We are living in the age of internet. Over one billion people in the world have access to the internet. Like the extensive list of its merits, it does have some very alarming demerits as well. Getting addicted to internet is one of them. The excessive computer use that interferes with your daily life is known as internet addiction.

In internet addiction, you will experience a parallel situation. Internet provides the high (like drug or food in other addictions) and addicts become reliant on this cyberspace high to feel normal. However, like the other addictions, internet addiction follows the same progressive nature. Studies of American psychiatric association show that a person must meet certain criteria, to be diagnosed as having internet addiction disorder. If three and more of these criteria last for more than one year then it can be said that you are addicted to internet. Following are the symptoms of internet addiction:

• Preoccupation with internet:This means thinking of internet while you are not online. Thinking about your last online session or some website you have visited recently are examples.

• Loss of control: You cannot help yourself but go online. You will find yourself surfing different websites without any specific reason. Addict users sit down to check e-mails, visit social websites like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter etc, chat online for hours after hours and feel unable and unwilling to get up from the computer.

• Recurrent fluctuation of mood: An addicted user will feel depressed while s/he is offline or is not able to go online. That is a sign of addiction to internet which will take control of your mood.

• Isolation from family and friends: If you found that your social life is getting hampered due to the excessive use of internet that means you are having a symptom of addiction. It will make you feel more comfortable with your online friends than your real life friends. As a result most of this, addicts become isolated from their family and friends.

• Lying about internet usage: Addicts often fail to complete their respective chores because of being online for so many hours. They often disagree with the fact that it is internet addiction which is responsible for this mess. So they end up lying to their employers or family members about the amount of time they spend online.

• Getting involved in intimate virtual relationships with other internet users: Another symptom of addiction is the tendency of building internet based relationships like making connections and dates over the net.

The internet addiction disorder is a new concept but is an alarming one as it is spreading at a rapid pace. Young generation is more vulnerable to this disorder though people of all ages could suffer from this addiction. In some countries (China, South Korea) this addiction is getting so serious that even the government is taking steps to prevent and mitigate this addiction. We cannot do without internet even for a day. So what we have to do is moderation of the internet use. Making a conscious effort and commitment to balance life is essential to solve this problem.

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