Computer Dependence - Myth or Reality?

   Computer addiction is an increasingly urgent problem. "Computer addiction" is defined as a preference towards pastimes related to computer use, leading to a drastic reduction of all other activities, and limiting contact with others. The main indicator of dependence is centering lives and interests around the computer.

   Modern teenagers spend much time surfing the internet, pointlessly wandering through all kinds of sites. Some sit in social networks in search of friends in misfortune, some spend their free time playing computer games.

   When people talk about computer addiction, they primarily imply its occurrence in children, who are most susceptible to this toy of today. Most young people are attracted to the computer because of:

-  Availability of personal space, their own world, to which only they have access 

-  The possibility to make decisions on their own and act as they want, knowing that these actions won’t have any serious consequences

-  As a result, lack of responsibility, which is what the older generation represented by parents and teachers continuously demands 

-  Distancing from reality, abstraction from the real world

-  Realization of their aspirations and dreams, as well as the ability to correct their mistakes

-  A chance to create a new image for themselves that no one will condemn or check for plausibility.

   We can include here a variety of online games, where the child can create a character and develop its abilities. This is something so hard to do in today's real life.

   Another form of dependence is communicating in social networks. Young people look for friends by interests, or with similar life problems. In the most difficult cases, it can lead to complete replacement of real friends by virtual friends. However, it is the most extreme case. Spending time at the computer can be useful, if it does not cross the boundaries of reality.

   Nowadays most information is on the Internet, so today's student can’t live without a computer. But is it as safe as it seems? The first step in getting rid of computer addiction is realization of the problem. Thus, the main symptoms of this "modern disease" are:

-  Changes in sleep and wakefulness. Since computer makes us spend a long time in front of it, the only option is to stay awake late and feel sleepy in the morning.

-  The use of stimulants to stay awake - coffee, energy drinks addiction.

-  Constant attempts to stay close to the friendly machine, thinking up new things to do in the computer space.

-  Reluctance to unwind from work on the computer, the inability to turn it off at will and switch to other occupations, irritation when distracted.

-  Ignoring or forgetting daily routine and responsibilities.

-  Feeling positive emotions while working at the computer.

-  Frequent and continuous discussion of computer games, applications, etc. in real life, even with people who are not interested in the topic.

-  Character change, indifference towards relatives.

   We can go on listing symptoms, but we should not forget that the real reason of this dependence lies apart from the computer. This passionate interest in technology suggests much more serious problems in personal life - problems in communication with real people, frustrated aspirations and desires and inability to consciously cope with stressful situations, etc. 

   What are the dangers of this addiction? First, shifting of interest from real life to the computer halts intellectual development, narrowing it to a specific area which young people understand much better than their less computerized peers. Secondly, youngsters lose the meaning of life, which has not even had time to form and develop at this age. A person no longer belongs to himself and starts to identify himself completely with the mechanical parts of the computer.

   Thus, we can conclude that there is no need to throw away the computer for fear of addiction. Remember that everything is good in moderation.

   A computer is really a source of useful information and services, for example help with programming, as well as a way to spend free time. However, we must understand that it is but a soulless machine that doesn’t provide human warmth and love, it cannot substitute friendly, romantic and family relationships, and it’s unlikely to solve personal issues on its own. Before you dive into the vast expanses of the Internet, you should look back and look around, for chances are you will see the person who would be a more agreeable companion than the monitor.

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