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Internet addiction appeared only recently and many still don't take it seriously. Upon hearing a phrase 'he is addicted on internet' many will only wave with their hand and laugh - there are not many who will such an addiction as a problem unlike, say, the one on alcohol or some illegal drugs. Even the professionals did not react affirmatively towards this problem immediately. No earlier than in 1995 the American doctor Ivan Goldberg coined a term Internet Addition Disorder (IAD) as a sarcastic joke and only in 2009 the American Psysicians' Association officially entered it to the list of psychological disorders. 


We will tell you five typical stories here that imply the internet addiction. 


Facebook addiction


Daniela was a typical teenage girl. Whimsical and vagarious, she used to change her mood at least twenty times a week, everyone, particularly her parents, were getting on her nerves, and she suffered month after month for some new fatal love of her life. She school was, of course, stupid, teachers stupid sadists and tyrants, and stuff she had to learn for tests represented just a waste of time. Not a single activity that she tried to get engaged in didn't manage to draw her attention for a longer time, and the beginners' phase of enthusiasm would quickly diminish.


And then she discovered Facebook.  In the beginning she thought it was all stupid but then she realized that she had to sign up cause all her friends were there. So she reluctantly opened a profile. Of course, she spent a whole Saturday and Sunday before that locked in her room getting ready and making iPhone photographs of herself so that she can put an appropriate photograph of herself on her profile. The first status was something like 'hey people, here I am'. It was all sporadical at the beginning, and then things got going. Daniela leaves a Facebook status today at least once in two hours, and she shares absolutely everything with her list of friends - that now expanded to some two thousands - from what she ate that morning to detailed reports on the last night's coming out. She logs in on her profile every half an hour to check if someone answered her status and to see how many people liked her photographs. When she arrives home from school, she immediately dashes off to her room to see Facebook. Her whole life revolves around Facebook, and she defines her value with the amount of attention her statuses left that day. If she's ignored in the virtual world, she feels that her life is worthless. Of course, she'll leave a status about that as well. 


Forums addiction


Walter has never been talkative by nature. He always stood aside while among people and somehow prefered to relax on his own with a glass of wine and the movie he downloaded using Torrent. Although he was not stupid, and he also possessed a sufficiently high level of intelectual curiousity and was well educated and well read, he never felt comfortable enough debating with people in person. In the company of the others, if he even ended up there, he rather kept his opinion for himself.


And then he discovered internet forums. He loged in to one of them under the nickname that he made sure no one would ever connect with his face and name and started writing. The possibility of annonymous comments gave him wings. He could now freely express his opinion on the concept of the national soccer team play, on the ruling party's politics, on the quality of the latest movies, on the musical genres, on sex and realtions with women, on social problems... The internet forum became his polygon for expressing opinions and for debating. He identified with the role so much after a while that he couldn't imagine life anymore without debates and arguments with his ideological opponents. While he was driving home from work he thought about the way he was going to answer to that fool who made him angry while debating whether the Beatles or the Stones were better and how he was going to 'nail' them perfectly. He spent hours at home discussing and arguing with people, losing track of time, sinking deeper and deeper into the world of virtual conflict and moving away from the real one every day more. His world soon became the world of nicknames and avatars, while real faces and names kept fading... 


Cyber sex addiction


iskrenost na_netuClaire was a quiet, calm, restrained woman who always led a tidy and pretty conservative life. When she, being only 24, married Ewan, he was only the second man that she slept with. Not a year after her wedding she gave birth to their first child, and the second one followed soon afterwards. She used to work as a cashier for a while, but then she left her work cause Ewan was earning sufficiently and spent the majority of time at home, running between kitchen, bathroom and the beby bed. While the kids were still small it occupied her sufficiently, and then she realized - the years are passing by mercilessly, and there is a horrible emptiness in her life. Ewan kept coming home later from work every day, and then he would immediately fall on the bed and started snoring even before his head touched the pillow. He wasn't even interested in being tender with her, let alone for sex, and the conversation longer than 'what's for lunch today?', 'there you go, it's here' was out of the question. She felt that her life was monotous and that she was not exciting enough to her husband and she desperately wanted to experience that sensation that she was fatal to someone as well. 


