There is a common sentiment that those with digital compulsions or internet addicts are actively choosing long term addiction. While I think an active thoughtful choice occured when they were first introduced to the addiction, their ability to choose and make the correct decisions corrodes and weaken over time and with increasing use.
I have counted hundreds of times where I ‘intended’ to read the news or a meme site for 10 minutes, but somehow became lost in a type of trance or hypnosis for an hour or more. Or similarly ‘intending’ to just watch one ‘how to video’ on youtube in the evening, and somehow it became the earlier hours of the morning when rechecking the time.
As a high school student and undergraduate student, I succumb to these extremes in my youth and severely berated myself afterwards when these digital binge and procrastination sessions caused real academic failures. Having studied the brain addictions over a decade in my own after-hours interest, and overcome the addiction, I know very definitively now, why internet applications, gaming and social media has such power over our brains. I want to make it clear that by the end of this article, online addictions and digital compulsions are not a symptom of ‘weak wills’ and ‘poor discipline’, and I detest the common but flawed idea that those who are suffering the consequences of internet addiction are deserved of their fate.
How does the internet hijack my brain?