibilities
Be it work or school you cannot resist being on your phone every few minutes. It feels like anxiety kicks in if you do not have a quick look at your social media accounts, or check the reactions to your posts. Time to pull those strings !
5. Real expectations from the unreal world
Attachment kicks in, the boundaries between real and imaginary blur off. Expectations of reciprocation are born.
And one day when you are in real trouble – you fall sick, you go broke, you meet with an accident, that’s when you feel completely alone, expecting the world of fantasies that you created to feel for you, be with you, support you, cry with you and pull you back up. That’s when you realize, nothing is real, you do find some words of support, but oh boy, does that replace real affection from friends and family ? Never. That’s when fantasy ends and reality hits you.
You are suddenly in a state of depression as the emotional steroid is withdrawn. The heart aches ! But unfortunately, “Nothing is real except the pain.”
The cyber world is an easy escape to life, but it needs to be administered with a lot of self control and self awareness. It is extremely important to continously look out for these signs and keep a check on your level of involvement.