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By Dr. Tomori Mareglen,

Criminologist & Crime Analyst

- The internet and social networks have changed the lives of people who have grown up in direct contact with various IT tools.

Smartphones have quickly changed numerous practical aspects of life -

school, social and work - with the ability to quickly access information and services.

The continuous connection to the network and the habit of sharing any aspect online

of one's life involves some risks, in particular, that of addiction to the Internet.

It is an addiction that is usually unconscious and not perceived as a real e

own addiction. In some cases, internet addiction can be a danger, as it affects

negatively relationships with people, both real and virtual ones.

Excessive use of the internet can progressively involve you to the point of

develop an IAD - Internet Addiction Disorder, with the loss of the ability to

control over one's behavior and emotions.

Among the dependent subjects, girls and boys prevail in the age group 12-22 years,

constantly on social networks and in chat, which faces reduction problems school performance, as well as isolation and social withdrawal.

Symptoms for the initiation of web mediated psychopathology can be indicated by the

restriction of the fields of interest outside the network, by the percentage of hours passed

on digital devices and fear of real socialization.

The main signs that indicate pathological use of the internet are:

  • strong reduction of interest in other activities

  • need to access chats and social networks more and more frequently

  • spend more and more time on the internet to get satisfaction

  • compulsive checking of one's own profiles and compulsive sharing of photos, selfies and post

  • eating or sleeping disorders

  • isolation and/or fear of real socialization

  • development, in the absence of connection to the network, of psychomotor agitation, anxiety, depression, obsessive thoughts about what's going on online, and other typical symptoms of abstinence

  • inability to interrupt or monitor the use of the internet.

Problems manifest themselves in different areas, from relational and family to work e

to the school. Continuous use, even at night, leads to the disruption of the regular sleep-wake cycle and excessive fatigue, which can invalidate academic and professional performance. Internet addiction can cause various physical problems that arise from being for a long time in front of the PC or smartphone such as headaches, fatigued

eyes, back pain, sleep disturbances.

In addition, some fundamental characteristics of the internet, such as anonymity and the absence of space-time constraints, offer the possibility of living an experience similar to a dream, in which one's own experiences and fantasies are projected.

This space can easily override real life, contributing to the development of addiction.

The numerous activities that can be carried out online mean that Internet Addiction

The disorder is not a homogeneous category of disorders but manifests itself in various forms Which:

  • Cyber-sex addiction, cyber-relational addiction: - tendency to establish friends or love relationships only with people met online compulsions: -compulsive behaviors such as gambling, auctions, and online shopping

  • Information overload: - continuous search for information on search engines Computer addiction: - involvement in virtual games with false identities. Internet addiction is often equated with gambling addiction, for the similarity that the two disorders present and for the similar consequences to which they lead.

Finally, we report a phenomenon born in Japan, but also widespread in the last decade

in Europe and the United States, called Hikikomori Syndrome - inmates: it is young, in

the prevalence of adolescents, who decide to withdraw from real, social, and emotional life, with extreme levels of isolation. These girls and boys spend almost all of their time in front of the computer, indoors, expressing oneself only on the net.

The disorder involves severe psychological distress, the inability to relate to the world

real, sleep-wake inversion, and school dropout problems.

Don't become a prisoner of the Internet, ask help to get rid of it.

In Italy is a study and therapy center called HIKIKOMORI, based in Milan, which is deals with this problem and can help you get rid of your internet and video game addictions.

By Dr. Tomori Mareglen

Criminologist & Crime Analyst

Expert in Forensics Sciences,

Investigative Criminology & Intelligence

Executive President

International Police Organization IPO

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