According to official data, of the 7.6 billion people who live on this earth, 3.8 billion use the Internet, which accounts for 50% of the world’s population. According to data collected at the beginning of the 21st century, the statisticians conclude that the number of Internet users has tripled. At the same time, the number of people who are suffering from Internet addiction – that is, the harmful and uncontrolled use of the Internet – is manifested through various forms of psychological vulnerability that are difficult to treat and disturb all family and social relations.
Various studies around the world have shown that the correlation between the occurrence of mental disorders and the use of the Internet is most common if the internet is used daily for more than 4 hours (Yoo, Cho, Che, 2014). However, what is additionally scary is that this phenomenon is also observed in studies that have followed not only adolescents, but also people older than 30 years. Also, it has been found that there are no gender, social, family, cultural, ethnic, racial or language differences, which effectively shows that the problem of mental disorders created by the use of the Internet is now a global problem. The only differences among population sub-groups were demonstrated in the work of Dr. Kawabe and associates who, in 2016, under the auspices of the Ehime University Graduate School of Medicine in Japan, tracked the prevalence of Internet dependency in the world and found that this relationship in Europe ranges from 1.2 % to 11.8%, and in Asia from 2.4% to 13.8%. In America, however, the occurrence of mental illnesses triggered by Internet addiction amounts to 18.5%. These numbers reflect approximately the number of people who show the symptoms of mental disorders caused by Internet use.
The good thing is that this kind of addiction can easily be identified. First of all, it is important to recognize the symptoms, because only in this way can this type of addiction be treated and cured. Namely, if it is noticed that any kind of interruption in access to the Internet or application, or a web site connected to the Internet, manifests itself through psychological attacks of uncontrolled nervousness, agony, fear, excitement, uncertainty and anxiety, it is necessary to react immediately and focus on some bright things (Shahbazzadegan, Samadzadeh, Abbasi, 2011; Correa, Hinsley, de Zúñiga, 2010). If the possibility of conscious control of the mind and the psyche is lost, then as experimental studies have proven, severe forms of mental illness are involved that manifest themselves in the appearance of various forms of social phobias and isolation, depression, withdrawal into self, low self-esteem, loss of interest in the circumstances around the affected individual, loss of interaction with people and loss of desire for work, and also severe forms of aggression and psychological violence. This brings about a lonely and disconnected life, too often a life in unhygienic conditions, then a loss of any sense of satisfaction in the body and an accelerated cultivation followed by a series of other health problems. Very often, if it does not respond to treatment at this stage, dependence causes various forms of obsessive-compulsive disorders and suicidal thoughts.
It is important to note that dependency can develop through all forms of Internet use, which also applies to uncontrolled searches, playing games, listening to music, using social networks and other virtual features. Bearing in mind that the development of society has conditioned our close connection with the Internet, all of these activities make the everyday life of each of us more or less. For these reasons, recent research has focused on finding rigorous software solutions that would limit the unrestricted use of the Internet. However, as long as scientists do not find better protection solutions, it is important that we set for ourselves rules of behavior on the Internet, in order to protect and preserve mental health and mental stability.