What are the negative social effects of computer addiction?

Like any other addict, computer addicts can suffer from a variety of harmful side effects from their obsessive behavior. The most common and evident negative side effect revolves around the addict’s social life. Most computer obsessives will completely withdraw from their friends and family so they can have more time to spend on the computer, whether e-mailing, chatting, viewing pornography or playing games. Ultimately, the addict will almost always completely withdraw from his or her real social world and delve deeper into the cyber world. Gamers, especially, can begin to consider things happening in their virtual worlds as more important than anything in their real lives. Many times these addicts will end up having trouble navigating real social situations.
Experts believe that humans are genetically wired to benefit from personal face-to-face contact with other people . The problem with socializing online instead of in person is that there are no social cues or body language to guide human interaction. Although Internet addiction is not officially recognized as a mental illness, there are many support groups and rehab centers that offer treatment for online gaming, gambling, cyberporn and eBay addictions. There are even “Internet Rescue Schools” that are designed to lure children away from their computers to engage in physical activities with other children .
Some of the signs of computer addiction include:
  • Forgetting about the time when you are at the computer
  • Feeling unable to pull yourself away from the computer
  • Feeling irritable, anxious or depressed when computer time is cut short
  • Lying to family and friends about how much time you spend you spend with the computer
  • Having difficulties at work or school because of how much time you spend on the Internet
  • Constantly thinking about the computer and your online activities when you are away from it
  • Experiencing dryness of the eyes, headaches, sleep disturbances, carpal tunnel syndrome and neck and back pain