Internet addiction is without a question, a problem of our time which affects people starting from fresh ages and leading up to fully-grown individuals. Whether we like it or not, this syndrome is affecting our daily lives and when the amount of time that we spent online surpasses a desired threshold, it becomes an addiction which, in some cases, may lead to difficult complications.
Some people, those lucky enough to realize that they are truly addicted to the internet, be it random browsing, online gaming or any of its many forms, become guilty of their deeds and start feeling a sense of low esteem. Others, unaware of their habits, linger on a limbo of infinite clicking and subconscious hunt for something good, something interesting.
Fighting Online Addiction is a Tough Job
This is not an easy task. I myself, like many others, face internet addiction and struggle in battles each day. An advantage, and probably one that may turn the outcome around is the fact that we are aware of our problems. Like any participant of an AA meeting, the first thing that needs to be done is to be honest to yourself, and admit the problem. Most of us have it, why not be brave enough to say it. A helpful partner in this decision may be a test started by the Net Addiction center, which can help users realize more about their habit.
Internet Addiction Disorder Signs
Internet addiction disorder, or as scientists call, IAD, has a few signs that may help people realize they are addicted:
- Spending useless time – if you are planning to relax a couple of minutes online by watching a video or two and end up wasting countless hours, it may be a serious sign of internet addiction.
- Irritability – another decisive sign can be seen in the mode of someone who’s being interrupted from its online “work”. Whether Blizzard’s server is down, the connection is laggy or a video is not accessible, being mad at something like that may indicate IAD.
- Isolation – people who tend to spend a lot of time on the internet have less time for their family / friends and slowly, they choose to ignore the offline sector more every day.
- Feeling guilty – those who feel guilty after a long session of browsing are definitely attracted to the internet more than normally, but they have the advantage of realizing their deeds. Often, this sense of guilt is compensated with a couple more hours spent online.
- Ignoring tasks – whenever people ignore daily tasks, like household chores, job-related duties or school matters, it’s a radical sign of online addiction. This syndrome also affects sleeping and other important matters, like socializing or creating new bonds.
How to cure Addiction
The second step stands into dissecting the problem, and realizing which form of internet addiction are you suffering of. Although suffering may be seen as a tough word, this is the perfect situation and medicine is probably the best science that we can compare this syndrome with. As with any treatment, it is essentially to understand the underlying causes of the addiction and act according to their needs.
For instance, some people may be addicted to the internet as a whole, a problem which usually manifests by infinite browsing through dozens of websites, jumping from one another just for amusement or, for searching something amazing. The life of some may not be as interesting as it should and thus, looking for something of note or, amusing, may become an endless habit.
One person, for example, can suffer from low-esteem which leads them to create an online persona instead of interacting like the rest of the people, offline. In this case, the treatment may actually have to extend in the daily life, with a certified psychologist, which will help them increase self-esteem.
Others can rely to online gaming because they receive rewards that are harder to encounter in their daily life. In this case, they should find other activities in the offline word which gives them the same rewards, or, even more. Although all of these may sound hard to track, going into the right direction, step by step, is not that hard.
- Record the time – probably the first step that needs to be done is realizing how grave the problem is. While spending time online, like you usually do, try to record how much time you waste by starting a timer when you arrive at the computer and by stopping it when you’re off. For those who work online this will be a bit more complicated, because the timer must be paused each time useful tasks are done. Although a few hours may seem harmless, adding up that amount each day may lead to huge numbers.
- Realize the problem – now that you have tracked down the amount of time spent on useless stuff, picture what could you have accomplished in that hours. I’m talking here about hobbies (watching movies, reading old books, playing football, etc.), working out at the local gym, running in the park, earning money from a 2nd job and that sort of stuff. Traveling is another good bet.
- Acknowledge the guilt – as we’ve said in the beginning of this piece, feeling guilty is not as bad as it may seem and we rather refer it as a good start. Guilt is one of the feelings that will push you out of this addiction, and make you realize that being addicted to the internet is not that good. Usually, guilt transforms into ambition of doing better things.
- Find triggers – for some people, there are certain events that push them into the online world. Be it boringness, the need to be amused or the lack of something interesting, all these feeling can be sufficed by something in the real world. For instance, depression can be overwhelmed if you do something good for another person, and being bored can be cured by going outside with your friends.
- Spending extra time – some people simply have too much time on their hands, time which may pass by if not invested in something useful. While many resort to the internet when it comes to spending this time, you can try to find more noble purposes and make a better person of yourself. Try new hobbies or build yourself a small business, even though it’s also based on the online world.
- Turn off extra tech – when doing something specific, like a school home-work or a job task, turn off any needless technology like the computer or, the internet connection on your mobile phone. This will help you focus into accomplishing the task, which will give a relieving feeling at end.
- Set healthy goals – aspire to something wonderful, something great. Set a couple of goals that you should accomplish in the following months, like raising a specific amount of money for a car, dropping off a few pounds or gathering enough resources to travel to a exquisite location. This will keep you focus on your daily tasks and strain you from wasting time.
- Feed the monster – last but not least, do not shut your addiction completely as it will come back after a while. From my own experience, administrating small and regular dozes of internet fun will actually increase efficiency in other tasks. Just make sure you don’t cross the line, as you will be lying to yourself.