Philosophy:Internet phobia

From HandWiki

Internet phobia is an anxiety disorder characterized by symptoms of anxiousness where the person perceives the Internet environment to be unsafe with no easy way to hide from it.[1] The term “internet phobia" is derived from the combination of Internet meaning internetwork and the Greek -φοβία, -phobia, meaning "fear".[2] Notice that it is different from cyber phobia. Cyber phobia is associated with fear of new technologies, while Internet phobia is more or less on social theme.

Specific anxiety-raising situations can include using a computer or mobile phone, reading email, accessing the web, Facebook or other social media, but also being in open spaces, public transit, shopping malls, or simply being outside the home due to the risk of being photographed or otherwise Internet-logged in these situations.[1] Being in any of these situations may result in a panic attack.[3]

It is suggested that Internet phobia may affect about 1.7% of adults. Women are affected about twice as often as men. Unlike other phobias the condition is more prevalent in later adulthood and is also common in old age.[4] Specifically, it is more easily found among government officials and celebrities, with some of them being afraid of the leak of their privacy and consequent influences on their daily life, some being afraid of the reveal of their corruption, and so on.[5] It is rare in children.[4]


People with Internet phobia have got several symptoms including lacking in strength, shortness of breath, insomnia, etc. They are terrified of surfing the Internet, not willing to talk about public opinions appeared on the Internet. Some of them even see the Internet as a formidable enemy.[5] The symptoms occur nearly every time specific anxiety-raising situations are encountered and repeat themselves for a period of more than six months. Those affected will go to great lengths to avoid these situations.[1] In severe cases people become severely handicapped through their inability to carry out Internet-related activity.[3]


The cause of Internet phobia is likely to be a combination of environmental factors. The condition can run in families,[1] between friends or in other intimate relationships. Or perhaps they did some ashamed or criminal things which are not expected to be revealed. Perhaps they just experienced stressful events.

Besides, considerable external factors like the timeliness, the interactivity and the wide coverage of the Internet also contribute to the panic. In other words, the unpredictable technology advance in recent years not only provides convenience, but also makes a threat to personal privacy.[6] More and more films and TV programs these days are involved in this problem. For instance, the third episode of the third series of British science fiction anthology series Black Mirror "Shut up and Dance", shows how the hackers threat a teenage boy and finally force him to commit bizarre and criminal acts after recording his masturbation through an anti-malware. Today this kind of black technology is realizable. This is the most important external factor that makes Internet phobia more and more widespread.

Internet phobia has yet to be classified in the DSM-5 alongside specific phobias and social phobia.[1][7] Other conditions that can produce similar symptoms include separation anxiety, agoraphobia, posttraumatic stress disorder, and major depressive disorder. Those affected are at higher risk of depression and substance use disorder.[1]

Probable consequences

Internet phobia makes sufferers suffer from social anxiety disorder (SAD), and will eventually lead to lack of self-confidence and unwillingness of social intercourse.[8] That is a significant transformation in one's life.

Internet phobia comes from the Internet, and will in turn affect the Internet. People with Internet phobia are repulsive to use network and finally, that will definitely cause a decrease in the number of Internet users and lead to a worldwide debate. Although reflection of the Internet and its rapid development is necessary in some way, the probable coming international discussion is the last thing we would like to see. This kind of rethink, especially caused by such trivial stuff as an uncommon mental disease only holds back the development of the Internet. The truth is, every coin has two sides. It is always better to find ways to deal with Internet phobia rather than blame the Internet.

Precaution and treatment

Internet phobia is both preventable and curable. The most important preventive action tends to be surfing the Internet more actively and treating those social medias as a valuable tool to make friends. In addition, improving the capability of rational judgement and evaluation can be also helpful. For the officers, one suggestion is always have clean hands.[5]

Without treatment it is uncommon for internet phobia to resolve.[1] Treatment begins with diagnosis. Possible treatment is a type of counselling called cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).[7][9] CBT results in phobia resolution for about half of people.[10]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 American Psychiatric Association (2013), Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.), Arlington: American Psychiatric Publishing, pp. 217–221, 938, ISBN:0890425558
  2. Elster, Charles Harrington (2009). Verbal Advantage: Ten Easy Steps to a Powerful Vocabulary. Diversified Publishing. p. PT717. ISBN:9780307560971
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Agoraphobia". PubMed Health. Retrieved 11 August 2016.
  4. 4.0 4.1 American Psychiatric Association (2013), Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.), Arlington: American Psychiatric Publishing, pp. 217–221, 938, ISBN:0890425558
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "Internet phobia". 
  6. Solove, Daniel J. (2004). The Digital Person: Technology and Privacy in the Information Age. New York University. ISBN 0814798462. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 Wyatt, Richard Jed; Chew, Robert H. (2008). Wyatt's Practical Psychiatric Practice: Forms and Protocols for Clinical Use. American Psychiatric Pub. pp. 90–91. ISBN:9781585626878.
  8. Buss, A.H. (1980). Self-Consciousness and Social Anxiety. 
  9. Pompoli, A; Furukawa, TA; Imai, H; Tajika, A; Efthimiou, O; Salanti, G (13 April 2016). "Psychological therapies for panic disorder with or without agoraphobia in adults: a network meta-analysis.". The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.
  10. Craske, MG; Stein, MB (24 June 2016). "Anxiety.". Lancet. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(16)30381-6. PMID 27349358.