She accidentally discovered one of the social networks. Lonely, without friends and hobbies, she started meeting unknown people. At the begining chat with them consisted of only 'where are you from?', 'what's your name?', 'how old are you?' and similar trivial questions that loners on the internet use to spare some time. And then Klaus, a handsome Dutchman, appeared on the camera - which she bought out of pure curiosity. When he told her for the first time, while they were talking over the camera, to pull the dress off her shoulder, she was horrified and blocked him. A few days later she decided to continue conversations with him. And then things got going... she didn't care about Ewan anymore. Evenmore, she could hardly wait for the morning to hear his car getting away from the house driveway so that she could go to a virtual rendes-vous with Klaus. The sensation was fantastic. She was attractive to him, fatal, so desirable... and Ewan, obsessed with business, didn't even notice that his wife kept buying sexy underware more and more. It didn't matter anymore. A few months later, Klaus suddenly disappeared just like he appeared, and then Ekmel from Syria arrived. Now she had an opportunity to enjoy something exotic. Those who followed after him were Milorad from Serbia, James from Great Britain, Jean from France, Jose from Panama... In real life she was an ordinary, boring little spouse and a housewife who was prepairing lunches after her grandma's recipes and scrubing the kitchen and the bathroom floors, and on the internet she could be a fatal seductress Luciana who drives men wild. That feeling that someone wanted her and was ready to throw away inhibitions with her raised her adrenaline and she soon realized that the secret rendes-vous on the camera were the only thing that provided her a feeling of fulfillment.  


Pornography addiction


Peter trully loved his wife, a nice Sandra. He fell in life with her while they were still studying at the same faculty and proposed to her only six months later. She was cute, intelligent, with manners and kind, but - a dead fish in bed. At the beginning it didn't bother him that much cause he somehow naively believed that it was going to change with time but with time his sexual life with Sandra turned into a nightmare but he didn't dare tell her that to her face. He caught himself thinking more and more about cheating on her, so that he could experience that excitement again that he missed so badly. The mere idea of certain sexual games that she didn't even want to try turned him on. When he suggested her to have her tied up, she was horrified and started sobbing cause he could think of something as perverse as that. 


Today Peter rarely initiates sex with Sandra. Instead of that, he waits for her to fall asleep every evening, in her completely unsexy pijamas made of terry, after she saw her favorite show, and then he visits the pornographic websites on the internet. A world is presented to him on the screen that he's secretly yearning for, and which his conservative wife didn't want to provide to him. Damn it, if only Sandra were not alway so kind and wonderful. But that is why there are Jenna, Terra and Caprice, girls with dirty minds and without inhibitions who provide him with at least a trace of that excitement that he lacked in marriage. The best thing of all, he is no longer obliged to explained to his wife where the money from his credit card went - he can now watch the X-rated movies for free - and he simply cannot stop... 


Games addiction


Victor was a shy overweight teenager, with a bad eyesight and even worse facial skin which is why he was never succesful with girls, unlike his more attractive and more confident friends. Due to his passionate obsession with computers and math he was considered weird. He wasn't invited to parties, girls mocked him, and he wasn't going to the pubs cause he had no one to go with. Well, not that he cared about it that much. The computer was his world. Only somewhere far away, in the deepest corner of his mind, there was an idea lurking that he should intesify his social life a bit.


par i_kompAnd then he discovered World of Warcarft, one of the most famous computer games for the joint online playing. His virtual life in Azeroth completely replaced those tiny bits of the real one that he had. He didn't spend the pocket money that he used to get from his parents for going out but for a new monthly fee, and while the sun was shining out inviting everyone else to get out in the open, he used to spend time locked in his room, with a large bottle of Coca Cola and a bag of crispy chips next to him, playing and breaking the new levels... and so for hours... days... weeks... He completely lost track of time, there was no difference betwen day and night anymore, between a working day and the weekend, rain or sun, it didn't matter, and the real world became so distant, so irrelevant... The virtual world was the one where he was the king. While everyone mocked him in the real one and avoided him, he dominated over people in the real one, he mercilessly stomped over his opponents, he enjoyed the sensation of superiority and victory... The virtual world provided him with what the real one could not, and that is why the mere idea of leaving it horrified him. Why would anyone leave the place where they were a loser and replaced it with the one where he was an absolute winner? 


What does all this mean?


Internet often becomes a place for escape today, the ultimate sanctuary for many. It provides us with the possibility of realizing our secret fantasies and it allowes us to be what we would not dare in the real life. Boring housewives can become fatal seductresses, and associal losers turn into pack leaders that everyone admires. The silent ones can become talkative on the internet, and the world of monotony leaves its place to the world of adrenaline and so attractive forbidden fruit. However, escape into the virtual world, so that we can feel better and step away from the real life problems, should never be the ultimate solution. Just like the addiction of any kind, the one on internet will help us solve the symptoms that are bothering us but it will never help us solve the cause of our problems. The virtual world can be a wonderful place but one should always keep in mind that there is a real world on the other side waiting for us and which we must cope with. Only then we'll be able to be trully happy, and the virtual world will then become a place where we will be able to inform ourselves and have fun, and not the last station of the desperate where we're going to forget how much life hurts.  


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