The Internet has everything, a recipe for your favorite dish, a map to your favorite place, an answer to all your crazy doubts; it almost has everything you want to know and others want to know about you too. Yes!! You want it or not, it tracks every move of yours, where you go, whom you are with, or what you are up to. Everything is a click away. But we have to accept, it has reduced our efforts by at least 50% in whatever work we do. So, when you are still in the mystical world of the internet and expecting what the internet will surprise you the next, it is silently affecting a major part of our life.
Internet addiction is a behavioral addiction in which a person becomes dependent on the use of the Internet, or other online devices, as a maladaptive way of coping with life's stresses. Like any other addiction, Internet addiction is also a crucial factor that affects one’s mental health and remains a cause for many mental disorders like stress, anxiety, depression., etc.
There are various psychometric tools to assess internet addiction in individuals; one is the Chen Internet Addiction Scale. Previously, Young’s Internet Addiction Test(IAT) is used widely for diagnosing problematic internet use. In 2003, the Chen Internet Addiction Scale(CIAS) was developed by Chenm Weng, Su, Wu & Yang. The CIAS gained more popularity since it is proven to be a reliable instrument for diagnosing internet addiction in Taiwan & Mainland China.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders manual (DSM-5) has recognized Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD) as a diagnosable mental illness but has not recognized Internet Addiction Disorder. Though researchers worldwide keep arguing that fact, it is still considered a threat to our mental health.
Though excessive internet usage is the main symptom of internet addiction, exactly how much is too much time is not determined by studies till now. So the other major symptoms of Internet Addiction Disorder are,
The CIAS is a four-point, 26-item self-reported scale assessing five dimensions of Internet-related symptoms and problems, including compulsive use, withdrawal, tolerance, and problems in interpersonal relationships and health/time management.
This instrument's main aim is to get the problems faced by an individual due to excessive internet usage. The 26 items of the tool are measured against 4 standard responses, “Does not match my experience at all,” “Probably does not match my experience,” “Probably matches my experience,” “Matches my experience.”
Each response is given a score of 1 (Does not match my experience at all) to 4 (Matches my experience). All the individual score of every item is noted and added together to give the overall score of CIAS. The total score of CIAS ranges from 26-104.
Higher the scores, the higher the chance for internet addiction. Higher scores indicate a more severe level of Internet addiction. Respondents with scores of 64 and above were classified as Internet-addicted.
Watching someone close to you affected by addiction or seeing your mental peace or health dimming in front of your eyes due to addiction is difficult. 4.66 billion people use the internet globally, and it is increasing at a rate of 7% yearly. Maybe you are not an internet addict today, but someone close to you or some younger generation of your family may become an addict tomorrow, so be aware of what we are going through. Take an Internet addiction scale, find your balance of inner harmony and peace to a healthy mind & body.
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