Online dangers and how to mitigate them
04th Apr, 2023
The internet has become an increasingly important part of our lives, particularly with the advances and improved technology made during the 21st century.
It provides us with unlimited information and entertainment in a convenient format that earlier generations could only have been dreamed of.
But as is the case with so many man-made inventions and innovations, ‘The Net’ has also introduced a host of issues that we need to be aware of.
Some of the most common online dangers include online gaming, online gambling, excessive use of (and other risks associated with) social media and watching online pornography.
Online gaming has become a popular hobby/pastime for people of all ages in today’s society. There is no doubt that while gaming can be a highly entertaining and enjoyable experience, it can also prove to be highly addictive.
A major peril associated with online gaming is that it can lead to social isolation. We know of many, many cases where gamers have spent hours – and in some instances even days – gaming….at the same time neglecting their families, their jobs, their education, eating properly, their social lives and their religions.
And in many cases, they don’t even realise it!
Needless to say, problems such as obesity, eyestrain and medical conditions caused by incorrect posture can all arise from spending an excessive amount of time gaming.
Another danger of online gaming is that it can leave players open to violent and inappropriate content. Many games expose players to subject matter that is violent and/or inappropriate. For example, if games have violent themes, there is a risk of the gamer becoming desensitised to violence.
It may impact on their mental health and the risk is there that they may see violence as being “okay” or even “normal” in real life.
Online gambling is another popular form of entertainment these days, especially among young people.
However, it can also be very addictive and lead to financial devastation. Online gambling is easily accessible, and people can gamble from the comfort of their own home, their office desk or even their car, making it impossible to monitor how much time and money they are spending/wasting.
Our television screens bombard us with advertisements mainly targeted towards young people with disposable income, telling us that online wagering accounts for racing and sports betting can be set up in a matter of minutes.
And with sports and racing taking place across the globe 24/7, the online gambler leaves him or herself open to the same issues as the online gamer, but with the added danger of heavy financial losses.
Social media helps us to connect with people from across the room to across the globe, but spending too much time on Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, Instagram, TikTok or other platforms can have negative consequences on our mental health.
These platforms can create unrealistic expectations and lead to feelings of anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem as well as exposing users to the real danger of cyberbullying, leading to not only the negative feelings just mentioned, but even suicidal thoughts.
It is important that we monitor the amount of time that we spend – and that our kids spend – on social media and take breaks from it regularly as again, these platforms can be very addictive and expose us to similar dangers that gamers face: wasting valuable time, neglecting family, friends, work, study, diet and more.
Watching pornography online can have very negative consequences on mental health and relationships and can also become extremely addictive, leaving the viewer vulnerable to physical and mental health issues.
Viewing pornography can also lead to unrealistic expectations of sex and relationships, causing problems in real-life situations.
Studies reveal that watching violent or aggressive pornography can lead to increases in the likelihood of males engaging in sexually aggressive behaviours or attitudes towards females – particularly if the viewer already has pre-existing risk factors such as a history of violence or drug/alcohol abuse.
How We Can Help
As we have already highlighted, making use of modern day, online technology can be both convenient and entertaining, saving us time and in some instances, money. However, the internet can also pose a real threat to our mental health and well-being, especially when used inappropriately or excessively.
It is important that we are aware of the potential risks associated with excessive use of technology and to take steps to mitigate them to ensure that we maintain good mental health and well-being.
Our team is here to help.
As well as offering one-on-one sessions with one of our dedicated and professional team, Invictus Solutions also runs regular school, workplace and community workshops which educate people on how to stay safe online and how to recognise and avoid the dangers associated with these activities.
As well as being a qualified Level 1 councillor registered with the Australian Counselling Association, our founder and CEO Dean Mousad is an experienced mentor, well known in the Muslim community as the co-founder of prominent charitable organisations Brothers In Need and Project Quran.
Dean and the rest of the Invictus Solutions team provide counselling services for a wide range of personal and psychological issues and we would love you to reach out to us if you believe we may be of assistance.