We are connected digitally through uninterrupted access to technology and inundated with constant cyber touch-points with our friends and family. If we are constantly in touch and still feel alone, why don’t we put down the digital relationships and pick up some real ones? It may be easier said than done because of the addictive qualities of the cyber world. An addiction is a “compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance” (Aarhus University Center for Alcohol and Drug Research). Is the internet a habit-forming substance? According to AddictionCenter.com, the reason why the internet can become an addiction is that it can interfere with daily life and affect psychological functioning.
Interestingly enough, cyber addiction usually is accompanied by another disorder, like depression or anxiety. For example, 57% of people with cyber addiction have a depressive disorder and 15% have an anxiety disorder (The Recovery Village). It is known that depression and anxiety are chemical imbalances in conjunction with social/environmental factors. If we look at the social aspects of depression and anxiety in cyber addiction, one can connect the above statistics to the social concept of validation. If people are increasingly connected through the internet but still sad, depressed, or have anxiety, they must not be getting what they need from it. The internet may lack the attribute of authenticity and gives people a false sense of belonging. So people seek more and more of the false validation, hoping that maybe the next ‘like’ or ‘heart’ will be the one, the one that will make them happy. It sounds similar to gambling addiction ‘just one more bet’.