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Computer Addiction

Computer Addiction in College Students

Excessive computer usage in colleges can be rightly referred to as computer addiction. This should be distinguished for the normal use of a computer for research work and for connecting with useful people from around the world.

You can spend 8 hours on the computer each day and still not be considered an addict. This is because it’s not about the number of hours you spend on a computer but by the way the computer affects other aspects of your life. Healthy use of a computer should not interfere with your class work, your relationships or your regular tasks.

Normal use of a computer should not reduce your interest in other activities and should not lead to negative consequences.

The main reasons why college students turn into computer addiction are:

  1. As a stress reliever: Instead of looking for other ways to deal with negative events and feelings most students will turn to the computer for solace.
  2. To evade responsibilities: When a college student has duties to undertake that he doesn’t particularly fancy, a computer will turn into the procrastination tool.
  • A computer can act as a companion in times of loneliness.
  1. For games: Most students arrive on campus freed from the constrains of high school attendance and parental oversight. They are more likely to engage in many hours of gaming compromising on their studies. Most of these games are designed to hook the students and turn them into game addicts. The free to play games are particularly very enticing to college students.
  2. To cover up emotions: Some college students find it easier to socialize behind closed doors. They use a computer to escape reality.

The students who are most vulnerable to computer addiction are the lonely and the shy ones. The bored ones too who feel like there is nothing else to do or those suffering from impulse control disorder. The depressed students can also turn to computers in order to escape reality.

There are several types of computer addictions which include:

  • Cyber sex: This is the use of the computer to participate in internet sex. This is available on adult websites and chat rooms. College students also watch pornography on these sites.
  • Social net work addictions: Here students spend time socializing online. They tend to find online relationships more meaningful than face to face interactions.
  • Internet compulsions: These include online gaming, online gambling and online shopping.
  • General computer addiction: This is the desire to spend time doing anything. This does not have to include internet usage. It could be the playing of solitaire or other games.
  • Programming addictions: this is for those whose interest is in reprogramming items or databases, and creating new software.

Computer addiction can be noticeable in college students when:

  • A college student starts losing track of time while on the computer. The student gets late for bed, gets late for classes. Runs late for meetings and events. Is late for meals and runs behind schedule always.
  • The student makes unsuccessful attempts to quit or limit computer usage.
  • The student gets depressed or angry if the time for computer usage is shortened or interrupted.
  • The student turns to the computer to let off feelings of sadness or anger. If the computer becomes an outlet for these emotions then addiction has crept in.
  • The student starts neglecting friends and family to spend time at the computer.
  • The student fails to undertake his responsibilities in favor of the computer.
  • A student turns to the computer for sexual gratification.
  • The student starts being dishonest about the time he has spent on the computer.
  • The student gets feelings of anticipation of using the computer when away from it.
  • The student starts experiencing problems as a result of the time he takes at the computer and the activities he engages in.
  • The student feels empty, depressed or irritable when not at the computer.
  • The student shows a sense of euphoria when at the computer.
  • The student overspends on computer hardware, software or other computer items.


Dangers of computer addiction

  1. Bad grades due to constantly missing classes.
  2. Roommate complaints
  3. Social isolation because you don’t have time to make new friends in college.
  4. Problems with school and family
  5. Bad health for getting late for meals and eating irregularly.
  6. Strained vision and dry eyes
  7. Back and neck aches
  8. Headaches due to lack of enough sleep
  9. Lack in personal hygiene
  10. Financial problems


Computer addiction causes a sense of shame to the student and makes them not willing to admit that it’s a problem. They can therefore engage in self deception and lies in order to hide the fact that computer addiction is having an effect on their other areas of life.

If a student overcomes the denial he can get advice and the necessary treatment. The treatment can involve:

  1. Counseling and therapy aimed towards getting the student to overcome shyness and anger.
  2. Enhancing the student’s skills in dealing with anger, problem solving and social skills.
  3. Assisting the college student to join a support group that consists of other students who are trying to get over a similar problem.
  4. Assessing if the student has other underlying problems that may be requiring medical attention.
  5. Assisting the college to create a behavior improvement plan in order to regulate the amount of time he spends at the computer.
  6. Encouraging the student to take part in non computer related activities. Focusing on new interests like going out for movies or joining active clubs can be of great help.

The school administration is responsible for establishing policies, programs and procedures to ensure that students experiencing such addiction have adequate psychological services. Information should be distributed on the institution websites, and provided to parents as well. This will help the students to be informed so as to identify the problem in them or in others.

Students must understand the dangers of computer addiction. They need to develop the self-discipline and prioritization skills necessary for success in college.

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