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10 Internet Dangers for People in Recovery

internet-dangersThere are plenty of great reasons to be thankful for living in a time when the internet is available as a resource to help you break free of addiction and build a new life. The online world is becoming increasingly important as a source of information, support, advice, and encouragement. There are not only millions of information articles about addiction online, but there are also online forums, addiction videos, podcasts, and blogs. You could spend every second of the rest of your life looking at this stuff, and would not even scratch the surface of what is available.

There is no doubting that the internet is a fabulous addition to the fight against addiction, but there are also some dangers associated with this resource. We have listed ten of these in the below paragraphs.

1. Online Flame Wars

If you have ever visited an online forum and read comments under an article that has been posted, you will have probably noticed people arguing. It is very easy to become caught up in one of these web spats, which can get out of hand to a point where it leads to personal insults being hurled – this is referred to as a flame war. This type of confrontation is constantly happening somewhere on the web, and it can get very nasty. Feelings get hurt and people walk away from these conversations feeling as if they have been abused. The problem is the anonymity of the web means that users are willing to behave in ways they would never consider in a face-to-face interaction. Online flame wars can be particularly hazardous for those in recovery (especially early recovery); these arguments can be used as an excuse to relapse.

2.  Internet Trolls and Bullies

Anyone with an internet connection can interact with others online. The majority of people do this with the best of intentions, but a significant minority deliberately go online to cause mischief. A troll is a person who enters a web community with the intention of stirring up trouble. Some are highly skilled at doing this and are able to manipulate the group to cause problems between individuals – for example, they post something that would be considered very controversial, leading to arguments. There are also too many people who use the web as a tool for bullying; many examples exist of individuals driven to suicide by these bullies.

3. The Misguided Online advisor

If you visit any of the web addiction forums, you will find plenty of people willing to offer you advice. This can be very helpful, but it is important to take any advice you are given with a pinch of salt – this is especially true when it comes to important issue such as medical advice. Plenty of people online genuinely try to be helpful, but this does not meant that what they are saying is accurate. The problem is that online, individuals tend to sound a lot more confident about things than they are in reality; it is easy to be misled unless you always check this information against a reputable source.

4. The Scam Artist or Self-Promoter

The internet is an important tool for those trying to sell things or gain popularity. If you visit social media websites like Twitter, it can sometimes feel as if everyone on there is trying to sell you something. Many people also hide the fact that they are trying to sell you something or use you in some other way. These individuals can first try to win your trust and then move in for the sting. Individuals in the early days of addiction recovery can feel very vulnerable so it is important to be at least a little sceptical of the motives of others online.

5. Online Sex Predators

Many people use the internet as a way to find new sex partners. These individuals may hide their intention in the beginning, and they may use venues such as online forums to find new victims. Such individuals can sometimes be very dangerous, but they are also highly skilled at winning the trust of strangers and grooming them. If you get a ‘bad vibe’ from anyone you are dealing with online, it might be best to add this person to your ignore list.

6. Online ‘Sceptics’

These days it can feel as if everyone is a sceptical of something. These individuals are often well intentioned, but there efforts at debunking the beliefs of those they do not agree with can be harmful for vulnerable people. The problem is that no matter what you believe in, there will be sceptics out there who feel the need to prove you wrong. This can be particularly dangerous if the person decides they want to debunk your chosen method of addiction recovery – it may mean you lose faith in what you are doing and then use this as an excuse to relapse.

7. The Active Addict

If you spend time on recovery blogs or online recovery forums, you will come across individuals who are still actively drinking or drug using. It can be a great service to try to help these individuals, but you do not want to do this if it would put your own recovery at risk. People posting while they are drunk or high can say things that are very upsetting, leading to hurt feelings.

8. Online Addiction Gurus

Some people in the recovery community have managed to gain a large following. This is usually because the person has been sober a long time and is able to give good advice and support. These individuals can be very inspiring, but there is always a danger with putting people on pedestals. The problem is that if these addiction gurus later behave badly, or they relapse, their downfall can negatively affect many others. All humans are fallible, and the only person’s sobriety you can really trust is your own.

9. Data and Identity Theft

Anyone who goes online will be at risk of things such as malicious software and identity theft. This is why it is so important to use a quality antivirus software programme. It is also important that you never hand over any personal information to sources you do not trust – this includes keeping an eye out for phishing scams, whereby you are sent an email that tries to trick you into providing information by pretending to be your bank or something like this.

10. Internet Addiction

Internet addiction is a serious risk for anyone who already has a history of alcohol or drug addiction. It is important that you limit your time online and do not turn to this form of entertainment as a way of hiding from your problems. If you find it hard to control your internet usage, it could mean that you are already addicted.

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